The Knicks are playing better basketball than they have in any season in a decade. They are currently the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference and looking good to avoid the play-in. The question now is not whether they will make the playoffs it is how far can they go.
To me, the Knicks are the clear 5th best team in the East after Milwaukee, Boston, Philly, and Cleveland. Their point differential is +2.8 which is also 5th behind those teams. I believe they would be underdogs in a series vs any of those 4 teams.
However, they could beat Cleveland in a 1st round series. Right now if the standings hold the Knicks would play Cleveland. Cleveland is a very good team but they are not dominant and are beatable. It would also set up a great subplot with the Knicks and Donovan Mitchell as Mitchell almost became a Knick in the offseason. He and Jalen Brunson would have some great battles in a possible playoff series.
If the Knicks got past Cleveland in a 1st round series they would match up with Boston or Milwaukee in the 2nd round. This is where the party would end. The Knicks are having a great season but they are not on the level of Boston or Milwaukee. Those are the 2 best teams in the NBA. The Knicks do not have a superstar to go toe to toe with Giannis or Jayson Tatum. They are a scrappy bunch who play hard but do not have the talent level of either team.
I am confident we will leave this season feeling good about the Knicks. I think they would give the Celtics or Bucks a scare in a 6 game series. I do not think they will get embarrassed. This will be different than a couple of years ago when Atlanta destroyed them in the playoffs.
The vibes are great in Madison Square Garden these days. You can be excited about the future and be a Knicks fan with pride. The best part about this surprise season is the team is young and should be together for years. Their last great season was 2012-2013 when they had Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, and a bunch of veteran players at the end of their careers. That was not a team built to last but this one is.