4 Dark Horse Knicks That Can Power a Deep Postseason Run

The New York Knicks are a team everyone is watching to get to the Eastern Conference Finals. Which underrated players will they need to show up in the playoffs to make a deep bid?
 New York Knicks guard Miles McBride (2) celebrates with teammates
New York Knicks guard Miles McBride (2) celebrates with teammates / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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For the third time in the last four years, the New York Knicks are heading back to the NBA postseason and their chances of making a statement have never looked better. 

Following their season finale win over the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, the Knicks’ impressive campaign culminated in a 50-32 record that sits second in the Eastern Conference picture and created much buzz around the franchise’s chances for a title.

It’s the first time since their playoff run in 2012-13 that they’ve earned the No. 2 seed and will start a journey that many expect to reach the conference finals for a clash with the dominant favorite in the Boston Celtics. 

The Knicks have had to battle significant injuries and demand a lot out of every player in their  rotation in order to reach the point of being one of the best in the tournament. Despite their losses, most notably Julius Randle who will miss the playoffs with his shoulder injury, New York has rallied behind the superstar abilities of Jalen Brunson, who averaged 28.7 points, 6.7 assists on 47.9% shooting from the field in 77 games, and received valiant efforts from a crew of hard nosed players on both ends of the court under Tom Thibodeau. 

Now, as the opening round of the postseason begins next weekend, the Knicks are going to have to count on more than just Brunson to match their hype and make a deep push towards the promised land. From 3-point shooting specialists to defensive presences, there are a few dark horse candidates that can determine how far New York’s postseason run goes.  

Bojan Bogdanovic

New York Knicks forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) shoots over
New York Knicks forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) shoots over / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The road to his first postseason in New York hasn’t always been the easiest for Bojan Bogdanovic. 

In his first 29 games since joining the Knicks at the trade deadline, the small forward struggled to gel into the team’s system and get his three-point prowess that has defined his skillset going. The absence of Julius Randle and OG Anunoby had Bogdanovic playing out of his own style and trying to be a rim enforcer that led to turnover woes and poor efficiency. 

Once Anunoby returned and the 44-year-old was able to get back to his usual groove, the Knicks started to received a nice secondary offensive boost that was missing from their bench unit at times. Bogdanovic ultimately finished the final month of the regular season shooting 49.3% from the fields and 43.3% from beyond the arc to lift the Knicks into one of the hottest three-point teams in the NBA. 

When the veteran wing man is feeling it, the Knicks put themselves in great position to compete with the other top offenses featured in this year’s playoffs. In games when Bogdanovic makes at least two 3-pointers, the Knicks hold a 7-3 record and some of their momentous wins came with the forward converting three or more of his downtown shots. 

His points in the paint tend to come from the midrange where he can use size to gain an advantage, but the greater impact must come from the arc in order to get the most value out of Bogdanovic’s rotation spot. If the Knicks can get their guards to force the defense into the interior and find those kick out opportunities with their sharpshooters like Bogdanovic, they will give the best teams in the playoffs trouble with a scorching offense that’s hard to slow down once it’s hot.