Re-Grading the Knicks 2023 Offseason Moves Ahead of the Playoffs

The New York Knicks' journey to the 2024 NBA postseason didn't happen overnight, but it did take a slew of really important decisions to get the ball rolling back to the playoffs.
Apr 12, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) talks with guard
Apr 12, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) talks with guard / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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Extending Josh Hart

New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) drives for a shot against
New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) drives for a shot against / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off an impressive half season with the team, including a playoff appearance where he was critical in the rebounding category, the Knicks handed Josh Hart a new contract extension worth four years and $81 million to keep him in the Big Apple through the 2026-27 NBA season. 

For some, the number might have seemed a little high, but not for the aforementioned value Hart has brought to the Knicks down low. The 29-year-old  guard may only be 6’4” in stature, but he has had no problems fighting amongst big men for loose balls off the glass and winning them at a record pace. 

In 2022, Hart averaged 10.2 points on 58.6% shooting in 25 games with the Knicks and still managed to secure seven rebounds per game, one of the best totals on the team. The rebounding stepped up a notch in the playoff series against Miami when second chance opportunities were at a premium and scoring was cut significantly by two solid defensive teams. 

This season, Hart trounced his efforts with a career-high 8.3 rebounds per game in 81 contests, including a record 675 on the defensive side of the ball. That number ranked 21st in the NBA for the regular season, tied second on the Knicks leaderboard with Isaiah Hartenstein’s average and put the Knicks into the top half of the league in most rebounding metrics. 

The scoring has never fallen much as a result of the emphasis on being an undersized rebounder,  as Hart still posted 9.4 points per game for the Knicks which beat out his averages from three other professional seasons. He can get his share of the points in a variety of ways, whether turning midrange spacing into quality baskets, trying his hand behind the arc or drawing contact in the paint and earning free throws. 

Yet, what's been the most impressive thing about Hart and his statistics is the tireless motor he plays with. Even as the Knicks counted on him to play upwards of 40-50 minutes when injuries started to pile up, Hart never shied from the moment and displayed the stamina and grit needed to carry the workload to the final buzzer. 

The expectations will remain hefty once the playoffs start, but the Knicks know they have a dog in the lineup that can handle it and perform under the brightest lights when the weak legs start to factor into it. At his peak, Hart is a double-double machine that can wreck opposing team’s gameplans and that is what the Knicks need to make it deeper into the tournament. 

Grade: A+