Jeff Van Gundy doesn’t see the Knicks as a lock to ‘play in’ the NBA

Point guard Galen Bronson was a “wonderful addition” but not enough to make the Knicks a sure-fire participant in the “play-in” NBA championship.

That’s how former Knicks coach Jeff Gundy, the star analyst at ESPN who speaks his mind and is close to Tom Tibodo.

Although Van Gundy says it’s too early to convict the Knicks Breathe on Donovan MitchellHe feels they still need a “star to build around” to become a playoff team.

In the new NBA format, 7-10 seeds per conference in play compete for the right to enter the playoffs.

“The Knicks have good players, but you line up against the competitors in the East, and this roster is not on the same level,” Van Gundy told The Post in a phone interview from his Houston home. “They could shock the world and be a team in the play-off, but I look east and I would say eight to 13 places to be expected. They are not even close to a lock to play. A lot has to go right.”

Jeff Van Gundy (c) during an ESPN broadcast.
NBAE via Getty Images

Last season, the Knicks finished 11th with a score of 37-45 — straight into the lottery pingpong ball hell. If they did it again, Thibodeau, who was an assistant on Van Gundy’s Knicks and Rockets, would likely be on the unemployment streak.

Las Vegas warns about Knicks improvement. In the Westgate SuperBook, Over/Under for wins fell from 40.5 to 39.5 the day after Mitchell traded with the Cavaliers.

Despite massive contracts worth over $100 million with Bronson, striker Julius Randle and goalkeeper RJ Barrett, It is from the new extension worth 120 million dollarsVan Gundy does not see No. 1.

The Rochester native said, “The one thing everyone could agree on was, if the Knicks were to jump in the rankings, they had to have a man—or two—to build.” ‘They still don’t have that brick, from the star player’s point of view.’

The Knicks are likely to feature in the starting lineup of Bronson, Evan Fournier, Barrett, Randall and Mitchell Robinson, although second-place player Quentin Grimes could best Fournier in shooting guard.

At best, Randel, Bronson, and Barrett said, “they are the marginalized All-Stars.” He said the intangibles of Bronson with his “cool figure” are pivotal.

“I’m not negative about these guys,” Van Gundy said. “Randell made an All-Star team, Barrett hopes to continue to become a more efficient player. Galen is in that category of marginal All-Stars.

“However, if you are going to make a big leap in the Eastern Conference — when you have [Boston’s Jayson] tatum, [Jaylen] brouwn, [Brooklyn’s Kevin] Durant, [Milwaukee’s Giannis] antitoconmo, [Miami’s Jimmy] butler and [James] Harden and [Joel] Embiid At Philly, you need the top 20 players in the league. This is what you build around it. They’re still looking for it.”

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Knicks President Leon Rose and coach Tom Thibodeau.
NBAE via Getty Images

If the Knicks advance to the 8 to 10 range, it could be because Randle is back as a winning player.

“Randle’s comeback is the number one factor and it’s the way he addresses last season,” Van Gundy said. “Has he looked inward or is he still funky?”

The Knicks’ failure to get to Mitchell – mostly because they wouldn’t branch out more than three unprotected picks in the first round – polarized the fan base. Van Gundy thinks it’s a strong move for the Cavaliers to add Mitchell with Darius Garland and Evan Mobley – the three men who can be considered building blocks.

but…

“For the Knicks, that’s disappointing, but in all of these deals. Rushing to judgments for better or for worse sometimes misjudges what really happened,” Van Gundy said. “We really don’t know what the exact deals are. It’s hard to judge trades quickly. We’ll eventually see how Cleveland did in the trade, how Utah did and how the Knicks did by not getting involved at the end. Rush to judgment and start pointing fingers, it’s premature.”