The 2018-19 season is nearing its end and the Westchester Knicks are set to embark on another postseason appearance. The Knicks are 29-20 and have a chance to finish with 30 wins in consecutive seasons. While the team has seen several talented players suit up in the blue and orange this season, their productions were rewarded with NBA call-ups.
John Jenkins was a driving force on the offensive end where he averaged 24.9 points with a a slash line of 47.3/43.2/92.8. Kadeem Allen has been effective on both ends of the floor. He has been a solid defender who can finish strong at the rim and has made improvements with his perimeter game. While Allen can still make appearances with Westchester as part of his two-way contract, he has made a great impact with New York and has shown that he deserves minutes with the big club.
Westchester has seen significant contributions from their main contributors: Isaiah Hicks, Jameel Warney and Billy Garrett. While the four players have played a role in the team’s success, the depth of the team has been on display throughout the season.
With Garrett taking a spot in the starting rotation, Sekou Wiggs has played an important role off the bench. His energy he brings to the second unit and has continued to be effective as his role increased throughout the season. In the team’s recent game against Delaware, he drew his defender in then the team showed some good ball movement and found an open shooter. He averaged 13.3 points and 4.2 rebounds on 46.0 percent shooting from the field in January.
Since returning from the USA Men’s World Cup Qualifying Team, Stephen Zimmerman has been playing some of his best basketball of the season. He is getting great looks at the basket and crashes the boards. While Zimmerman has started five of the past six games, his recent strong production has added value to the Knicks’ front court. In the past six games, he is averaging 11.3 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game while shooting 61.8 percent from the floor.
“I think he’s playing consistently and he obviously made a lot of plays,” Westchester head coach Mike Miller said. “When we really stretched that game open, he was out there and he played very well. As we kind of had to experiment when our line-ups have changed and moved and we go to our two guys that were playing the center spot, now they’re playing together. I think they’ve done a great job playing off of each other. He and Jameel (Warney) have made people maybe change how they’re guarding us and what they’re doing than we just have to be able to defend on our end and they’ve done a pretty good job with that.”
Even though he is no longer with the team, Devon Baulkman was a defensive energy player off the bench. He would hound opposing defenders and use his quick hands to force turnovers. He would keep his energy flowing and would pressure defenders in not getting comfortable with their shots. While his defense brought value to Westchester, he had several solid offensive outings, while draining nine triples in a four game stretch.
Miller believes the depth of the team is crucial in the final stretch of the season.
“It’s critical. It’s critical because of the bodies at the end of any season,” Miller said. “Your bodies are beat up a little bit. And who you’re playing, teams are playing well and trying to finishing strong. So to be able to use that depth and continuing to build, we can go at a team and try to break them down throughout and win it when we need to.”
With Westchester adding new players like Nate Hickman, Kethan Savage and Matthew Fisher-Davis, they will get an opportunity to shine in the final stretch of the season and add more depth to the team in the remaining games of the season.
While many players have excelled in Westchester and they have been (or will be at a later point) rewarded with NBA or overseas opportunities, the depth of the team has been crucial. As the they enter the playoffs, the depth of the team will be important as Westchester seeks to make noise in the postseason.