New York Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks: X-factors, key matchups, and a prediction

NBA New York Knicks Julius Randle (Jason DeCrow/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports)
NBA New York Knicks Julius Randle (Jason DeCrow/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports) /
2 of 4
New York Knicks
New York Knicks Derrick Rose (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) /

New York Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks: X-factors

Knicks: Derrick Rose 

Hawks: Bogdan Bogdanovic 

For a team as young and inexperienced as the Knicks are, I can’t help but think how important of a role a player such as Derrick Rose might play in a playoff series. Rose has been there before – both as a favorite and as an underdog. He’s seen the height of playoff success and the lows of failures. He’s going to be extremely valuable inside that locker room throughout the Knicks’ playoff run.

Plus, Rose is still a productive contributor at this point in his career. Rose is averaging 15 points and four assists per game on 49 percent shooting from the field and 41 percent shooting from the 3-point range. He’s going to be a valuable bench option for the Knicks and a potential spot starter if needed.

For the Hawks, there might not be a player more important to their playoff success than Bogdan Bogdanovic. Atlanta has been an entirely different team since he began to hit his stride with the team (after he returned from injury). Bogdanovic really only played in one game against New York this season. He missed one game against the Knicks due to injury, played only nine minutes in another, and then in the game he did play in, the team was without Trae Young.

Nevertheless, one thing is abundantly clear as it pertains to Bogdanovic. When he plays well, the Hawks are extremely difficult to beat. If he can be that third offensive option next to Young and John Collins, it’s only going to make Atlanta that much more difficult to beat.