NBA Playoff Odds: The New York Knicks’ 2021 Title Chances
Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: RJ Barrett #9, Taj Gibson #67 of the New York Knicks.
New York Knicks NBA Playoff Odds
How the NY Knicks Got Here
Many Knick fans are still asking themselves how the ‘Bockers made it to the NBA Playoffs and the answers are both simple and complex.
The team that has attempted to multiple “culture changes” over the past decade seems to have finally got it right this season thanks in large part to head coach Tom Thibodeau’s defensive scheme. But defense alone isn’t why the Knicks secured a playoff spot.
The defense has been at the top of the NBA all season, but New York was two games under .500 through 52 games. Over the next 20, the offense exploded and the Knicks went 16-4 to close the season. The Knicks ranked 23rd in Offensive Rating prior to that stretch and have been 13th in the league since.
In the first 52 games they were seventh in 3-point percentage (38%) and 29th in 3-point attempts (29.3 per game). In the final 20 games they shot 42% on 3s and ranked 22nd in attempts (32.0).
New York has three starters shooting above 40% since April 9: Julius Randle (41.9%), RJ Barrett (43.4%) and Reggie Bullock (42.4%). And the only team that has performed better than the Knicks against the spread (15-5, 75%) is the Washington Wizards, according to data from Action Labs.
The Knicks have fallen off in one area during their run. The team that was consistently a good bet to go under, was suddenly going over its totals. However, with the change in style of play during the playoffs and the expectation that the shooting will regress, New York will likely need to rely on its defense in the postseason.
Despite their regular season success, it hasn’t exactly translated into respect from oddsmakers beyond the first round. The Knicks are actually behind the Hawks on the board to win the East at most books.
From a health standpoint, the only player who won’t be available at the start of the playoffs is center Mitchell Robinson, though there is an outside chance that he could rejoin the team if the Knicks can make a deep run.
While a deep run in the postseason remains unlikely, the Knicks making the playoffs this season wasn’t on anyone’s radar either. They will likely be a tough out.