Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
New York Knicks
- The Pick: Under 29
- Confidence: 9 out of 10
The case for the under: Let’s start with history this time. Over the past 10 years, the Knicks have hit the under on their win total future seven times, according to Sports Odds History.
The exceptions were 2016 when they got a nice early bump to slide three games over their win total of 29, the infamous 2012-13 season which I will forever refer to as smoke and mirrors for a variety of reasons and the 2010-11 season when they had Amar’e Stoudemire, Mike D’Antoni and a really fun team, then traded for Melo.
Now? Kristaps Porzingis is recovering from a torn ACL. There’s a strong likelihood he isn’t back before the start of 2019, and after that, the Knicks have publicly stressed they’re going to be patient with his recovery, which means nights off, no back to backs and a possible minute restriction. All of those things are devastating to a team with this little talent.
Their point guards have very little to offer offensively, their bigs outside of Porzingis have nothing to offer defensively. They lost four of their top 10 players in win shares to free agency and/or trades. The Knicks have done a great job of trying to become not-the-Knicks. But there’s still enough Knicks in this Knicks team to believe they’ll still Knicks hard.
The case for the over: They’re a little sneaky. Their point guards are big and athletic, with Frank Ntilikina going into his second year and Emmanuel Mudiay having enough years to maybe move past all his myriad issues.
Kevin Knox is a sleeper Rookie of the Year pick who’s athletic and a better shooter than his profile tabbed him as.
The Knicks have veterans like Courtney Lee and Lance Thomas who help you win, and Tim Hardaway Jr. has his moments even if his shooting numbers were awful last year.
There’s also David Fizdale, who is highly regarded even if his time in Memphis ended poorly.
If they can stay competitive, Porzingis could shift them into a higher gear to stave off a tank job and in doing so, push them to the over.
We know the Knicks. Someday there may come a time when they are not the Knicks. But the year when Porzingis is coming back from an ACL tear, with young guards and a brutal division ain’t it.