2018 New York Knicks Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
The good news for the Knicks is that things are not nearly as bleak as they have been for a long time now. Now, that's not a very high bar - this team has been a walking joke, so they could be much improved and still be embarrassing every day. But there are actually things to like. They have remade the roster significantly, they have their best coach in a long time, they have some nice young talent to build around, and they could position themselves to be a free agent destination again as soon as next summer.
But it's not all good.
They still have the worst owner in the NBA, and he hasn't proven that he can keep his nose out of where it doesn't belong. And their star player, Kristaps Porzingis, is going to miss much of the year because of the ACL injury he suffered last year. So, this is a year of transition - a year of taking steps forward. That could actually be a good thing, though. This is a team that has been screaming for a rebuild, and they don't really have any choice right other than to lean into that and do it right. It has been a very long time since things have been any good in New York. Maybe, just maybe, that will change at some point.
That's not to say, though, that this is going to be a good team in any way. They just have issues in too many places in the short term. Their best offensive player is Tim Hardaway Jr. with 17.5 points a game last year. He can score, but he's streaky, very inefficient, and is a liability on defense. He's far from the kind of star you can build around. Frank Ntilikina is the team's best defender, but he's only a second-year guy and he has a lot of room to improve. He has gained some muscle, which was definitely needed, but he's far from a finished product. And the key playmaker is Trey Burke, who started the season last year in the G-League after what has been a very disappointing career to date. He was brilliant when he joined the NBA team, However, can he sustain it now that he is an established starter? The path to the Knicks having a nice roster at some point can be imagined, but they don't right now.
2018 New York Knicks Additions and Departures
We'll start with the draft. With the ninth pick the team took Kevin Knox out of Kentucky. He was one of the strong players in what was a very strong lottery, and he looked very good in Summer League - for what that's worth. He's very young, though, and was very inefficient last year in college - which means he will fit in nicely with Hardaway. It will probably take a while for him to be useful, but they have the luxury of being able to give him plenty of playing time - it's not like they have anything to lose. It's a nice pick. And in the second round the team might have pulled off a bit of a heist. Mitchell Robinson was a five-star recruit out of high school entering last season, but he opted to skip college and train with a trainer for the year. It was a really dumb idea, and it cost him significantly - he fell to 36th. He has clear talent, though, so if his mental game can be groomed there is some upside here - more than we often see with a second-rounder.
I mentioned how high I was on the coaching, so we should touch on that. David Fizdale was fired far too soon in Memphis last year. He has a strong background as an assistant and is a strong mix of skill, temperament and experience for this team. It's a big upgrade from Jeff Hornacek.
An interesting free agent addition was Mario Hezonja. He was picked fifth overall in 2015 by the Magic - just one spot behind Porzingis, who the Magic were hoping to get. He didn't work out in Orlando, and his option wasn't picked up. But he played his best ball last year after he knew he was moving on, and the Magic have been a mess, so a new setting could serve him well. Another addition, Noah Vonleh, is another high pick - ninth in 2014 out of Indiana - who hasn't found his stride yet. He played for the Blazers and Bulls last year, and played his best ball, so there is upside here as well. And little risk in either case. These are just the kind of gambles a team like this should be taking - maybe it can work out like Burke did last year.
2018 New York Knicks Futures Odds and Trends
NBA title odds ( from Bovada ) : +40000
Eastern Conference title odds : +8000
Kristaps Porzingis MVP Odds : +27500
Kevin Knox ROY Odds: +750
Mitchell Robinson ROY Odds: +8500
Season win total: 30
The Knicks were 38-44 ATS on the season, so not surprisingly there were small profits to be had in betting against them. They went "over" the total 41 times and "under" 39, so there weren't long-term profits to be found betting the total.
2018 New York Knicks Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
This team is not going to be good. I would take the under on the win total without too much hesitation. They just don't have the pieces right now to be relevant. But they are making decent moves, and what matters is not that they win this year, but they show that they can improve. If they can display competence and hope, then they could be a free agent destination, and the dark days could be in the rear-view mirror. But this is the Knicks, so that probably won't happen.
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