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New York Knicks Betting Outlook
Eastern Conference Odds: +4600
Preseason NBA Championship Odds: +10000
New York heads into the 2020-21 season with renewed hope thanks to the arrival of head coach Tom Thibodeau and lottery pick Obi Toppin. The former Dayton star is called by some the most ready-to-play rookie in the draft, and the hope is he can team with last season’s leading returning scorer, Julius Randle, to form a solid frontcourt duo. Throw in the continued development of Kevin Knox and RJ Barrett, and the Knicks feel like they could possibly contend for a playoff berth.
Part of that comes from Thibodeau’s focus on defense, which has been lacking for New York for several seasons. If Thibodeau can have the impact on New York that he had on his previous two head coaching stops, the Knicks could be playoff contenders in a hurry. Still, it’s a strange season, and there are plenty of new faces, so just being in the playoff hunt at the end of the season will be a big improvement.
Knicks 2021 Predictions
Regular-Season Record: 23-49
Conference Standing: 12th
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Julius Randle is considered a leader of this Knicks team. The 26-year-old power forward enters his seventh NBA season off probably his best year, averaging 19.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists. Though he can force his own offense at times, Randle is still always hustling and setting the tone for the young team.
There is hope that point guard Elfrid Payton can take hold of the reins of the Knicks offense and make it his own in his second season with New York. The 26-year-old has averaged over six assists per game in every one of his previous seven seasons in the league, including 7.2 in 2019-20. But his shooting from the perimeter has not been good, making him a bit of a liability when he’s on the floor. Still, with a new head coach, Payton has a chance to make a good impression and earn more minutes.
New York Knicks Injuries
New York Knicks Team History
The New York Knicks began in 1946 as one of the founding members of the Basketball Association of America, which merged with the National Basketball League in 1949 into the current NBA. The team was successful under coach Joe Lapchick and led by Harry Gallatin, making the playoffs in its first 10 seasons of existence, including three straight Finals appearances in 1951-53, though it failed to win a title.
Lapchick was let go midway through the 1955-56 season, and over the next 10 seasons, New York made the postseason once. Things started to turn around in the late 1960s, with Dick McGuire becoming coach for the 1966-67 season, and the team featuring players like center Willis Reed.
The Knicks returned to the playoffs in 1966-67, but McGuire was replaced by Red Holzman midway through the following season. Rookies Phil Jackson and Walt Frazier starred, while Reed and Dick Barnett were All-Stars. Dave DeBusschere was acquired in a trade with the Pistons prior to 1968-69, and the team had its best season in 1969-70.
The Knicks set a franchise record with 60 regular-season wins and advanced to the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. Reed was hurt in Game 5 but the Knicks won it. The Lakers rallied to force a Game 7. Reed limped out for the opening tip and scored a couple of baskets in the Knicks’ Game 7 win to clinch the championship, and his heroics are still cited to this day.
New York lost in the Eastern Conference finals the next season, then met the Lakers in the 1972 Finals, falling to Los Angeles in five games. The teams met again in the 1973 Finals, with the Knicks coming out on top this time in five games, giving New York its second NBA title.
The 1973-74 season ended in the Eastern Conference finals, and Reed retired, as the team started to rebuild. A playoff season followed in 1974-75 but it was the end of the Knicks’ run of success, as they missed the playoffs the next two seasons and made the postseason just once in five seasons.
Hubie Brown was named the head coach for the 1982-83 season, and behind players like Bill Cartwright and the high-scoring Bernard King, the team made the Eastern Conference semifinals in two straight seasons. King suffered a horrible knee injury the next season, sidelining him for 24 months, and the Knicks started a string of three straight seasons out of the playoffs.
The franchise’s fortunes turned around in the 1985 offseason, when they won the NBA’s first draft lottery, using the No. 1 overall pick to select Georgetown center Patrick Ewing. Ewing won Rookie of the Year, but the team failed to make the playoffs in his first two seasons. The 1987-88 season brought two big changes, with Rick Pitino being named head coach and guard Mark Jackson coming to the team in the draft.
Jackson won Rookie of the Year honors, and the team returned to the playoffs. New York made the postseason in both of Pitino’s two seasons, as well as two seasons under Stu Jackson, but the Knicks made the leap to title contenders when Pat Riley was named head coach for the 1991-92 season.
Riley brought a physical brand of defense to the team, with Ewing, Charles Oakley, Anthony Mason, John Starks and Derek Harper leading the way. The team improved their playoff finish in each of Riley’s first three seasons, making it to the NBA Finals in 1994 against the Houston Rockets. Despite taking a 3-2 series lead, New York couldn’t come away with the title, losing the final two games in Houston.
Another season in the playoffs followed under Riley, who then left, with Jeff Van Gundy taking over in the latter half of the 1995-96 campaign. The team continued to be a postseason regular under Van Gundy, even as the team’s lineup changed, with players like Allan Houston, Larry Johnson, Latrell Sprewell and Marcus Camby forming the core of the team that advanced to the 1999 NBA Finals.
As a No. 8 seed, the Knicks’ surprise run to the Finals included an upset of No. 1 seeded Miami — coached by Riley — in the first round. New York couldn’t finish the Cinderella run, though, falling to San Antonio in the final series.
After a spot in the Eastern Conference finals ended in a loss to the Indiana Pacers in 2000, Ewing’s time with the Knicks ended when he was traded to the Seattle SuperSonics. New York has struggled to be a postseason participant since, making the playoffs just five times in the 19 seasons since trading away Ewing.
New York has had All-Star players like Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Stephon Marbury, coaches like Larry Brown, Isiah Thomas, Mike D’Antoni and Lenny Wilkens, and even Jackson in the front office for a spell, but the team just has not been able to put together more than a three-season stretch of postseason appearances over the last two decades.
The Knicks have 22 players enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame, including Ewing, Frazier, Reed, Gallatin, DeBusschere, King, Bill Bradley and Walt Bellamy. Ten former coaches or front office personnel for New York are also Hall of Famers.
The Knicks were hoping to improve in their second full season under coach David Fizdale, especially with the additions of lottery pick RJ Barrett and veteran forwards Julius Randle and Taj Gibson to a young, developing squad. It didn’t work out that way. New York started the season 4-18 and let Fizdale go, replacing him on an interim basis with assistant Mike Miller. Even the coaching change didn’t do much for the team’s fortunes, as they were 11-32 after dropping eight of nine to start January.
Even a four-game winning streak to start February didn’t keep the team’s momentum long, as the Knicks followed that with a six-game slide. Despite Randle’s solid production, the team struggled all season long, sitting at 21-45 when the league had to suspend the season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Because New York was far enough out of a possible playoff spot, it was not invited to be a part of the restart in the Orlando bubble.
New York hired Tom Thibodeau as its head coach for the 2020-21 season, the veteran’s third head coaching job in the league. The 63-year-old has previously been head coach for the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves. He started coaching at Salem State in 1981 after playing for the college just prior to that. After coaching there and as an assistant at Harvard, Thibodeau moved to the NBA ranks with an assistant’s job with the expansion Timberwolves in 1989.
Over the next 18 years, he would assist with the Timberwolves, Spurs, 76ers, Knicks and Rockets before becoming Doc Rivers’ associate head coach with the Boston Celtics. Under Thibodeau, the Boston defense became one of the best in the league, and the Celtics won the 2008 NBA title and advanced to the 2010 NBA Finals. The following offseason, Thibodeau was hired by the Chicago Bulls as their new head coach.
With Chicago, Thibodeau had immediate success, thanks in part to having league MVP Derrick Rose. He set an NBA record for wins by a rookie head coach with 62, and the team advanced to the Eastern Conference finals before losing to the Heat. The team made the playoffs in all five seasons under Thibodeau, but because of a knee injury suffered by Rose, it never reached the same level of success. Tensions between Thibodeau and the team’s front office led to his departure following the 2014-15 campaign.
After a year off, Thibodeau took over as head coach of the Timberwolves, taking the young team to its first playoff berth in 14 years in his second season. But after star Jimmy Butler forced his way out via trade, Minnesota management fired Thibodeau just 40 games into the 2018-19 season. In eight-plus years as an NBA head coach, Thibodeau has compiled a regular-season record of 352-246 as well as a 24-32 mark in six playoff appearances.
Alec Burks, guard, Philadelphia 76ers
Nerlens Noel, center, Oklahoma City Thunder
Theo Pinson, guard, Brooklyn Nets
Austin Rivers, guard, Houston Rockets
Bobby Portis, center, Milwaukee Bucks
Damyean Dotson, guard, Cleveland Cavaliers
Wayne Ellington, guard, Detroit Pistons
Obi Toppin, forward, Dayton
Immanuel Quickley, guard, Kentucky
How many retired numbers do the Knicks have in franchise history?
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What is the name of the Arena the Knicks play their home games?
Madison Square Garden
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