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Knick Knocking

Isiah Thomas and the ’Bockers have high hopes heading into the season, with new power forward Zach Randolph and a born-again Stephon Marbury. But do they really have a chance? A roundup of predictions for the Knicks.

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‘LINDY’S PRO BASKETBALL’
Predicted wins: 35
Predicted conference finish: Tenth (of fifteen; top eight make the playoffs)
Backhanded compliment: “The Knicks’ offensive alignment should scare anybody— if they can hold on to the ball. The team led the world in turnovers last season.”
Word used in reference to team’s recent past: “Leprosy.”

‘THE SPORTING NEWS’
Predicted wins: 30
Predicted finish: Thirteenth
Backhanded compliment: “At least the Knicks have two bigs who can post up and score … [but] this gets back to the one-ball, multiple-agendas problem.”
Words used in reference to team’s recent past: “Sick joke.”

JOHN HOLLINGER, NEW YORK ‘SUN’ AND ESPN COLUMNIST
Predicted wins: 38
Predicted finish: Tenth
Backhanded compliment: “Last year the Knicks actually resembled a professional basketball team for large stretches of the season.”
Word used in reference to team’s recent past: “Circus.”

ESPN.COM
Predicted wins: 33
Predicted finish: Eleventh
Backhanded compliment: “Zach Randolph is good, but he plays the same position as the Knicks’ most coveted player (David Lee) and the same position as New York’s other shot-happy low-post player (Eddy Curry).”
Words used in reference to team’s recent past: “Bizarre,” “depressing,” “circus.”

BILL SIMMONS, ESPN COLUMNIST
Predicted wins: 32
Predicted finish: Thirteenth
Words used in reference to team’s recent past inspired Isiah to say, “If I see this guy Bill Simmons, oh it’s gonna be a problem with me and him.”

STRAIGHT BANGIN’ BLOG
Predicted wins: 36
Predicted finish: Tenth
Backhanded compliment: “I’d like to think that guided by the humility preached by his new father, Jesus, Stephon will commit to serving as the cohesion that this team will need to execute effectively.”
Words used in reference to team’s recent past: “Shame,” “moron,” “hostage situation.”

POSTING AND TOASTING BLOG
Predicted wins: 41
Predicted finish: Sixth
Rare genuine compliment: “The tandem [of Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph] up front is guaranteed to trample some of those willowy 6'9" sticks that other teams call big men.”
Words used in reference to team’s recent past: Under heading “Weaknesses,” simply lists “managed by Isiah Thomas and owned by James Dolan.”

‘SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’
Predicted wins: 41
Predicted finish: Sixth
Rare genuine compliment: “The trade for rugged power forward Zach Randolph should put New York in the playoffs for the first time since 2003–2004.”
Word used in reference to team’s recent past: “Circuslike.”

‘SPORTS ILLUSTRATED FOR KIDS’
Predicted wins: 33
Predicted finish: Twelfth
Backhanded compliment: “The Knicks would be great if you could play the game with more than one ball.”
Words used in reference to team’s recent past: “Vomit,” “torture,” “Holocaust-esque shitshow,” and worse.
Just kidding: “Roller-coaster.”

Average Predicted Wins: 35.44
Average Predicted Conference Finish: Tenth
Addendum: “3.7 percent” of respondents (i.e., one person) in NBA.com’s anonymous survey of 27 general managers picked the Knicks to win the Atlantic Division (which should take at least 45 wins). On an entirely unrelated note, here’s a picture of Knicks general manager Isiah Thomas.

* Note on Methodology: When only a win total or conference finish was predicted, last year’s final standings were used to approximate the other number. For example, Sports Illustrated picked the Knicks to finish sixth in the Eastern Conference; last year’s sixth-place Eastern Conference team won 41 games, so we put SI down for 41 wins.

Have good intel? Send tips to intel@nymag.com.


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