As we approach the midway point in the NBA season, fans and bettors alike are asking: Should we believe in the New York Knicks?
There can be little argument that Phil Jackson is one of the best coaches in NBA history, what with his 11 championship rings’ worth of bling. He was also one of the most fortunate coaches ever in getting to lead teams that had Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen (Bulls) as well as Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal (Lakers).
How is Jackson as a team executive? His first two years in charge of the Knicks, the team with whom he won two titles as a player in the 1970s, weren’t so good. But this year’s club is a respectable 16-14 and an excellent 18-12 against the spread entering this week, one of the best ATS marks in the league.
Does that mean the Knicks are a legitimate contender to win the Eastern Conference? Nope. They are +5000 long shots to win the conference at SportsBookReview Forum’s top sports books.
Derrick Rose, who is somehow just 28, is having a nice season. He’s averaging 17.1 points, 4.4 assists and four rebounds per game. He is never going to play all 82 regular-season games again, but his knees have held up thus far. Rose missed a few games due to back troubles so be careful betting on the Knicks in the second of a back-to-back as he could get the occasional one off. The Knicks are 3-2 on the front end (winners of their last three) and 0-5 on the back end of back-to-backs this season.
Jackson’s other big offseason former-Bull addition, center Joakim Noah, perhaps unsurprisingly, hasn’t lived up to his $72 million contract to date. He’s playing just 21.8 minutes per night and averaging less than five points a game.
Jackson did hit a home run in selecting the relatively unknown Kristaps Porzingis at No. 4 overall in the 2015 draft. “The Unicorn” is averaging 20.0 points and 7.7 rebounds, should be a perennial All-Star and is the future of the franchise at just 21. Carmelo Anthony is still playing at a high level, leading the team in scoring at 22.7 PPG. In Sunday’s home loss to Boston, Anthony passed Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor to move into 28th place on the NBA career scoring list.
But should you trust this team? A common theme on the roster with aging and injury history would dictate to tread lightly. However, the savvy bettor can still maximize payouts by keeping their wagers local to the New York metro area: The Knicks are an NBA-best 11-5 ATS at home but 7-7 ATS on the road.
In other words, consider betting elsewhere to make money this week, with three road games on the docket.