New York Knicks Season Preview, Win Total Prediction and Playoff Odds

Julius Randle and Tom Thibodeau are looking to lead the Knicks to the playoffs again.
Julius Randle and Tom Thibodeau are looking to lead the Knicks to the playoffs again. / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Julius Randle’s slogan for the New York Knicks last season was “We here,” but are the Knicks here to stay? 

New York finished with the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference in the 2020-21 season, but it was unable to advance in the postseason, losing to the Atlanta Hawks in five games. Leon Rose, Scott Perry and Tom Thibodeau wasted no time this offseason keeping the core from last season’s team intact, but they also improved the Knicks’ roster heading into this season. 

New York locked up Julius Randle with a four-year, $117 million contract extension and brought back Alec Burks, Derrick Rose and Nerlens Noel from last season’s roster. Noel, Burks and Rose all came back on three-year deals (the final year in each deal is a team option) and should provide the Knicks with solid depth once again this season. 

That wasn’t all for the Knicks in free agency, as they brought in swingman Evan Fournier, who spent the 2020-21 season with the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics on a four-year deal. Fournier replaces Reggie Bullock (who signed with the Dallas Mavericks) in the starting lineup, and he should give Randle and RJ Barrett another player to lean on offensively. 

Speaking of leaning on players offensively, the Knicks decided to let Elfrid Payton walk and replaced him with Kemba Walker, who was bought out by the Oklahoma City Thunder, to be the team’s starting point guard. 

Knicks fans know how much the point guard position affected last season’s team, as the Knicks were 24-11 with Rose in the lineup last season after he was acquired from Detroit. Second-year guard Immanuel Quickley will have an even bigger role this season after making the All-Rookie second team last season, and draft picks Miles McBride and Quentin Grimes give the Knicks some serious injury insurance.

On paper, the Knicks got better. But can Thibodeau’s team replicate last season’s effort where they allowed the fewest points per game and finished with the NBA’s fourth-best defensive rating? 

It’s not going to be easy, but the continuity from last year’s roster is still very much intact. With Walker and Fournier, who are major upgrades offensively, and Mitchell Robinson set to return at some point this season, the Knicks are trending up after years of landing in the lottery. 

New York Knicks Win Total Prediction | 41.5 (Over -110/Under -110)

WynnBET Sportsbook has the Knicks projected to win 41.5 games in the 2021-22 season. This may seem like a slap in the face considering the Knicks went 41-31 in a shortened 2020-21 season, but the Eastern Conference has improved as well. 

The Knicks are due for a bit of regression after Randle had the best year of his career, but a growing Barrett, Walker and Fournier should help make up for any drop off in production. This projection may be a bit low, but I look at it as a value to grab the Knicks to at least finish over .500 (42-40) this season. 

New York Knicks Playoff Odds

The Knicks are favored to make the postseason this year (-150 at WynnBET), but they have lower playoff odds than the Chicago Bulls (-165) and Indiana Pacers (-175) who both missed the postseason last year. 

There are plenty of expectations for the Knicks and Thibodeau this season, but it actually feels like they may be undervalued here. New York was the No. 4 seed in the East last season even with Mitchell Robinson out of the lineup for most of the season, and the roster has certainly improved heading into the 2021-22 season. 

The Eastern Conference is going to be even tougher this season with the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics and Bulls all making moves to improve their rosters, but the Knicks should be right there with them. 

I project New York anywhere between the No. 4 and No. 7 spot in the East this year.

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