The New York Knicks have been a moribund franchise for the better part of two decades, sitting at or near the bottom of the Eastern Conference as they have struggled to reclaim the glory days of the 1990s. But the Knicks are being considered one of the teams most likely to win the 2020 NBA Finals, with odds to win next season’s championship putting the team there with the other elite teams in the league. Is that kind of treatment justified, or is it just a case of the Knicks being overhyped in a big market?
Early odds have the Knicks somewhere in the neighborhood of +1600 to win the 2020 Finals, putting them behind the Bucks, Celtics, and Raptors in the Eastern Conference. The reason for those odds is the anticipated arrival of Kevin Durant in New York, as he is expected to be leaving the Golden State Warriors to play his home games in Madison Square Garden going forward. The Knicks are even rumored to be offering Durant a television show in exchange for his services on the basketball court.
New York is also rumored to be landing Kyrie Irving this offseason, now that his time in Boston appears to be done. And with a high pick in the upcoming NBA Draft coming, the Knicks are in prime position to improve in a hurry. But the Knicks also need to get those players on their roster before they are truly a favorite to win the Finals.
On top of the fact that they don’t yet have the players on their roster to be great, there are also lingering concerns associated with the Knicks’ ownership that could sink even the most star-studded team. James Dolan has long been considered an issue with team chemistry and otherwise for the Knicks, whereas most owners are content to sit back and let the team function as they watch from up above. And Dolan’s culture of dysfunction with the Knicks is one of the big reasons that the Knicks are not being tabbed as favorites just yet.
When it comes to NBA betting, track record has a lot of influence on selections. It is why a team like the Golden State Warriors still get plenty of respect despite long having had targets on their backs atop the league. And the track record of dysfunction by the Knicks is a major reason that most sports betting predictions still don’t have faith in the Knicks to reach the Finals just yet.
Those predictions could change if the Knicks were to actually land Durant and Irving and if they were to form the superteam that rumors have them forming over the summer. But for now, the faith of NBA fans and those making predictions is still with the Warriors, along with the up-and-coming Trail Blazers and Nuggets in the West. And in the East, it is still all about Giannis and the Bucks and the Raptors, at least until the Knicks can prove that they can operate well together.