It’s summer, there is no shortage of predictions. The latest from Bleacher Report projects 20 wins for the New York Knicks next season.
Bailey, placing the Knicks only above the Cleveland Cavaliers, cites youth, a logjam at the power forward position, and the probability of another tank job as reasons for the poor record.
Even the most objective Knick fan would probably feel that this prediction is a bit low. However, there are reasons to be concerned.
According to Yaya Dubin and his schedule breakdown for all 30 NBA teams, the Knicks were ranked 18th in regards to strength of schedule.
Strength of Schedule for all 30 teams based on Vegas O/U lines, broken down by month and pre/post-ASG.
Pistons have the league's easiest pre-ASG schedule and hardest post-ASG schedule. Pelicans hardest pre-ASG, Heat easiest post-ASG. pic.twitter.com/UPKjuGPjAI
— Yaya Dubin (@JADubin5) August 12, 2019
This includes a rough 13-game stretch between November and December where the Knicks play 12 playoff teams including the Philadelphia 76ers, San Antonio Spurs, Brooklyn Nets, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers, and the Golden State Warriors.
Without question, this will be a make-or-break section of the schedule that will show fans a lot about this Knicks team. Furthermore, it will be interesting to see players like RJ Barrett and Ignas Brazdeikis respond to this difficult part of the schedule as rookies transitioning to the NBA grind.
But overall, just on talent alone, this team should be better. No one will be scared of a potential starting five that features, Dennis Smith Jr., Barrett, Marcus Morris, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson, but they shouldn’t take them lightly either. Furthermore, with at least a little bit of continuity from last season, the young players on the squad should take another step forward.
Of course, it will come down to how head coach David Fizdale meshes all of this talent and distributes minutes. But given even the most reasonable of expectations, the Knicks should win at least 25 games.