Vincent Carchietta | USA TODAY Sports

Can the Knicks knock off the Cavaliers?

The ESPN hoops braintrust believes it is possible.

Seventeen of the Worldwide Leader’s NBA experts were paneled for their first-round playoff picks. Only four brave souls — Jerry Bembry, Nick Friedell, Jorge Sedano and Ramona Shelburne — have the Knicks winning. But the other 13 voters have them taking Cleveland to at least six games (and nine have the Knicks taking the Cavs to Game 7).

Noted Knicks enthusiast Stephen A. Smith was not included in the panel. From earlier:

The Knickerbockers are back in the NBA playoffs. Game 1 against Donovan Mitchell and the Cavaliers is Saturday in Cleveland.

It has been a good season. Twelve games over .500, the 5-seed in the Eastern Conference, a borderline MVP season from Jalen Brunson, potential Sixth Man of the Year Immanuel Quickley, a boatload of future first-round picks, et cetera. If Julius Randle can make it back this weekend, the Knicks have a real chance to upset the Cavs.

And if they don’t? That is OK, according to ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins. Because the future will remain bright and there is reason to believe other star players will begin gravitating toward Brunson and Madison Square Garden.

HOWEVA … Stephen A. Smith does not agree.

“We have been suffering for decades,” he shrieked on Monday’s edition of “First Take.”

“You are not going to convince me … They’d better win this damn series.”

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James Kratch can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.