The Knicks have officially hired Tom Thibodeau as their head coach. He got a 5 year deal, but this is the Knicks so lets be realistic and say he’ll be coach for at least the next two years. The Knicks will also most likely be getting Mike Woodson as their assistant coach. He happened to be the coach the last time the Knicks made the playoffs. That got me thinking, what are the odds the Knicks make the playoffs under Tom Thibodeau?
First lets take a look at what happened last year. The Knicks entered the 2019-20 season with +575 odds, on average, to reach the postseason. They finished the abbreviated regular season with the fourth-worst point differential in the league and the lowest ELO rating at FiveThirtyEight. There is every reason to expect NY’s odds to make the 2021 playoffs to open at roughly the same number, i.e. in the +550 to +600 range. That would mean oddsmakers are giving them about a 12-15% chance. Once the current season ends in a few months, there should be early odds available for next season. The NBA section at Sports Betting Dime should have updated content by then so you’ll be able to check on the 2020-21 season.
Of course those odds were with Hornacek as coach and the Knicks now have a real actual basketball coaching staff. Now that the Knicks have the coach settled it’s time to look at the roster. It looks like Payton and Portis are gone. Payton was the Knicks best (only?) point guard last season. This means the Knicks point guard rotation will probably look something like whatever rookie they draft, Smith Jr., and Frank. Unless that draft pick is immediately good this can get messy. Of course the Knicks will have a ton of cap space if they don’t pick up a few team options but there doesn’t seem to be a quick fix on the market currently.
For arguments sake lets say everything works out, the draft pick is great, Frank, Knox, and Robinson all take a leap, and they find a free agent that makes them a little better. The next question is; is there room for the Knicks in the playoff picture? Milwaukee, Toronto, Boston, Philly, Miami and Indiana are virtual locks, and the Nets will most likely be there too. That means the Knicks would have to pass Charlotte, Washington, Orlando, and Chicago while staying ahead of Detroit and Atlanta who both will probably be better than last season. A lot can change between now and December but as of now I’d say a 12-15% chance at making the playoffs seems a little high.