Tuesday 18th June 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

Tyson Chandler Thinks Knicks Can Finish 3rd in Eastern Conference

tysonDid Tyson Chandler call no take backs?

Following a loss to the league-worst Milwaukee Bucks, the New York Knicks dropped to 19-29 on the season, 1.5 games out of the Eastern Conference’s playoff picture. With contests against the Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder imminent, New York’s postseason hopes aren’t exactly rock solid.

Chandler isn’t thinking about securing that eighth and final playoff spot, though. He has third place on the brain.

From the New York Post‘s Marc Berman:

Obviously we didn’t come in expecting to put ourselves in this situation. But on the bright end, this is the kind of year where that’s the case for a lot of teams. I feel like it’s still wide open. I looked at the standings, and I feel like we’ve got a real opportunity to kind of shoot up to that third spot and try to get ourselves in the mix.

Was he kidding? Or drunk? Was he being held at gunpoint by Knicks owner James Dolan? Or so completely miffed by New York’s losing he forgot which year it was?

Nope. It’s none of those things. Chandler was being serious, and his sincerity isn’t as funny as it should be.

At 10 games under .500, the Knicks should be screwed, desperate for a playoff berth. Thanks to a woeful Eastern Conference, they’re 10 games under .500, desperate for a playoff berth and able to make up some serious ground.

After Monday’s loss to Milwaukee, the Knicks are now seven games back of the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors and Atlanta Hawks with 34 left to play. Winning the Atlantic Division guarantees them fourth place and as of right now, would snag them a third seed.

Difficult? Absolutely. Impossible? Far from it.

The Knicks have two games against the Raptors remaining, both of which come in April and the latter of which closes out the season. Assuming they win those two games, that puts them in a five-game hole, a more-than-erasable deficit when you consider how streaky the Raptors can be and how general manager Masai Ujiri is still a risk to blow it up.

Likewise, one game remains against Atlanta. If the Knicks win that, they’re technically looking at a six-game hole. So yes, it’s totally possible. Is it likely? Eh.

Most of us really want to believe the Knicks are better than they are. That they can still make some noise—especially me, since I predicted them to finish third or fourth out East and win the Atlantic Division, and you know how much I hate being wrong.

But time is running out. While the Knicks are still within reach of a third- or fourth-place finish, they need to worry about actually entering the playoff picture first.

Topping Toronto and Atlanta can come later, if the Knicks ever figure out a way to distance themselves from the Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Bobcats.

Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com.

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