When oddsmakers released win totals for the upcoming 72-game NBA season, three teams were lumped at the bottom of the list with the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Charlotte Hornets as the projected worst teams in the NBA next season.
Now that the 2020 NBA Draft is complete, can any of the NBA’s bottom-feeders actually outperform expectations? Or will the crappy teams continue to remain inept, as predicted by the bookmakers at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas?
The NBA will play a 72-game schedule after shaving off 10 games in order to complete the NBA playoffs prior to the start of the delated 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. As a result, the win totals might seem a little off.
Win totals set at 22.5 over/under in a 72-game NBA season equates to an over/under of 25.5 in a normal 82-game season.
The Knicks are regarded as the worst team in the NBA and one of the worst franchises in pro sports. Credit universally hated owner James Dolan as the culprit. The toxicity of the organization begins with Dolan and rolls downhill. The Knicks will never return to their old glory days of the 1990s until Dolan sells the team to an owner with a real vision who will respect their players and keep promises to fans.
New York Knicks 22.5 O/U
In the last six seasons, the Knicks never finished higher than a .390 winning percentage. The Knicks finished in last place in the Atlantic division three times since then.
The 2019-20 Knicks went 21-45 before the pandemic shuttered the NBA. They had such a poor record, they were among the teams not invited to join the restart inside the NBA Bubble at Orlando.
The Knicks couldn’t even get a little luck from the basketball gods. They tumbled out of the lottery this season and ended up with an #8 pick.
A couple of years earlier, the Knicks tanked in order to secure the #1 pick in the NBA Draft. The New Orleans Pelicans hit the lottery and selected Zion Williamson, while the Knicks opted for RJ Barrett from Duke with the third pick.
This season, with the #8 pick, the Knicks acquired the best player remaining in the draft at the time, selecting Obi Toppin. Toppin will definitely make a splash in the dunk contest, but will he be another Knicks draft bust?
The Knicks needed a point guard, but opted for Toppin, who grew up in New York City. The Knicks also acquired Immanuel Quickley in a trade, whom they hope can develop into a floor leader at MSG.
There was no shortage of Chris Paul trade rumors to the Knicks in the last few months. That pipe dream never materialized when the Oklahoma City Thunder traded CP3 to the Phoenix Suns. Now, word on the street is that the Knicks are interested in acquiring Russell Westbrook from the Houston Rockets. If the Knicks get RWB, then it seems logical that they’ll head north of 23 wins (with their NBA wins total set at 22.5). Without an All-Star stud like Westbrook, the Knicks could continue their bottom-feeding ways.
Cleveland Cavs 22.5 O/U
You have to feel bad for the Cleveland Cavs. They had LeBron James leave them twice. And both times, his departure decimated the team. At least they have a championship banner to stare at, which is more than the Knicks fans have, since their team hasn’t won a title in almost 50 years. The Charlotte Hornets have never raised a championship banner despite the fact their owner, Michael Jordan, won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s.
Then again, sometimes a sports team encapsulates their surroundings. Cleveland’ not exactly a hotspot for coolness in North America. Sure, they have the rock and roll Hall of Fame, but that’s about it.
“Cleveland really sucks, it’s pretty depressing here man,” said former NBA star Joakim Noah. “It’s bad. I’ve never heard anybody say, ‘I’m going to Cleveland on vacation.’ What’s so good about Cleveland?”
Cleveland jokes aside, the team has yet to recover from their tailspin after LeBron James left two seasons ago. Last season, their experiment with John Beilein as head coach failed miserably.
On the bright side, the Cavs drafted Isaac Okoro, who’s regarded as one of the better two-way players in the 2020 NBA Draft.
On the doom-and-gloom side, the Cavs’ top player, Kevin Love, has been mentioned in numerous trade rumors, including one with the Golden State Warriors.
Charlotte Hornets 22.5 O/U
The Hornets sought a new identity once Kemba Walker left the team in free agency.
Now, they’ll have the flashy LaMelo Ball as their newest player. If Ball lives up to the hype, Charlotte could hover around the #7 seed or #8 seed tier of mediocrity that’s plagued the middle-of-the-road teams in the Eastern Conference. If Ball ends up a bust, then it’s tank city once again for Buzz City.
The Hornets last advanced to the playoffs five seasons ago, but were bounced in the opening round by the Miami Heat. The team got stuck in no-man’s land since then, finishing 36-46 in back-to-back seasons in 2016-17 and 2017-18. They weren’t the worst team in the league, so they couldn’t benefit with a lottery pick. Walker led the Hornets to 39 wins two seasons ago, but they bubbled the playoffs. Without Walker, the Hornets went 23-42 or nearly 20 games under .500.