Should Knicks be Favored to Finish with NBA’s Worst Record?
Bovada posted an interesting NBA prop on Wednesday, Jan. 14, asking which team will have the worst regular-season record during the current season. There are three teams in the running, the Philadelphia 76ers, New Knicks and Minnesota Timberwolves.
The big prize in the 2015 NBA Draft is Duke freshman center Jahlil Okafor, who is an early betting favorite for ACC and National Player of the Year honors. However, the team with the worst record rarely wins the draft lottery — it’s why the league tried to change the lottery rules this year, to no avail.
Let’s break down each team’s odds and chances.
Philadelphia (+125): The 76ers enter Wednesday with a 7-30 mark and an NBA-low two wins in 18 home games. The 76ers are unabashedly in full-blown tanking mode and they have made no secret of that. It’s why they drafted injured Kansas center Joel Embiid and Croatian Dario Saric in June because the team knew that Embiid wouldn’t play this season due to injury and that Saric will stay over in Europe for two more season as he’s contractually obliged to do. The website Predictionmachine.com projects the 76ers to finish with 14.5 wins, which it says would be the fewest. ESPN gives Philly a best possible record of 30-52 and worst of 7-75. It gives the Sixers a 20.4 percent of finishing with the worst record.
NY Knicks (+150): It seems laughable now, but the Knicks expected to be a playoff team this season despite being led by first-year coach Derek Fisher. Team president Phil Jackson re-signed superstar Carmelo Anthony to huge contract and got rid of Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert. Yet the Knicks have lost a franchise-record 15 straight games and 22 of 23 to have the league’s worst record at 5-35. The team’s previous worst 40-game start was 10-30 more than four decades ago. Jackson has taken the blame for this mess and already has jettisoned guys like J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. Calderon and Andrea Bargnani could be next and there’s talk that Amare Stoudemire might be bought out. Also, Anthony is expected to be shut down for the season, perhaps right after the All-Star Game in New York, due to his knee troubles. The franchise’s first 60-loss season seems assured and we could be looking at 70. Of course the NBA record for losses is 73 by the 1972-73 76ers. The Knicks are given a projection of 17.6 wins, which seems way high.
Minnesota (+175): The Wolves were projected to have the fewest wins in the Western Conference after trading Kevin Love to Cleveland. Minnesota is at the bottom of the West with a 6-31 mark, although the team did just end a 15-game losing streak. The news isn’t all bad as rookie Andrew Wiggins, the main player acquired in that Cavs trade, is playing better and better and is the likely NBA Rookie of the Year. Minnesota also has played for weeks without starters Kevin Martin, Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic and the team will be respectable when they return this month. The Wolves are projected to finish with 15.7 wins.
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