It’s official: Phil Jackson is the PBO of
the New York Knicks. His first official game in charge is Wednesday against the
Indiana Pacers, who have failed to beat the NBA lines in 10 of their last 11
record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to March 17 inclusive:
Don’t talk to me about the Indiana Pacers.
We all know how poorly they’re doing against the NBA betting lines these days,
but when I
faded them last week against the Detroit Pistons (+5 at home), what happened?
Overtime, and a 112-104 Pacers victory after they were down by as many as 25
points. Go jump on a cactus, Indiana. Your mother knits socks that smell.
Okay, that’s exactly the wrong way to react
to the outcome of a single game. Betting on the NBA is a long-term thing, at
least if you’re doing it right. The Pacers (50-17 SU, 34-32-1 ATS) are still
entirely fadeworthy. And on Wednesday, they’ll be facing the New York Knicks
(27-40 SU, 29-38 ATS), who have won six games in a row at 5-1 ATS, a streak
that coincides with the team’s wooing of a certain 13-time NBA champion.
to the Chief
The Knicks made the marriage official on
Tuesday, announcing Phil Jackson as their new president of basketball
operations. Naturally, this being the Knicks, it’s easy to see the negatives.
Jackson is 68 years old (as old as the Knicks themselves), he’s making $60
million over the next five years, and he still has to report to Jim Dolan. This
could all go horribly, horribly wrong.
But let’s worry about right now for now.
The Knicks have been playing with much more verve ever since the front office
started negotiating with Jackson. There’s no denying his basketball bona fides. Everybody is saying the
right things in the wake of his arrival. Dolan says Jackson is “in charge of all
basketball decisions, period.” Carmelo Anthony (25.0 PER) says he is willing to
do whatever Jackson wants, and is “hoping and praying this all works.”
This isn’t just a move for next season,
either. The Knicks are still in the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference,
although it will be more difficult now that the Atlanta Hawks have center Pero
Antic back and have won five games in a row. New York remains within 4.5 games
of Atlanta with 15 games left to go. It can be done, and there’s no reason for
tanking, since the Knicks traded their 2014 first-round pick to the Denver
Nuggets when they acquired Anthony in 2011.
Compare 2013-14 NBA Championship Betting Futures
Here’s the other thing about the Knicks:
They won 54 games last year (46-34-2 ATS), and they were widely expected to
make the playoffs this season. On the surface, their only key departure was the
retired Jason Kidd (13.5 PER in 2012-12), and they upgraded at power forward
when they packaged Steve Novak (11.3 PER) to the Toronto Raptors for Andrea
Bargnani (14.5 PER). But surprise surprise, Bargnani is injured again. Most of
the Knicks have been injured this year, and maybe they’d like to have Chris
Copeland (16.8 PER) back after all.
That being said, most of the Knicks are
back and healthy – including Tyson Chandler (17.8 PER), who’s expected to play
Wednesday (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN) after briefly leaving the team on Monday to deal
with an undisclosed personal issue that cost him a couple of games last week.
Amar’e Stoudemire (18.2 PER) is logging increased minutes in the starting five,
and J.R. Smith (12.7 PER) has played better since joining STAT in the rotation.
No, the Knicks don’t look like World Champions right now, but all they need to
do Wednesday is beat the NBA lines as 2.5-point home dogs against their
stumbling rivals. No doubt they’ll be motivated.
Pick: Take the Knicks +2.5 (–104) at Marathon