The once-proud Knicks franchise has never lost 60 games in a regular season, but with the way things are going in 2014-15, a 70-loss campaign is in play with New York in full tank mode. Let's take a look at some of the biggest questions left to be answered the season and discuss how sports bettors can profit off of the Knicks' misfortunes.
Expect More Bag-Wearing Knicks Fans
Sorry New Yorkers, but the only decent basketball you are likely to see in Madison Square Garden this season will take place when the All-Star Game comes to town. New York lost its 15th franchise-record straight game on Sunday in a 110-82 home blowout to Charlotte to drop to 5-35. It was also the team's 22nd loss in the past 23 outings. New York is afforded the chance to be terrible once again Thursday in front of a European audience when the Knicks face Milwaukee in London. Prior to this year's season, the Knicks' slowest start came in 1963-64, when they only managed to record 10 wins in their first 40 games.
New York started this season with a team payroll of $81.2 million, meaning it has paid a whopping $16.2 million per victory. If you are wondering, Blazers All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge makes less than that this year. So do Marc Gasol, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook and Dwyane Wade, to name a few.
Interestingly enough, the Knicks actually believed that they could be a playoff contender under first-year coach Derek Fisher after re-signing superstar Carmelo Anthony and trading for guard Jose Calderon and center Samuel Dalembert this offseason. The Knicks did start the season 2-1, but it has been all downhill from there. The team is on pace for 10.3 wins this season, which would narrowly allow them to avoid the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers' all-time worst mark of 9-73. However, the fewest wins in league history in an 82-game schedule for a team that was over .500 at any point in a season is 15.
If tanking for draft position is in the Knicks' game plan, they picked a bad season to do so, as they will be battling the Philadelphia 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves for the most ping-pong balls in May's draft lottery. ESPN currently gives New York a 20% chance of finishing with the worst mark, while Minnesota sits at 21.0% and Philly at 18.9%.
Will Fisher Get Fired?
Despite the fact that he had zero coaching experience, team president Phil Jackson hand picked Derek Fisher to lead this team. The decision to fire him after just one season would be major egg on Jackson's face, especially after he thought he was about to sign Steve Kerr as the Knicks' coach this summer. Kerr wisely choice the Golden State job instead has the Warriors off to the NBA's best record and is the favorite to win 'NBA Coach of the Year' honors, despite having no previous coaching experience in the league. Phil Jackson has taken full blame for New York's current situation, but I fully expect to see him ride out his decision to go with Derek Fisher, at least for one more season.
Free NBA Pick: No.
How many games will the Knicks' losing streak last?
We could see the Knicks' next victory could come as soon as Thursday's matchup against Milwaukee. The Bucks are much improved this season and have already beaten New York twice, but this game's result will depends on the status of Carmelo and Amare Stoudemire.
Melo has missed six straight games -- all losses by double digits -- with his a reoccurring knee issue. Stoudemire has missed nine straight and 11 of 12 with his own knee problems, and he no longer plays in both ends of a back-to-back at this point in his brittle career.
Following Thursday's meeting with the Bucks, the Knicks have five very winnable games in the near future: vs. New Orleans (Jan. 19), at Philadelphia (Jan. 21), vs. Orlando (Jan. 23), at Charlotte (Jan. 24) and vs. Sacramento (Jan. 26). The Knicks have already tallied wins over the Hornets and Sixers this season, and we think it is safe to say that the NBA record of 26 straight losses will stand.
Free NBA Pick: The streak won't get past that Kings game. If not Thursday, let's say it ends Monday at the Garden as the Pelicans will be playing the second of a road back-to-back.
How many games will the Knicks win overall?
Things aren't likely to get much better, as Carmelo Anthony is preparing to call it quits for the season to have knee surgery. While we are not exactly sure when this will take place, he has already stated that he is looking to make this a throw-away year. It is likely that he plans to participate in this year's All-Star Game at the Garden before calling it quits for the season.
Stoudemire will play off and on the rest of the year, and the Knicks already gave away J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert in trades. It appears that they are also looking to do the same with Calderon and Andrea Bargnani. This means we will most likely be looking at a D-League roster by late February.
Free NBA Pick: Knicks Under 17 Wins
Predictionmachine.com runs 50,000 simulations of every NBA game daily on the rest of the schedule while including updated player statistics, etc. That site has the Knicks projected to win 17.6 games. If online spotsbooks do indeed relist the Knicks season win totals at 17, we will gladly take the 'Under'. We predict them to finish right at 13 wins, keeping them just over a 70 loss season.
Will the Knicks finish with the worst overall record?
The 76ers at least have a few young players who are trying to prove themselves, as Nerlens Noel, Michael Carter-Williams and K.J. McDaniels have all shown flashes of brilliance this season. Thanks to injuries, the Timberwolves are also sending out a young squad right now and have dropped 15 straight and 21 of 22 entering Tuesday. However, the Wolves should see three quality NBA starters return to the floor soon, as Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic are all scheduled to return in the near future.
Bovada Sportsbook is offering a prop betting option on which team will finish with the worst regular season record this year. They are currently listing the Timberwolves, 76ers and Knicks as the only offers on the board, with New York listed at NBA odds of +150. While the 76ers are favored at +125, we believe that their young talent will manage to scrape together a few wins to put themselves over the Knicks.
Free NBA Pick: Knicks +150
That same Predictionmachine.com website listed above says the Knicks will not have the worst record. It gives Philadelphia a season wins projection of 14.5 wins, with Minnesota at 15.7 and New York that 17.6 number. We disagree.
Will the Knicks get the first overall draft pick in 2015?
If you are one of those who believes in league conspiracies, then yes, the NBA shot callers will make it happen. Many people think the league rigged the first NBA Draft lottery in 1985, giving the Knicks the chance to once again become relevant. The prize that year was the best big man in college basketball, Patrick Ewing, and we all know how that ended up playing out.
This year's top prize is the best big man in college basketball, Duke Freshman Jahlil Okafor. New York has to find its next superstar in this year's draft, and given the fact that they have no first round picks in 2016, they must make moves now if they hope to contend anytime in the next few years. The Knicks dealt the right to swap first-rounders with Denver in the Anthony trade and then later agreed to send the lesser of the two picks to Toronto in the Bargnani trade. This only puts the Knicks deeper in the hole, and only a strong draft showing in 2015 can help them begin the long climb out of the depths of the Eastern Conference.
Free NBA Pick: Knicks take Okafor with Top pick in 2015 NBA Draft: -250.