It’s hard for me to rank the Knicks ahead of the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year and out-executed them the entire series. This is a mentally tough team who made a miraculous run to the Finals last year as a No. 8 seed.
The Heat might also add Damian Lillard to their roster. Either way, I rank them ahead of the Knicks. Miami did lose some key pieces in Max Strus and Gabe Vincent, but they always find guys off the street to perform for them.
6. New York
Finally, we reach the Knicks. I don’t want this to come off as negative because I am optimistic about the Knicks’ future. They have a talented team who exceeded expectations last year. They have two stars on very reasonable contracts and a ton of assets to cash in, as well as young players who should keep improving.
A competent front office has put the team in a good position now and in the future. I am just uncertain about how they will be better than last season. Their only move was signing Donte DiVincenzo, a nice player but not a needle mover. They still don’t have enough shooting, and their closing lineup will be the same as last year, where spacing was cramped.
The Knicks’ best hope is RJ Barrett turning into a star, and while he’s a productive young player, that doesn’t look too likely. I expect the Knicks to win anywhere from 45-50 games and finish in a similar position as last year, fifth or sixth seed. Right now, I would put them sixth in the East.