ESPN's Knicks-Sixers predictions aren't good sign for New York's deep playoff hopes

Can we go back to when ESPN overlooked the Knicks?
New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau
New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

Remember last year when everyone picked the Cavaliers to beat the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs? Remember how it made the series win that much sweeter?

New York is in a different position this year as the No. 2 seed. The Knicks fought and clawed their way to stay at the top of the Eastern Conference and were rewarded with a first-round series against the No. 7 Sixers, who dropped in the standings after Joel Embiid's knee injury. He's since returned, although he isn't the player he was before surgery.

Even though New York is the higher seed, many people believe Philadelphia will advance to the second round. That's great! The Knicks do better when overlooked, which might be why most of an ESPN panel picked them to beat the Sixers. Reverse psychology, maybe?

The only person who chose Philadelphia to win is ESPN senior writer André Snellings. It's unusual that out of 11 people, 10 chose New York. Typically, it's the other way around.

Majority of ESPN panel picks Knicks to beat Sixers in playoffs

Let's be honest. It doesn't matter what people think will happen, but it almost seems like a bad sign that ESPN favors the Knicks. How often does that happen? Even Stephen A. Smith, supposedly a New York fan, struggles to say positive things about the Knicks. He frequently doesn't even know what's going on.

All that matters is New York's mindset. Tom Thibodeau has already planned for every possible scenario against Philadelphia. The players are tuning out the outside noise. They don't care that Paul Reed said the Sixers wanted to play the Knicks because they're the "easier" team.

Hopefully, ESPN's prediction will be true, but maybe everyone could go back to underrating the Knicks. Things felt less stressful that way. At least the betting odds disrespected the Knicks.

Next. 2 Knicks advantages versus Sixers, 2 disadvantages. 2 Knicks advantages versus Sixers, 2 disadvantages. dark