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Schmeelk: The Ultimate Guide To The Knicks' Tank

John Schmeelk
February 22, 2019 - 10:54 am
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With the All-Star break in the books, the Knicks are in an ignominious competition for the worst record in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls.

Before breaking down each team’s remaining games, here are the odds that are at stake.

Team                    1st           2nd          3rd        4th         5th       6th        7th        8th

Worst Team         14%       13.4%    12.7%    12%       47.9%

2nd Worst            14%       13.4%    12.7%    12%       27.8%    20%

3rd Worst             14%       13.4%    12.7%    12%       14.8%    26%       7%

4th Worst             12.5%    12.2%    11.9%    11.5%    7.2%      25.7%    16.8%    2.2%

The three worst teams have identical odds for the four worst picks, but with each spot a team drops, the further they can drop in the lottery drawing. The top pick, which will be Zion Williamson, is the ultimate prize, but staying in the top three or four will be equally important with players like RJ Barrett and Ja Morant who will be highly sought after.

There are only three teams with a realistic chance at finishing with a worse record than the Knicks. Here is what all four team’s schedules look like the rest of the way.

New York Knicks

Record: 11-47 (2nd worst record) – one game behind Phoenix, 24 games remaining

Streak: Won 1 (previously lost 18 straight)

Last time out: Beat Atlanta 106-91 on 2/14

Games remaining versus bottom four teams: 2/28 vs Cleveland, 3/6 at Phoenix, 4/1 vs Chicago, 4/9 at Chicago

Games remaining versus potential non-playoff teams under .500: 2/22 vs Timberwolves, 2/26 vs Orlando, 3/10 at Timberwolves, 3/17 vs Lakers, 3/30 vs Miami, 4/3 at Orlando, 4/7 vs Washington, 4/10 vs Pistons

Game remaining versus potential playoff teams over .500: 2/24 vs Spurs, 3/3 at Clippers, 3/4 at Kings, 3/9 vs Kings, 3/12 at Pacers, 3/15 at Spurs, 3/18 at Raptors, 3/20 vs Jazz, 3/22 vs Nuggets, 3/24 vs Clipper, 3/28 vs Raptors, 4/5 at Rockets

Notes: The Knicks close the year with six of seven games against teams under .500, including two games versus the Bulls and home games against the Wizards, Heat and Pistons. They could win games towards the end of the year, so it will be important for them to hold the worst record before April begins.

The Knicks play seven of eight games on the road between 3/3 and 3/15, including a small three-game West Coast trip.

The Knicks play 12 games against teams over .500 and 12 games against teams under .500. The Knicks have three sets of back to backs remaining. The Knicks have the most home games remaining of the bottom four teams, with 14. They only have 10 road games left on the schedule.

MORE: Schmeelk: Knicks Options In A Potential Anthony Davis Trade

Phoenix Suns

Record: 11-49 (Worst record) – one game ahead of the Knicks, 22 games remaining

Streak: Lost 16 straight

Last time out: Lost to the Cavaliers 111-98 on 2/21

Games remaining versus bottom four teams: 3/6 vs Knicks, 3/18 vs Bulls, 4/1 vs Cavaliers

Games remaining versus potential non-playoff teams under .500: 2/23 at Hawks, 2/25 at Miami, 3/1 vs Pelicans, 3/2 vs Lakers, 3/16 at Pelicans, 3/21 vs Pistons, 3/27 vs Wizards, 3/30 vs Grizzlies, 4/5 vs Pelicans, 4/9 at  Mavericks

Game remaining versus potential playoff teams over .500: 3/4 vs Bucks, 3/9 at Blazers, 3/10 at Warriors, 3/13 vs Utah, 3/15 at Rockets, 3/23 at Kings, 3/25 at Jazz, 4/3 vs Jazz, 4/7 at Rockets

Notes: Despite playing in the western conference, the Suns have only 9 games remaining against potential playoff teams with records over .500. Their 13 games against teams under .500 present a number of chances to get wins.

The Suns have three sets of back to backs the rest of the way. They have 12 home games, and 10 road games remaining.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Record: 13-46, third-worst record, 2.5 games behind the Suns, 23 games remaining

Streak: Won 1, and have won two of last three and four of last nine

Last time out: Beat the Phoenix Suns 111-98 on 2/21

Games remaining versus bottom four teams: 2/28 at Knicks, 4/1 at Suns

Games remaining versus potential non-playoff teams under .500: 2/23 vs Grizzlies, 3/2 vs Pistons, 3/3 vs Magic, 3/8 at Heat, 3/14 at Magic, 3/16 at Mavericks, 3/18 vs Pistons, 4/9 vs Charlotte

Game remaining versus potential playoff teams over .500: 2/25 vs Blazers, 3/6 at Nets, 3/11 vs Raptors, 3/12 at 76ers, 3/20 vs Bucks, 3/22 vs Clippers, 3/24 at Bucks, 3/26 vs Celtics, 3/28 at Spurs, 3/30 at Clippers, 4/4 at Kings, 4/5 at Warriors, 4/7 vs Spurs

Notes: With only 10 of 23 games remaining against teams under .500, the Cavaliers have a tougher schedule moving forward than the Suns and Knicks, with fewer opportunities to find wins.

They have two distinct stretches. From now until March 18th, they play eight of twelve games against teams under .500. Eight of their final ten are against potential playoff teams with records over .500.

The Cavs have three sets of back to backs the rest of the way. The Cavs have 11 home games left, and 12 road games remaining.

MORE: Schmeelk: Knicks' Second-Half Goals This Season

Chicago Bulls

Record: 14-44, 4th worst record, four games behind the Suns, 24 games remaining

Streak: Won 1, and have won two of their last four, and three of their last seven

Last time out: Beat the Memphis Grizzlies 122-110 on 2/13

Games remaining versus bottom four teams: 3/18 at Suns, 4/1 at Knicks, 4/9 vs Knicks

Games remaining versus potential non-playoff teams under .500: 2/22 at Magic, 2/27 at Grizzlies, 3/1 at Hawks, 3/3 vs Hawks, 3/8 vs Pistons, 3/10 at Pistons, 3/12 vs Lakers, 3/20 vs Wizards, 4/3 at Wizards 

Game remaining versus potential playoff teams over .500: 2/23 vs Celtics, 2/25 vs Bucks, 3/5 at Pacers, 3/6 vs Sixers, 3/15 at Clippers, 3/17 at Kings, 3/23 vs Jazz, 3/26 at Raptors, 3/27 vs Blazers, 3/30 vs Raptors, 4/6 vs Sixers, 4/10 at Sixers

Notes: Like the Knicks, the Bulls have 12 games remaining against teams over .500 and 12 games remaining against teams under .500. They also have a mini three-game West Coast trip from 3/15 to 3/18.

The Bulls play eight games against teams with 25 or fewer wins. They also play in five sets of back-to-backs, and two home-and-home series in their final 24 games. Their remaining is schedule is split evenly with 12 home games and 12 road games.

You can follow John on Twitter (@Schmeelk) for everything Knicks, Giants and the world of sports. Check out his Knicks Podcast, "The Bank Shot". In the most recent episode he interviewed Knicks Film School Founder Jeffrey Bellone, who runs knicksfilmschool.com and @KnickFIlmSchool on Twitter. You can listen on WFAN or subscribe on iTunes. The podcast can also be found on most popular platforms.