So much for a new era for the New York Knicks under Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher. In the Big Apple, there’s a truly rotten core.
Headed into tonight’s trip to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Knicks are 3-8 and looking destined to be a playoff bust for the second straight season, despite the lavish expense on Carmelo Anthony’s new contract and the introduction of the fabled triangle offense.
So far, it’s left the team running in circles instead, averaging just 93.9 points per game and playing with the slowest pace in the entire NBA with only 91.8 of possessions per night.
Defensively, they’re not much better, giving up 107.3 points per 100 possessions, but it’s scoring that’s become the cornerstone issue.
Enough that Anthony, who has emerged from his own slump to move up to fifth in overall points average with 23.9, sat down with Jackson to try and gain some clarity with his role and the desired approach.
It coincided with New York snapping a seven-game skid with a victory over woeful Denver on Sunday but the improving Bucks will be a tougher proposition, with their bench particularly impressive in a 5-5 start which sees them 1.66 to pick up a third successive win for the first time since late-2012.
Offensively, their young group is still challenged, which is one big reason why it’s worth a punt on going under 181.5 total points at 3.05, or looking at Larry Sanders for over 10 rebounds.
But the Knicks are going to be a slow build – and it could take a few years for the revamp to bear fruit.
Best bet: Take Milwaukee on the handicap of -6.5 over New York at 2.50