The Brooklyn Nets have a better chance of winning the 2013 NBA title than the New York Knicks.
That’s according to at least one notable Vegas sports book, Bovada, that has the latest odds of a Nets championship at 30-1, a few clicks ahead of the Knicks at 35-1. Another oddsmaker, sbgglobal.com, also predicts a better season for Brooklyn, though it’s a bit closer: a three-point difference (37.5 to 40.5).
I find the notion that the Nets will outdo the Knicks this season, barring injury or some other unusual catastrophe, preposterous. Where are these numbers coming from? And what historical evidence is there that the 22-44 Nets will suddenly catapult themselves over five teams or more en route to a top-half seed in the East?
Will the addition of Joe Johnson, the return of Brook Lopez and a full season out for Gerald Wallace really add at least 100 percent more wins (44) —the absolute bare minimum W-L swing Brooklyn will need to surpass New York—to the bottom line?
When does that happen? When have there been such great season-to-season swings in NBA history? If you look at the “top 10 turnarounds in NBA history” per newsOK.com, it’s rare. If the Nets win 26 additional games this season, they will join this top 10.
That’s a tall order when you consider the causes of all of these turnarounds, which include “drafting Lew Alcindor, drafting Larry Bird [and] drafting Tim Duncan.”
Joe Johnson they are not.
And it will very possibly take even more wins than 44 or 48 to overtake New York. About a month back, I broke down the Knicks’ upcoming schedule to a tune of, believe it or not, 54 wins.
If you think that’s a bit optimistic, you might find accuscore.com’s analysis more reasonable.
The site forecasts every NBA team’s 2012-13 W-L record, chances of winning the division and odds of making the postseason:
“AccuScore simulates the entire 2012-13 NBA season one game at a time with each game being simulated 10,000 times.”
Their conclusion? The Knicks outdo the Nets in all three categories (48 to 45, 26% to 15% and 84% to 73%, respectively).
Finally, many more sports media and oddsmakers—Fox Sports, Yahoo!, the Las Vegas Hilton and vegasinsider.com—have the Nets still playing catchup in the big city.
Why, then, do some outlets have the Nets favored over the Knicks? Is the line moving that way because the action’s on Brooklyn? The masses think the Nets are better?
Let’s set the record straight with a little help from nj.com:
“Vegas odds are never intended to predict something. They're designed to increase the action, and if putting the Nets in front of the Knicks will do that, then why not?”
By that explanation, the Nets' “favored odds” are a mirage intended to prime the pump—create Brooklyn believers and entice others to go for the potentially more profitable, New York margin.
So don’t read too much into any spike in hysteria that may hit the radar. According to the New York Post, news of the latest odds made its way into the Knicks’ training camp. Carmelo Anthony faced it: “That’s fine. That’s fine with me. I’m cool; we’re cool...We ain’t thinking about them. We’re thinking about ourselves.’’
Anthony is right to pay no mind to the Brooklyn Nets.
They are a mere four-game distraction that wraps up with a final regular season game on January 21st, a good three months before the postseason. There won’t even be any late season head-to-head drama between the two teams.
Assuming Amar’e Stoudemire has a comeback, thanks to an Olajuwon-enhanced post-up game, the Knicks’ frontcourt will make up for any of the evident backcourt deficiencies New York has in comparison with Brooklyn (Tyson Chandler, Stoudemire and Anthony vs. Lopez, Kris Humphries, Wallace and J.R. Smith; Ronnie Brewer, Iman Shumpert and Raymond Felton vs. Joe Johnson and Deron Williams)
The Knicks also have a better bench: it’s more skilled, has more veteran and playoff experience and more game-mature leaders at just about every position (Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas vs. no one).
What logical reasoning would lead someone to conclude that the Brooklyn Nets will finish with either a better record or longer postseason than the New York Knicks?
None that I could think of.