Jeff Van Gundy Says Knicks Are 'Not Even Close to a Lock for the Play-in'

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 8, 2022

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 10: ESPN Analysts, Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, and Mike Breen pose for a photo before Game Four of the 2022 NBA Finals on June 10, 2022 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

After the New York Knicks failed in their pursuit of Donovan Mitchell, ESPN analyst and former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy is not bullish on the team's chances next season.

"The Knicks have good players, but you line it up against the competition in the East, and this roster is not on the same level," Van Gundy told Marc Berman of the New York Post. "They could shock the world and be a playoff team, but I look at the East and I'd have to say eight to 13 is where they should be predicted. They're not even close to a lock for the play-in. A lot has to go right."

The Knicks finished 37-45 and were six games out of the play-in last season. They did get involved in the free-agent market, inking guard Jalen Brunson to a four-year, $104 million contract to fortify their backcourt.

New York hoped to add Mitchell to the fold but struck out on its nearly two-month-long pursuit of the All-Star guard when the Utah Jazz agreed to a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers last week.

Oddsmakers weren't all that impressed with the Brunson signing, with Knicks' win total currently listed at 38.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook. A one- or two-game improvement is not going to be enough to get the Knicks into the playoff picture in an increasingly deep East, so Van Gundy might be onto something with his prediction.