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Knicks unlikely to tank for top NBA draft pick under Thibodeau

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For some perspective on the big difference in season-ending approaches on display on Sunday, the lowly Magic played former Knick Ignas Brazdeikis for 37 minutes, in which they were outplayed by 37.

The Knicks called on 30-year-old Alec Burks to log 33 minutes in a blowout victory after already being knocked out of the playoffs.

Tom Thibodeau’s teams don’t tank, and the Knicks have won five of their last seven games — showing hope for the future while hurting draft chances in the near future — is further proof of that.

The Knicks (35-44) have the best record among teams currently out of the playoffs and qualifying tournaments, giving them the 12th-best odds to clinch the top pick in the May draft lottery.

If the Knicks, who have three games left, finish in the same position, they would have a 1.5% chance of landing the first pick. It would be more doable to jump into the top four – with a 7.2% shot – but most doable to just stay at 12, which would happen with an 86.1% chance.

Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau
New York Post: Charles Wenzelberg

The last three No. 12 picks were Joshua Primo of San Antonio, Tyrese Haliburton of Sacramento (since traded to Indiana) and PJ Washington of Charlotte.

The Knicks host the Nets, travel to Washington and host the Raptors to wrap up the season, and the game against the Wizards (34-44) could decide the seeding “battle.” In the event of a tie, the lottery teams share their ping-pong balls equally.

With less than a week left in the season, the Knicks could “pass” the Wizards and the loser of the Western Conference play-in tournament. The Pelicans (34-44) and Spurs (33-45) likely head into the game 9-10, and whichever team is eliminated, the winning percentage will be worse.

If the Knicks lose and the Lakers win, they would have the same record and split the odds. If the Knicks don’t win another game and get help from the Lakers, Wizards and the West loser, they could sit in and tie for eighth place.

But the Knicks haven’t and won’t do everything they can to increase their lottery percentages.

“We have guys growing up,” Thibodeau said last week. “I don’t believe in that other stuff [tanking].”

New York Post

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.

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