The New York Knicks’s hopes for a deep playoff run took a big hit on Thursday after forward Julius Randle was diagnosed with a sprained left ankle that will sideline him for at least two weeks.
That keeps Randle out for the remainder of the regular season, but it does give him a chance to return for Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs. The Knicks All-Star was injured when he landed on Bam Adebayo’s foot after grabbing an offensive rebound on Wednesday night.
New York doesn’t have odds to make the playoffs available since the team is nearly a lock to finish with a top six spot, but the team is +10000 to win the NBA Finals.
The bigger issue for the Knicks may be what seed the team ends up with in the postseason.
Knicks’ odds to win the NBA Finals
The Knicks are going to be in the playoffs, and their magic number to clinch a top six seed in the East is now just one after beating Miami on Wednesday night.
However, the team could still fall behind the Brooklyn Nets (No. 6 in the East) in the playoff standings. Right now, the Knicks are 2.5 games up on the Nets and would likely face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the No. 4 vs. No. 5 seed matchup in the playoffs.
There isn’t any data for this year’s Knicks team without Randle, as he’s played in every single game this season.
New York’s iron man even stayed in to shoot his free throws after the injury on Wednesday.
For the time being, New York will turn to Obi Toppin and potentially Josh Hart in smaller lineups (Tom Thibodeau did this Wednesday against Miami), to replace the loss of Randle.
Toppin, who thrived as a starter last season, averaging 20.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 10 games as a starter, will have to step up to close out the season.
New York has a relatively easy schedule with two games against the Indiana Pacers and one against the Washington Wizards remaining, but the Knicks also have matchups with the Cleveland Cavaliers and New Orleans Pelicans (both playoff-caliber teams).
Regardless of the seed that the Knicks get, their outlook beyond the first round is murky if Randle can’t return for Game 1. And even then, he may not be at 100 percent or as effective as he’s been all season.
For now, the Knicks are a team to avoid in the futures market.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.