Post-Donovan Mitchell Consolation Strategy for Knicks Fans

With Utah Jazz trading Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers last week, is there anything aside from Evan Fournier for MVP of Eurobasket for Knicks fans to make a safe wager on?

Donovan Mitchell
Donovan Mitchell
Donovan Mitchell (45) on the court with the Utah Jazz. He was recently traded to the Clevland Cavaliers.  (Image: USA Today)

For Knicks fans, there is no better hope than hoping there will be brighter days ahead, even if Mitchell isn’t a part of them. It’s either that or wagering on Cablevision stock creeping back above $3 a share, a far cry from where it was in 2018 when it was trading at $28.50.

It is small solace for fans of the blue and orange, but Jim Dolan was worth a lot more back then. If one wants to revel in the Knicks owner’s financial misery, every day is a good day, as long as that stock stays low, no matter what happens to the Knicks.

But all is not lost.

Look Ahead

The starting five for the upcoming season figures to be Jalen Brunson, Evan Fournier, Julius Randle, R.J. Barrett, and Mitchell Robinson. And let’s just say, the competition isn’t shuddering with fear. The Knicks are priced anywhere from +10000 to +12000 to win the 2023 NBA Championship, and only the most delusional of ‘Bockers backers are throwing their money at that line.

Fournier is +4000 to lead the NBA in most 3s per game, and for that wager to pay off, Steph Curry (the -175 favorite) and a bunch of other sharpshooters will have to stop doing what they’ve been doing their entire careers. Don’t bet on it.

Robinson is +10000 for Defensive Player of the Year, an award that typically goes to a player on a team that has overachieved significantly.

MVP/MIP

For MVP, Barrett at +37000 is the only Knick on the board, and you would be hard-pressed to find a single person in Barrett’s home province of Ontario, much less New York, who would handicap that one as even a remote possibility. At least the Knicks have hired a good Twitter feed artist.

Immanuel Quickley is +10000 for Most Improved Player, giving him much longer odds than teammates Brunson (+1900) and Barrett (+2300). For Quickley, a third-year point guard from Kentucky, the chances of winning that award are directly tied to him thriving in a three-guard rotation that coach Tom Thibodeau may have to employ to leverage one of the Knicks’ relative strengths.

Quickley averaged only 23.1 minutes per game last season and shot less than 40%, so we’re not holding our breath on that one.

Aside from Quickley at +3300, no Knicks are listed in the Sixth Man Award futures odds.

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Look at Europe

Knicks team President Leon Rose acquired Lithuanian point guard Rokas Jokubaitis in a draft night trade with Oklahoma City in 2021. The Euroleague Rising Star award winner is currently competing in Eurobasket for Lithuania, which lost its opener against Slovenia and its second game against France on Saturday. This despite 14 points and five assists from Jokubaitas. Lithuania then lost its third game on Sunday in a double-overtime tussle against Germany.

Lithuania is in the toughest group and getting out of the first round isn’t guaranteed (they need to defeat Bosnia-Herzegovina today.) Still, Lithuania is a perennial contender with tremendous fan support and a Lazarus moment from them isn’t the worst proposition ever.

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The Knicks’ Rose also holds the draft rights to a 2017 pick, Serbian shooting guard Ognjen Jaramaz, who went 3-for-5 from distance in the opener against the Netherlands and did the same thing Saturday against the Czech Republic. He’s playing alongside two-time reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic.

Serbia remains among the favorites to win Eurobasket (Greece is +330, and Serbia is +350), and they may be the best Knick-centric pick out there, as long as Jaramaz remains healthy.

They gave us a clinic. Basketball of the highest level in this tournament. For sure, we were not ready to play this level,” Finland coach Edon Maxhuni told reporters after the Finns lost to Serbia by 30 points.

Anyone wanting a Jaramaz double should look at Eurobasket futures and Euroleague futures because Jaramaz plays for Bayern Munich, a team that’s +3500 to win the Euroleague title. Heck, +3500 for Bayern Munich is shorter than +12000 for the New York Knicks, whose fans will have to look a little further for success this season, especially now that Mitchell is in Cleveland.

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