Re-Assessing NY Knicks' Title Odds Post-NBA Trade Deadline

Ciaran GowanContributor IIIFebruary 23, 2013

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 17:   Kenyon Martin #2 of the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 17, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas.  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 the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The New York Knicks only made minor moves at the NBA trade deadline, but with some activity around the league, it's still a good time to re-assess their title odds.

To recap deadline day from the Knicks' point of view, Ronnie Brewer was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a second-round pick, allowing for the Knicks to pick up free agent Kenyon Martin on a 10-day contract.

Brewer had fallen out of the Knicks' rotation following Iman Shumpert's return from injury, and with some terrible shooting on top of that, was deemed surplus to requirements. Still, his excellent perimeter defense was enough for the Knicks to get something in return for him, even if it will only turn out to be one of the latest picks in the draft.

Meanwhile, the addition of K-Mart could give the Knicks the toughness and rebounding they've been missing in recent months, with both Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace sidelined with injury.

Martin has played alongside plenty of the current Knicks while with the New Jersey Nets and Denver Nuggets, and most notably has a great on-court relationship with Jason Kidd.

The Knicks will be hoping Martin can fit right in and start producing the way he did late last season with the LA Clippers. If not, they can easily rid themselves of him as it's only a 10-day contract. At that point, another free agent like Lou Amundson or D-League prospect Henry Sims could be tried out.

Though New York got better at the deadline by addressing their primary need, their recent performance has been cause for concern, and is something that Martin won't be able to fix on his own.

In the midst of a four-game losing streak, the Knicks have been embarrassing, looking like anything but the title-contenders they seemed to be back in November.

The defense has been terrible, shots aren't falling and once again players are failing to keep their cool on the court. It's something that Mike Woodson needs to sort out soon if the team wants to make good on the roster's talent and compete for a title this season.

Looking at the Knicks' competition at the top of the Eastern Conference, no team got significantly better at the deadline.

There were rumors of a potential major move for teams like the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics involving Danny Granger, Carlos Boozer and Paul Pierce respectively, but in the end, their activity was a lot more conservative.

Boston did make an interesting move in picking up Jordan Crawford from the Washington Wizards, but with Rajon Rondo injured it's still very hard to picture the C's as a serious contender this season.

If the Knicks continue on their downward spiral, however, the Milwaukee Bucks' addition of J.J. Redick may come into play. Redick gives Milwaukee a strong three-man guard rotation along with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, making them a team that can realistically compete for a top-six seed in the Eastern Conference.

Right now, the Knicks are third, but things are so tight in the conference that any extension of this bad run of play could be very significant to their final playoff seeding.

The Knicks match up poorly with Chicago and Indiana, and will likely need the homecourt advantage that a top-two seed will provide if they meet either of them in the first two rounds.

In six meetings with those two teams this season, the Knicks are 1-5, and that comes despite having played half of the games at home. 

As great as the Knicks have performed against the Miami Heat. the real concern right now has to be whether or not they will even have the chance to meet them in the playoffs.

There are plenty of excuses for the Knicks' struggles against specific teams this season, but the bottom line is that they haven't been able to get past the sides they are probably going to face in the first and second rounds of the playoffs.

The addition of Kenyon Martin does bring some of the necessary toughness to New York, but really this is an internal issue that needs to be sorted out by Coach Woodson and the team's leaders on the court.

Until they prove they can hang with Indiana and Chicago, the Knicks' title odds take a hit, but they are still relatively high because of the talent on the roster and having seen what they can do at their best.


Title Odds: 20/1