Knicks playoff picture: Breaking down New York’s seeding scenarios in 2024 NBA bracket

The NBA regular season is almost over, which used to mean the Knicks’ season was also nearing its conclusion.

The tides have changed in recent years under Tom Thibodeau’s tutelage as New York is on the verge of its third playoff appearance in four seasons.

Jalen Brunson leads an injury-riddled squad that features two of his former Villanova teammates and defensive ace O.G. Anunoby. Three-time All-Star Julius Randle is out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.

Additionally, Anunoby is just returning from an elbow injury. Thibodeau is “cautiously optimistic” on the forward moving forward.

The Knicks have at least clinched a Play-In Tournament berth with just a few games left in the season, but they have the opportunity to avoid that tournament with a top-six seed.

Here’s how the Knicks’ playoff picture could look as the regular season nears its end.

MORE: TSN’s Steph Noh makes his 2024 All-NBA Teams picks

Knicks playoff scenarios 2024

The Knicks are currently the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference with four games remaining in the regular season. Their 46-32 record is tied with the Magic, but Orlando won the season series 3-1, thus has the tiebreaker.

New York could shift in either direction in the final few games as seeds 2-8 are not secured yet. As it stands on Tuesday, April 9, the Knicks would play the No. 5 Cavaliers in the first round — a rematch of last year’s first round in which New York won 4-1.

It’s still possible that the rematch will occur, but the seeds are likely to shake up in the final four games of the season. If the Knicks lose out, they could fall as far as the No. 8 seed and be forced to participate in the Play-In Tourney.

New York could also win out and rise to the No. 2 seed, its highest seeding since 2012-13. If the Knicks earn the No. 2 seed, they will play one of the Play-In Tournament teams in the first round.

The Knicks can secure a top-6 seed and avoid the Play-In Tournament as early as Tuesday, April 9, with either a win or Heat and 76ers losses.

As for tiebreakers, the Knicks have the advantage over the Cavaliers (2-1), 76ers (3-1) and Heat (2-1). The Bucks (2-3), Magic (1-3) and Pacers (1-2) own the tiebreaker over New York.

MORE: Ranking NBA teams with most pressure to make playoffs

Knicks standings 2024

The Knicks are the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, tied with the Magic with a 46-32 record. New York is one game back of the No. 2 seed and has a three-game lead on the No. 8 seed.

Seed Team Record Games back
1 Celtics 62-16
2 Bucks 47-31 15
3 Magic 46-32 16
4 Knicks 46-32 16
5 Cavaliers 46-33 16.5
6 Pacers 45-34 17.5
7 76ers 44-35 18.5
8 Heat 43-35 19
9 Bulls 37-41 25
10 Hawks 36-42 26

Knicks remaining schedule

The Knicks have four games remaining in the 2023-24 regular season and each can drastically impact their seeding for the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Date Opponent Time (ET)
April 9 at Chicago 8 p.m.
April 11 at Boston 7:30 p.m.
April 12 vs. Brooklyn 7:30 p.m.
April 14 vs. Chicago 1 p.m.

How does the NBA Play-In Tournament work?

The Play-In Tournament was designed to open the playoffs to a larger group of teams. The top six teams in each conference lock in a playoff berth, while the 7-10 seeds battle for the remaining two spots.

In previous years, the 7-8 seeds would automatically have qualified for a playoff berth.

Each round of the tourney is just one game, not a series like the playoffs.

Round 1

  • Game 1: No. 8 seed at No. 7 seed
  • Game 2: No. 10 seed at No. 9 seed

Round 2

  • Game 3: Winner of Game 2 at Loser of Game 1

The tournament is two rounds with the No. 7 seed hosting the No. 8 seed and No. 9 hosting No. 10 to begin. The winner of the former earns the official No. 7 seed, while the loser will face the winner of No. 9/10 in the second round.

The winner of the second round will be rewarded with the No. 8 seed. The format forces the 9-10 seeds to win two games to reach the playoffs, while the 7-8 seeds only need to win one.

The loser of Game 2 and the loser of Game 3 are eliminated.

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