The Knicks lost 45 games during the 2019-20 season – defeat no. 46 came on Thursday night, when the club dropped two places to eighth in the NBA Draft Lottery.
New York hasn’t grown into a draft in its last 17 lottery appearances; the Knicks have withdrawn from their pre-lottery spot in four of the last six lotteries.
New York would have had to trade for LaMelo Ball; of the teams at the top of the draft, Golden State seems the most likely trading partner. GM Bob Myers said he would be willing to move the pick and the Warriors may be looking for a veteran to partner with Steph Curry & Co.
The Knicks don’t have that type of player on their roster, so you’d think they’d need to bring in a third team to make a trade with Golden State.
If the Knicks make the pick at eight, do they go with the best player available? Or are they targeting a point guard, one of their most obvious needs?
Several guards, including Tyrese Haliburton, Cole Anthony, Killian Hayes, RJ Hampton, Kira Lewis Jr., and Tyrese Maxey may be available at eight.
The Knicks explored Anthony extensively during the college season and interviewed Hayes via Zoom call.
If New York decides to take the best available player at eight, regardless of position, there may be players like Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, Florida State’s Devin Vassell and Patrick Williams. It is unlikely that Obi Toppin of Dayton will be on the scoreboard at eight.
Vassell, it’s worth noting, has some fans at Madison Square Garden, the sources say.
It is also possible that the Knicks will pack the No. 8 to trade (they also have pick # 27 and # 38 in the draft) or, more likely, acquire an established star.
There are people in the organization who believe the Knicks are well positioned to trade for a star. And choice no. 8 is another asset to add to a potential deal.
If the Knicks remain at eight, it is worth noting that 13 of this year’s 24 All-Stars have been taken at eight or later. That group includes Kawhi Leonard, Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
But for the Knick fan who has suffered over the past six seasons, it must have been difficult to see Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum announce that the club was back at eight on Thursday night.
The Knicks haven’t moved to the lottery since 1985, when they got first pick and picked up Patrick Ewing. Ewing brought them back to the fore and a memorable run to the NBA Finals. Since Ewing was traded, the Knicks have fallen apart, having only won one playoff series in the past 20 years.
Maybe it will be different with team president Leon Rose and his group. Rose brought in the best people in the front office (William “World Wide Wes” Wesley, Brock Aller, Frank Zanin, Walt Perrin). Getting the first pick would have been ideal, but Rose and her group should be able to extract value from the eighth pick, either via trade or draft.
Perrin drafted two of the aforementioned group of 13 All-Stars who were enrolled eighth or later (Mitchell and Rudy Gobert). Knicks manager Tom Thibodeau helped turn one of those players (Jimmy Butler) into an All-Star. So there are plenty of examples of teams getting top players in eighth or later. Can Knick’s new regime be added to that list? We will find out in mid-October.