Today Knicks will find out where they choose in the 2020 NBA Draft. So, let the fun begin.
Commercial chatter usually resumes after the NBA lottery. Teams have a better idea of who is trying to trade once they know who is choosing where. Some teams will want to go up, others down, and some will want to move their pick to a package for an established player.
But this year, of course, is not like past seasons. The coronavirus pandemic has upset everything. Teams are currently unaware of the specifics of the salary cap and will not be able to host potential clients for training in their facilities.
However, that won’t stop teams from talking about potential trades once the lottery is established.
“Things should pick up (after the lottery), as they usually do,” a front office member said. “I’m sure there will still be a lot of commercial discussions.”
You can expect the Knicks, under first-year president Leon Rose, to be involved in those conversations.
Members of the organization have long believed that New York is well positioned to trade with a disgruntled young star if one becomes available.
No matter where they end up in the draft, the Knicks will add to their cash of tradable assets on Thursday night.
Here are some things to know about lottery night and the coming weeks:
The Knicks have a 9% chance of getting first pick, a 28% chance of getting one of the top three picks, and a 37% chance of finishing in the top four. They finished with the sixth worst record in the NBA, so they can slide back to the ninth.
Rose will represent the Knicks in the Lottery. The club last moved to the lottery in 1985, so it’s 16 consecutive lottery trips without moving past their pre-lottery seat. Maybe New York is due? (For a look at the odds for all lottery teams, check out tankathon.com)
How does it work
There are 14 ping-pong balls in one machine. A representative will throw four balls from the machine. That four-number combination will match a team’s four-number combination, giving that team the first overall pick. The process will be repeated three times to determine the top four choices. The rest of the teams (picks 5-14) will select in reverse order of their records (for more information on the process, click here).
No matter where the Knicks end up, they will have to face the following question: should we draft a specific position or should we take the best player available?
Before Rose took over, some members of the organization wanted to prioritize a guard and a big man who can constantly shoot from the perimeter in the off-season. So this gives you an idea of the type of player some in the organization want to target in the draft.
If the club goes with a point guard, we know New York had LaMelo Ball as their top-rated point guard on their board several weeks ago. We also know that the Knicks are among several teams to have Zoom interviews with top guard Killian Hayes. The Knicks also explored Cole Anthony extensively.
If the Knicks don’t target a point guard and instead go with the best player available, forwards like Obi Topin, Deni Avdija, and Isaac Okoro could be available when the Knicks choose. No matter where they end up, you can rest assured that the Knicks will field / make calls on potential trades after Thursday’s Lottery. Golden State GM Bob Myers has already said his club will be open to moving his pick, which tells you that all clubs at least listen to potential offers for their draft picks.
One of the many wrinkles of this pre-drafting process? Player scouting. Teams will not be able to engage prospective customers for training due to the coronavirus pandemic. There won’t be an in-person NBA Combine (although ESPN has reported that there may be regional sites where teams can obtain medical records on prospective clients and potentially fix them).
Hence, the tools for evaluating players are limited. That said, in-person workouts obviously aren’t a foolproof way to evaluate a prospect.
Case in point: According to SNY sources, the Knicks were one of the few teams to have training with OKC’s Shai Gilgeous Alexander prior to the 2018 NBA Draft. The club decided not to select the guard, choosing Kevin Knox instead.
This year, clubs will rely on pre-pandemic scouting, insights gained from talking to people who know the prospects, and from Zoom interviews. Hence, Rose will be relying on the scouting that was done by GM Scott Perry and his team before the NCAA games were canceled.