The Knicks lost 45 games during the 2019-20 season -- loss No. 46 came on Thursday night, when the club fell back two spots to eighth in the NBA Draft Lottery.
New York hasn’t moved up in a draft in its last 17 Lottery appearances; the Knicks have fallen back from their pre-Lottery spot in four of the last six lotteries.
So where do they go from here?
New York would have to trade up to get LaMelo Ball; of the teams at the top of the draft, Golden State seems like the most likely trade partner. GM Bob Myers has said that he’d be open to moving the pick and the Warriors may be looking for a veteran to put alongside Steph Curry & Co.
The Knicks don’t have that kind of player on their roster, so you’d think that they’d need to get a third team involved to do a trade with Golden State.
If the Knicks make the pick at eight, do they go with the best player available? Or do they target a point guard, one of their most glaring needs?
Several guards, including Tyrese Haliburton, Cole Anthony, Killian Hayes, RJ Hampton, Kira Lewis Jr. and Tyrese Maxey could be available at eight.
The Knicks scouted Anthony extensively during the college season and have interviewed Hayes via Zoom call.
If New York decides to take the best player available at eight, regardless of position, players like Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, Florida State’s Devin Vassell and Patrick Williams could be there. Dayton’s Obi Toppin is unlikely to be on the board at eight.
Vassell, it’s worth noting, has some fans at Madison Square Garden, sources say.
It’s also possible that the Knicks package the No. 8 pick to trade down (they also have the No. 27 and No. 38 pick in the draft) or, more likely, to acquire an established star.
There are people in the organization who feel the Knicks are well-positioned to trade for a star. And the No. 8 pick is another asset to add to a potential deal.
If the Knicks stay at eight, it’s worth noting that 13 of the 24 All-Stars this year were 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 through the last six seasons, it must have been tough to watch deputy commissioner Mark Tatum announce that the club had fallen back to eight on Thursday night.
The Knicks haven’t moved up in the Lottery since 1985, when they got the No. 1 pick and took Patrick Ewing. Ewing led them back to prominence and a memorable run to the NBA Finals. Since Ewing was traded away, the Knicks have fallen apart – having won just one playoff series in the last 20 years.
Maybe it will be different with team president Leon Rose and his group. Rose has brought in top front office people (William ‘World Wide Wes’ Wesley, Brock Aller, Frank Zanin, Walt Perrin). Getting the first pick would have been ideal, but Rose and his group should be able to extract value out of the eighth pick, whether it’s via trade or through the draft.
Perrin drafted two of the group of 13 All-Stars mentioned above who were drafted eighth or later (Mitchell and Rudy Gobert). Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau helped develop one of those players (Jimmy Butler) into an All-Star. So there are plenty of examples of teams getting top players at eighth or later. Can the new Knick regime add to that list? We’ll find out in mid-October.
2020-21 PUSH BACK?
Adam Silver said in an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that the proposed start date for next season (Dec. 1) may be pushed back.
“December 1st, now that we’re working through the season (in the Orlando bubble), is feeling a little bit early to me,” Silver said. “Our number one goal is to get fans back in our arenas. My sense is, in working with the players association, if we can push back a little longer and increase the likelihood that (fans are in the arena for games, the league and players association would consider it).”