More to lose than gain for Knicks in lottery
The Knicks need to win the lottery since they can't be trusted to draft and develop well if they have the No. 3 pick
The Knicks and their winning-starved fans looked forward to this Tuesday night going back to last summer. The team tanked for the purpose of getting the No. 1 pick for the rights to draft Zion Williamson, and now fans hope and pray the ping-pongs go the Knicks’ way when the NBA draft lottery takes place that night. It reflects how low the Knicks have gone that the lottery serves as the biggest night for a woebegone franchise in franchise history.
For the Knicks fans, it’s a birthright that their team should win the No. 1 pick because the franchise has been a laughingstock for a long time, even though it’s been self-inflicted by incompetent Knicks owner James Dolan. For the Knicks, they suffered enough where it’s time the basketball gods shine on them.
The Knicks stink so bad that they can’t get no worse than the fifth pick, but they want either the No. 1 pick or No. 2 pick. Preferably, the No. 1 pick. The problem with that thinking is the Knicks only have 14 percent shot of getting it, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns and Chicago Bulls are so bad that they have as good of a shot as the Knicks to win the lottery. If anything, the Knicks have more chances of getting the No. 5 pick than the No. 1 pick since those chances are at 45 percent.
Of all the teams that need to win the lottery, it’s the Knicks. A player like Williamson or Ja Morant is imperative to build around for the next 10 or 15 years. That type of player could convince free agents such as Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant or any free agent to come to the Knicks and be part of something special. A franchise-changing player should change the complexion of the franchise.
Getting the third pick, fourth pick and fifth pick serves no purpose for this franchise. Yes, the Knicks can get lucky with that pick if they draft right and develop the player well as the Denver Nuggets demonstrated with Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray or the Portland Trail Blazers demonstrated with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum for example, but the Knicks brain trust showed they can’t get it right in developing players and overmatched Knicks coach David Fizdale proved he can’t develop players since neither one did in this waste of a losing season.
There’s no trust the process here. If the Knicks fail to get Williamson or Morant, this would be the biggest loss in franchise history. Even worse than the day LeBron James decided to take his talent to South Beach rather than wasting his career by working for Dolan.
The Knicks wasted this season by purposefully losing in the name of fielding a bad team and hiring a coach who would be a sucker to take all the Ls. Management knew what they were doing, and Dolan signed up on it. To get a third pick would be such a buzzkill, and it would be devastating for this franchise.
To not win the lottery or get the No. 2 pick would set this franchise even more back. Why watch the Knicks next season and beyond knowing that Williamson or Morant won’t be playing for them?
Here’s another reason the Knicks have to win the lottery: Their chances of acquiring Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans increase. They can trade Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson and the No. 1 draft pick to get him.
Getting the No. 3 pick or the No. 4 pick doesn’t get Davis here no matter how hard Knicks management try to convince Pelicans general manager David Griffin.
There’s no guarantee Kevin Durant or any marquee free agent will sign with the Knicks, so if the Knicks strike out in getting any of them, at least they can sell their fans either Williamson or Morant.
It makes sense in theory the Knicks did all they can to get a high pick by purposefully being terrible, but guess what? Other NBA teams duplicate the same strategy teams used for a long time by tanking.
Fair or not, the league could be in a tough spot, which if the Knicks win the lottery, fans, team executives and owners around the league will express outrage about the league fixing the lottery to help the NBA’s troubled flagship franchise.
The awful teams get 14 percent chance of winning the lottery. Same as the Knicks.
The Knicks knew they took a risk in tanking with the idea there’s a good chance they may not win the lottery. They decided to live with it whether they win the lottery or not.
The Knicks sold their fans that being awful is the way to go for a better tomorrow.
They will have a hard time saying it was worth it if they get the third pick.
Of all teams participating in the lottery, the Knicks have more to lose than gain.