No Williamson or Morant puts Knicks in bind
The Knicks struck out in the lottery by not getting the opportunity to draft Zion Williamson or Ja Morant. They settled for getting the No. 3 pick
Knicks fans suffered watching their team take 65 losses in what was a forgettable 2018-2019 season. But those losses paled in comparison to what happened Tuesday night.
After setting this failure of a season by design to get a top pick in the NBA draft, the Knicks took the biggest loss of the season by receiving the No. 3 pick from the league.
There’s no sugarcoating this. The Knicks ended up the biggest loser of all the lottery teams in the draft. They needed to get the first two picks to make all this worthwhile. Instead, they struck out on both.
Here’s what’s painful: The Knicks joined the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies as the finalists for the top four picks, which had Knicks fans antsy about what’s to come when ESPN aired a commercial to raise the suspense level. When NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum opened the envelope and announced the Knicks have the No. 3 pick, Knicks fans expressed disappointment, and Knicks great Patrick Ewing, representing the Knicks in the dais for the lottery, looked stunned.
Talk about playing with emotions and setting one up for disappointment.
Knicks fans felt like Ralph Kramden who thought stars were aligned for him to come out on top just to come up short. No word how James Dolan felt since he had nothing to say, even though there was nothing to be said. Instead of speaking to the media, Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry offered a generic press release statement about being excited about the No. 3 pick and building around the pick.
Getting the No. 3 pick should be a disappointment after the Knicks wasted this season in the name of tanking. It’s hard to sympathize the Knicks since they knew full well that it was not a guarantee that they would win the lottery with 14 percent odds.
If they have to rely on winning the lottery rather than finding an eye for talent, then it does not speak well of Perry and Mills that they can’t scout well for hidden talent, and it does not speak well of David Fizdale’s ability to develop players.
Knicks fans clearly didn’t trust management hence why they expressed disappointment about the No. 3 pick. They hoped Zion Williamson or Ja Morant would make it easy for Perry and Mills rather than have the brain trust work hard in finding the right guy at No. 3.
For anyone that say drafting RJ Barrett should be a lock, I wouldn’t be so sure if that’s the right pick. The Duke star can’t shoot, and his defense can be a liability. Granted, he can get better through experience and teaching. The problem is the Knicks coaching staff proved they can’t develop talent and teach players to play defense after this past season.
The Knicks likely will draft him since he is the best they can do. They would be better off drafting a proven winner in De’Andre Hunter or Jarrett Culver. Those two showed more polish this season than Barrett did at Duke. Quite frankly, Barrett could use more seasoning in college.
Since Perry and Mills showed they can’t find talent, they will go for the safe choice and draft Barrett. It could be they may use the pick as an asset to acquire Anthony Davis or Bradley Beal.
Maybe it was a blessing in disguise the Knicks got the No. 3 pick. Reports circulated the Knicks would have use the No. 1 or No. 2 pick as a asset to get Davis, and that would have been a foolish thing to do since the Pelicans star has a history of getting hurt.
The only way the Knicks can salvage this horrible night is somehow convince the Pelicans to take their draft pick, Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson for Davis. Other than that, it’s hard to polish a turd on this night.
Only thing Knicks fans can now hope for is Kevin Durant coming here as a free agent. The Knicks are banking on free agents to sign with them, even though it’s not a guarantee. Just look at the summer of 2010 when the Knicks couldn’t get a transcendent player like a LeBron James or Chris Bosh or Dwyane Wade to sign with them.
Sure everyone speculates Durant is signed, sealed and delivered for the Knicks, but these are the same folks that said the same thing about James in 2010. So it’s hard to take this rumor seriously until it actually happens. Plus, Durant changes his mind often, so who really knows what he’s thinking?
The Knicks can hope Williamson can pull a Steve Francis and orchestrate a trade to them. They can even hope the Grizzlies find someone better than Morant to pick at second. But neither of that is happening. Williamson will suck it up at New Orleans, and the Grizzlies will take the safe route and go with the sure thing in Morant.
The Knicks are stuck with Barrett, and vice versa.
While the Knicks were the bigger loser in the draft lottery, Barrett also loses out in this.
He likely will be playing for a dysfunctional organization and a terrible owner. He can only hope he gets traded by the Knicks.
It won’t be easy for Barrett since Knicks fans will demand him to be a star right away. My heart goes out to him since he will be drafted by them and be in a position to fail. For the kid’s sake, they should trade the draft pick.
The Knicks can’t justify this as a good night. Not when they sold fans about winning the lottery.
It’s why the Knicks’ biggest L of the season took place in the closed-off hotel ballroom, not on the court.