After a thrill ride of a season for the New York Knicks in which they went 41-31, for the first time in a long time the franchise won’t be sitting back and keeping their fingers crossed on NBA Draft Lottery night. Gone are the worries of whether or not the ping pong balls will fall the way of New York (they never do).
Despite this, and the Knicks knowing they will have picks No. 19, No. 21 and No. 32, the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night will still be important for Leon Rose and the rest of New York’s front office for one big reason.
Following the year the Knicks had, they will have plenty of options to comb over this summer. Do they try to add a superstar via a trade? Will they hit the free agency market to add a point guard like Lonzo Ball? Which pieces of their own, a group that consists of Derrick Rose, Nerlens Noel, Reggie Bullock, Alec Burks, Taj Gibson and others, will they try to bring back? All of these are questions that will need to be addressed, yet it’s the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday that could jumpstart the Knicks’ offseason plans.
Based off the current roster situation for New York and the success they had last year, it’s hard to imagine them drafting three players in the top 32 of the NBA Draft with the idea of all three having roster spots in 2021. The Knicks are now in a spot where they are looking to add on with more ready-now players. In other words, the rebuild is ahead of schedule. This is where the NBA Draft Lottery order comes into focus.
The Golden State Warriors will receive the Minnesota Timberwolves’ draft pick if it lands outside the top three. The Orlando Magic will receive the pick the Chicago Bulls hold if it lands outside the top four. Both are likely to happen (given the odds) and if they do, both the Magic and Warriors would have multiple lottery picks. Enter the Knicks circumstances.
The Knicks could entice the Warriors or the Magic by bundling together a couple of their picks and perhaps a player to catapult up into the top 10 to select a more than ready prospect in the NBA Draft. The situation would seemingly be a win-win for New York. They end up getting a top-tier talent in the lottery after a 41-31 season and give away a couple of picks back that they would’ve had a tough time crunching onto the roster in all likelihood anyways.
For the Knicks, the list doesn’t just include the Magic and the Warriors, both of whom could end up with multiple top 10 picks. Other teams around the top 10 or right outside of it could be intrigued based off how things shake out in front of them–to trade back and stack up picks.
It’s a good spot for New York to be in and one where they can maneuver around if that’s the route Leon Rose and the front office want to take.
Let’s not misconstrue this for what it is, any dreams of Cade Cunningham or Jalen Suggs should be immediately deleted from the thought process. Yes, the Knicks need a point guard but those two will both go top 4 at worst and the Knicks picks of No. 19, 21 and 32 wouldn’t be enough all packaged together to move up that high.
But a point guard like Davion Mitchell from Baylor or James Bouknight from Connecticut certainly could appeal to New York.
Both project to be lottery selections and both project to be prospects who can contribute right away. Sliding up to select either of them or a shooting guard like Moses Moody from Arkansas could end up being the play for the Knicks.
Perhaps the Knicks have one plan and end up going a different direction. All of this is always contingent on what happens ahead of New York’s selections based off of the blueprint they initially lay out.
One thing that does appear to be more likely than not, the Knicks won’t stay put at 19, 21 and 32 in this NBA Draft. Had they been coming off another deflating year and the rebuild appeared to be slowly moving along, sure, the idea of having three rookies etch out roster spots wouldn’t seem so far-fetched. But given where this franchise is now after earning the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, expect Leon Rose and the front office to be super aggressive on NBA Draft night.
A lot of those potential moves could be dictated by what happens in the NBA Draft Lottery.