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Steve Mills says Knicks weren’t trying to lose games on purpose this season

Steve Mills, Knicks

New York Knicks president Steve Mills says his team didn’t lose games on purpose this season.

The Knicks finished with a league-worst 17-65 (.207) win-loss record in the 2018-19 NBA season and missed the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year. As a result, New York has a 52.1 percent of getting a Top 4 pick and a 14 percent chance of snagging the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Mills, however, was firm on his position that they didn’t tank intentionally to have a shot at the top pick — who could very well be Duke star Zion Williamson.

“No, we didn’t tank on purpose,” Mills said on ESPN Radio, per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Knicks went 17-65 this season. “We were not trying to lose games on purpose.”

While the Knicks do not want to admit that they tanked, there’s no doubt that they put themselves in the best position possible to rebuild the franchise.

Not only are the Knicks in a position to draft Williamson, but they can also lure big-name free agents into the fold.

After New York traded Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks on January 31, the team opened up two maximum salary slots. There have been non-stop rumors linking the Knicks with restricted free agents Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving since then.

If Mills and Co. manage to sign Williamson, Durant and Irving, the Knicks will improve their roster significantly. They’re still not championship material, but it’s an incredible foundation to build on.

Did the Knicks tank on purpose to get a high draft position? Their president says they didn’t.

New York fans can only hope drafting a stud such as Zion can turn their team’s fortunes around. Not just next season, but for the long haul.