Last night’s NBA Draft Lottery left fans of the 76ers, Lakers and Timberwolves feeling ecstatic. A tumultuous season of tanking had proved to be worthwhile for the aforementioned teams, as they were each awarded a top-three pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Minnesota, who finished an NBA-worst 16-66, landed the 1st overall pick, while Los Angeles and Philadelphia netted the 2nd and 3rd picks respectively. As the Draft Lottery concluded, fans of each team began fantasizing about which prospect their team would pick, hoping for a transcendent talent that can help their team better navigate the competitive waters of the NBA. But for one squad, the waters could possibly remain murky.
The New York Knicks deliberately tanked the year away in hopes of landing a top-two or top-three draft pick. The Knicks gutted their roster, shut down superstar Carmelo Anthony for basically half the season, and gave youngsters such as Langston Galloway and Shane Larkin the reigns as they looked to evaluate who could possibly become an impact player in the near future.
New York had hoped the lopsided losses and embarrassing plays would materialize into possibly Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns, but their nightly drubbings may have proved to be all for naught, as they landed the 4th overall pick in the Draft Lottery.
Steve Mills’ body language reeked of defeat, and he looked completely deflated when it was revealed that the Knicks would pick 4th. Despite the disappointing drawing, Mills, New York’s general manager, tried to remain optimistic in regards to the Draft. When speaking to the media afterwards, Mills stated that this isn’t viewed as a setback and that the team will review all options prior to June 25th’s Draft.
I was disappointed because we obviously wanted to get No. 1,” Mills said. “But it was not a total disappointment because we knew we were going to get a good player wherever we ended up in our range in this draft.
At No. 4, the Knicks could choose between Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell or point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, who played in China last season. That is, if the Knicks keep the pick. Jackson alluded to them moving it if the Knicks dropped, and Mills didn’t rule out that option with the Knicks needing veteran help. “I think we’re going to be open to a lot of things,” Mills said. “We know we can get a good player at this pick. We’re also going to be open to talking to teams and looking at different options.”
Whichever approach the Knicks decide to take, it must be done cautiously. This is a franchise that’s notorious for making boneheaded decisions that have come back to plague them severely. New York can still draft a very good player with the 4th overall pick (Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and Mike Conley were all selected 4th overall,) and with their barren roster that’s ultimately the goal.
If New York wants to see what their 4th pick would yield on the trade market, that’s fair. But they shouldn’t rush to ship the pick off, because trying to hurry the rebuilding process can come back to bite you.