To claim that a professional sports franchise has been blessed or doomed by luck is a ridiculous concept.
Chicago Cubs fans believed they couldn’t win a World Series for over 100 years because the employees at Wrigley Field denied entrance to a billy goat.
Supporters of the Phoenix Suns think a coin toss that saw them lose out on Kareem Abdul Jabbar at the 1969 NBA Draft is the reason why they’ve yet to win a title.
And then there’s the New York Knicks, a franchise that just can’t get anything right continuously cursing the bad luck that has hampered the franchise for the better part of the last 20 years.
Don’t look behind the curtain that reveals James Dolan pulling on all the wrong levers, though.
Call it coincidence, call it a curse, call it luck, call it whatever you want, but the Knicks did everything they could to bring as much good mojo as possible to the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night in Chicago.
Possessing the league’s worst record at 17-65, the Knicks brought back Patrick Ewing — the franchise’s last No. 1 pick in 1985 — to represent the team.
But that coincidental luck ensured that there was one more twist waiting for the Knicks. Even with an NBA-worst record, the Knicks didn’t have the best odds to get the No. 1 pick. In fact, they were tied with the Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavaliers for the top spot with a 14-percent chance.
In 2018, the odds for the worst team in the league to get the No. 1 pick was at 25-percent but the rule change was instituted to try and keep teams from completely tanking.
Chalk it up to bad timing, I suppose.
A terrible season, one that tied a franchise record in futility for fewest wins in a year, was all worth it if the Knicks came away with the No. 1 pick, though.
Waiting for them would have been Zion Williamson, a franchise-altering talent that would change the culture of the Knicks before general manager Scott Perry prepares his assault on the free-agent market for stars like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, or Jimmy Butler.
That is if the Knicks actually wanted him.
Shams Charania of the Athletic reported on Tuesday that if the Knicks won the top pick, they would attempt to deal it to the New Orleans Pelicans for superstar center Anthony Davis.
Davis is a top-10 player in the league, which provides the Knicks with a big name to lure in that one other huge free agent for their “win-now” approach.
But there haven’t been many prospects that have shown the freakish athleticism as Zion, who is over seven years younger than Davis.
In typical Knicks fashion though, Tuesday night provided just another chapter in their streak of bad luck. Thousands of fans watched in horror as New York’s card was revealed sooner than hoped for as they’ll be picking third.
Even worse, they saw the Pelicans win the No. 1 pick. The promise of bringing Zion on could add a huge incentive for Davis to stay in New Orleans, which would throw another wrench into management’s offseason plans.
A deep draft class does provide some consolation prizes. Murray State’s Ja Morant could be looked upon as the point guard of the future while Duke’s RJ Barrett is considered to be the most NBA-ready prospect in the class of 2019.
It may not be enough though for the Knicks to pull off a trade for a superstar of Davis’ caliber if Zion isn’t enough to keep him down south, which means the Knicks will be entering another phase of hypotheticals with draft night a little more than a month away.