Conspiracy theorists thinking that the NBA wanted one of its marquee, large market franchises to nab a top pick in the 2015 NBA Draft weren’t exactly silenced Tuesday night at the draft lottery. The Los Angeles Lakers moved up from the 4 spot to the 2 spot thanks to a lucky ping-pong ball bounce and the Knicks were on the receiving end of a cruel lotto blow as they fell from 2 to 4.
New York owned a 19.9 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick in the lottery. a 38 percent chance to land a top two pick and a 55 percent chance to land a top three pick. The odds weren’t great, but it’s an extreme disappointment for the Knicks – a franchise that rarely found itself with a chance to land the No. 1 pick in the lottery, even after brutal seasons, thanks to years of going for the “quick fix.” This season, New York finished with a 17-65 record, blatantly shooting for the No. 1 or at least No. 2 selection. Duke’s Jahlil Okafor and Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns have emerged, in recent weeks, as the decided 1-2 picks in this year’s draft.
In Metro’s latest NBA Mock Draft, Emmanuel Mudiay – the point guard from China – went No. 3 overall and Duke swingman Justise Winslow went No. 4.
The Knicks may opt to package the pick in a trade and follow the model the Boston Celtics created back in 2007 when it didn’t get any lottery luck. Boston fell to the 5-spot that year, and flipped the pick in a deal that landed Ray Allen. The Celtics already had a Carmelo Anthony-like star in Paul Pierce and eventually convinced Kevin Garnett to waive his no-trade clause to come to Boston. The Celtics won the NBA title the very next year.
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Knicks president Phil Jackson said he would be open to anything, but cautioned that a turnaround won’t happen overnight.
“We don’t expect to go to the championship next year. I mean, that would be talking crazy,” Jackson said at the end of the Knicks’ season. “But we really do think progressively we’re going to get better. I don’t think teams move as rapidly as that in this league. I think you have to take substantial steps and that’s what we want to do.”