Knicks never had a shot at Zion in NBA lotteryPosted: May 16, 2019
Did the Knicks ever have a chance to get the #1 pick in the NBA draft lottery? The answer, or course, is always the wrong one for the league’s most snake-bitten franchise. The answer is no chance.
At least the Knicks won a pair of championships in the 1970s.Since then it’s been mostly misery. That misery has kept the Knicks out of the playoffs – but in the lottery most years, at least when they don’t foolishly trade #1 picks. .
The Knicks won the first draft lottery in 1985 and took Georgetown center Patrick Ewing, who became an iconic Knick, all-time franchise leader in scoring and rebounds. Yet Ewing never won a title.
Since 1985 the Knicks have participated in 10 NBA lotteries….and have never once moved up from their position in the pecking order. That’s right, 0-for-10.
Despite finishing this season with the worst record in the NBA (17-65), the Knicks were third in the lottery, losing a shot at Duke’s Zion Williamson, who is seen by many as a transcendent player. Think Wes Unseld of the Washington Bullets who won both MVP and Rookie of the Year in his rookie season. Only other player to do that is a guy named Wilt Chamberlain, with the Philadelphia Warriors in 1960. That could be Zion.
The Knicks will most likely wind up with either Ja Morant of Murray State or RJ Barrett of Duke. Both are highly rated, but playing in New York can be difficult.
The Knicks have had some horrible picks in the lottery era, players like Kenny Walker, Michael Sweetney, Channing Frye and Jordan Hill, who was taken one pick after Golden State picked Steph Curry.
Kristaps Porzingis at No. 4 was a solid selection in 2015. But the Knick culture and losing ways drove him the ask out, and KP is now with the Dallas Mavericks.
The jury is still out on the most recent selections. Point guard Frank Ntilikina took a step back this year, playing just 43 games. Kentucky’s one-and-done Kevin Knox, the #9 pick in 2018, showed flashes but shot just 37 percent from the field.
Which leads to the next question: Why is Kevin Durant so interested in coming to the Knicks? That’s a subject for another column.