The New York Knicks didn’t get all the luck they were hoping for, but they sure got a lot of it, anyway.
They’re in a pretty good spot heading into the 2019 NBA Draft.
The Knicks drew the third overall pick Tuesday night at the NBA draft lottery, their highest pick since drafting Patrick Ewing No. 1 overall back in 1985.
They missed out on the chance to draft former Duke star Zion Williamson, who’s widely considered the likely top overall pick. The Knicks were the worst team in the NBA this past season (17-65) and had a 14% chance – equal to that of the Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavaliers – of getting the first overall pick under the new lottery system.
The New Orleans Pelicans won the lottery to snag the first overall pick.
New York can still can do just fine at No. 3, though.
The potential prospects
The Knicks will still have the opportunity to draft one of the three best prospects available.
Williamson is almost certainly going to be off the board, but now the Knicks will have the chance to draft either Ja Morant or RJ Barrett.
Those two players are considered top-three picks, there’s just some question as to which order they’ll go.
Morant probably will go second to the Memphis Grizzlies, leaving Barrett for the Knicks — although that’s far from a guarantee.
Regardless, both are talented players.
Some consider Morant the best player available. He’s an explosive, athletic point guard who averaged 24.5 points and 10.0 assists in his sophomore season at Murray State.
He could give the Knicks the sort of point guard they haven’t had in a while.
“Obviously it’s New York,” Morant said. “It’s somewhere I’ve never been before. But it’s a big spot. And I guess it’d be a great experience.”
Barrett is a 6-foot-7 wing who averaged 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists in his one-and-done season at Duke. There are questions about his game, but he still projects to be a talented, impact player in the NBA.
Trade the pick?
Potentially, the Knicks could use the pick in a trade, particularly for New Orleans star Anthony Davis.
Although a wrench might’ve been thrown into that plan with the Pelicans winning the No. 1 overall pick.
Still, another top-three pick could appeal to the Pelicans, who likely will get several suitors for Davis, particularly the Celtics and Lakers. The Knicks also have future first-round picks to use in a trade, which could sweeten the deal.
They may also need to include other players, like Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson or Dennis Smith Jr.
Either way, the third pick gives them some flexibility.
Free agency factor
The draft is only one part of the Knicks’ offseason plans. Free agency is looming. The Knicks are targeting players like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker.
Williamson would’ve been a draw, but Morant or Barrett could be, also.
Regardless, the Knicks will have the chance to draft a young, talented prospect to add to their core.
At this point, it’s all about talent for the Knicks.
They need more of it.
Luck wasn’t totally on their side, but they can still got a good amount of it Tuesday night.