Despite wielding the second-worst record in basketball, the New York Knicks were “rewarded” with the fourth overall pick at the NBA’s 2015 Draft Lottery Selection. Many fans are stunned at this ordeal and question the authenticity of the lottery as a whole. Knicks fans may have been expecting more of a reward after tanking the 2014-15 season, but the whole point of the lottery is to make teams think twice about tanking a season.
Sure, Knicks fans are desperate for any sort of optimism. Especially as they watch numerous former Knicks like Pablo Prigioni, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov perform well in the postseason. But the Knicks failed miserably from top-to-bottom this season and should be pleased with the fourth overall pick, even if it’s not quite as good a pick as they hoped.
Rumors are already swirling surrounding a possible trade:
At No. 4, expect that the Knicks draft pick will be very available in trade talks.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) May 20, 2015
Knicks GM Steve Mills said the Knicks will be “open” to trading the fourth pick, according to Al Iannazzone of Newsday. For a franchise with an infamous number of “over-trades,” true Knicks fans should be terrified by this notion.
Unless it’s a fair deal (it likely won’t be), the Knicks shouldn’t trade that pick. They’ll be able to get a good player with a chance to make an immediate impact. Many believe the Knicks will have their eye on Emmanuel Mudiay, a point guard who played last year in China for the Guangdong Southern Tigers.
While taking a point guard seems plausible for the Knicks, they’re still looking for their Pau Gasol doppelganger to run the triangle. Could the Knicks consider taking Frank Kaminsky out of Wisconsin? A four-year college star at Wisconsin who’s 7′ tall and can shoot? He definitely fits the triangular vision that Knicks president Phil Jackson stubbornly envisions, and quite fittingly after this season, his nickname is “Tank.”
Overzealous puns aside (and Kaminsky at No. 4 would be a huge reach anyway), Knicks fans need to acknowledge that their team is failing them. The Knicks weren’t expecting this disaster of a season (exhibit A: Carmelo Anthony‘s enormous contract prior to the season), and they wildly miscoached their players (exhibit B: J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert‘s playoff success). Roster qualms and untimely injuries aside, Knicks management undoubtedly failed on all cylinders this season, and they should be glad to have this pick.
The fortune of having Madison Square Garden as a home arena has subsequently brought the Knicks misfortune. No matter how pitiful the season, ticket prices haven’t dropped, and the magical lure of the “Mecca of Basketball” brings in fans no matter what’s displayed on the court. Instead of benefiting as a force in the NBA, the Knicks constantly misjudge their talents and make hideous financial decisions that keep them in a vicious cycle of losing. The Knicks have had one season that resulted in a playoff series victory in the past 15 years.
Knicks fans need to understand one thing: there will be no Boston Celtics-esque trade that puts this team on the map overnight. The Knicks need to rebuild slowly and surely in order to create a team that represents chemistry and unity. Stephen Curry was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 2009, and they only just recently established themselves as a team with championship capabilities. Rebuilding takes time, no matter how vast or minimal the market of the franchise.
The 2014-15 “tank” was hideous but it’s over. It’s officially time to attempt to turn around the circus-like atmosphere that has the Knicks as the laughingstock of the NBA. Draft young players. Make players earn their minutes. Preach team defense and team unity. And maybe, just maybe, the Knicks can be something to watch in the near future.