Shopping a Lottery Pick: Right or Wrong?

If recent rumors are correct, then reportedly the New York Knicks are exploring their options when it comes to trading their first round pick.

The Knicks are guaranteed a top eight pick no matter what happens this season, but as they continue to consistently lose, they should have at the worst a top three pick, if not the top selection.

While they can’t trade the pick itself due to not being able to trade back to back picks, unsurprisingly from the Isaiah Thomas rule named after their former incompetent General Manager, they can have a team “select through them”, so to speak.

That happens fairly often, most recently last season when the Chicago Bulls picked Doug McDermott through the Denver Nuggets pick. Denver drafted him then instantly sent him to the Bulls in a trade.

The Knicks are reportedly very intrigued by that method, and could very well try and pull off something like that. Would that be the right choice by Phil Jackson and the Knicks brass? Let’s look at both sides.


Carmelo Anthony is aging:

Carmelo Anthony is going to be 31 years old on opening day 2015, and he is coming off an important knee surgery. He will be entering the second year of a five year max deal, and the Knicks need to surround him with top tier players as soon as possible, before it is too late and he is past his prime.

If they keep their top pick, then he will probably take two-three years to develop into a formidable player in the NBA. The transition from college basketball to the NBA is a huge leap, and not one players can adjust to on the fly. By the time they are developed, Anthony may not be a star in this league anymore, turning the Knicks right back to square 1.

The Knicks have no guarantee the drafted player will turn into a star:

Each NBA draft produces it’s fair share of busts, and this draft will be no difference. Guys like Kwame Brown, Greg Oden, Andrea Bargnani, and Anthony Bennett come to mind. All of them were number number picks, and panned out terribly. Now if they were to trade the pick, they would be receiving a bonafide starter, in which they know what they’re getting.

It could entice free agents to come to New York:

The Knicks currently are the absolute worst team in the entire NBA. It doesn’t matter that they play in New York City, it doesn’t matter they have Carmelo Anthony. No top flight free agents will want to come to New York with the current dysfunction of the

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

franchise. Even with a top draft pick, who knows how they’ll turn out, it won’t entice players to come play in New York. What will though, is adding another player/players who are talented and can contribute immediately.

 Phil Jackson has four years left, he needs a speedy rebuild:

Phil Jackson has one of the best legacies in NBA history. His 11 rings make him immortal, and now he has a chance to do even more. Jackson definitely wouldn’t want to ruin his reputation by botching a General Manager job. He has four years left on his five year deal, and it’s expected he will retire and move back to Los Angeles after his contract. Jackson has to make moves for the now to ensure he can bring a championship team back to New York within these four seasons.


The player could turn out to be a star:

We all know the Knicks misfortune with draft picks. They rarely have them, and seems like that comes back to haunt them fairly often. Just look at the Eddy Curry trade they made. The Knicks unloaded two future picks for Eddy Curry, who was a dud with New York. Those two picks ended up being Joakim Noah and LaMarcus Aldridge. Even if the Knicks get a star in return, the draft pick will be younger and have more time left in the league. The Knicks can’t let that happen once again.

The trade could completely backfire:

Their have been a lot of draft day trades where the team receiving the player drafted came out huge winners. In recent memory, quite a few stand out. The Houston Rockets traded Rudy Gay for Shane Battier, the Phoenix Suns traded Rajon Rondo to the Boston Celtics for a future pick and cash, the Milwaukee Bucks trading Dirk Nowitzki to the Dallas Mavericks for Robert Traylor, and the New Orleans Hornets (Pelicans) trading superstar Kobe Bryant to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac. The Knicks could get back an underachieving player, and see their draft pick go on to succeed elsewhere.

It will take away cap space:

The Knicks will have well upwards of $20 million in cap space to splurge with this upcoming offseason, and their first round draft pick will take away a minimal amount of that money to spend. By trading away the pick for other assets, that will eat away at the Knicks superfluous amount of cap room.

The Knicks have been burned so many times by trading away picks and young assets:

A huge reason why New York has not been very successful since the departure of Patrick Ewing is their constant ignorance when it came to keeping picks and letting young players develop. They trade draft picks like nothing, and have been burnt by it very badly. You would have thought they’d learn their lesson by now.


The New York Knicks front office will have a huge decision to make regarding their pick, especially if it is the top selection. It could sway the future of the Knicks greatly. Phil Jackson will definitely have to take his time with this one.


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