After a miserable 17-65 season that was the worst in New York Knicks franchise history, fans are looking for reasons to get that awful taste out of their mouths, and have faith in the 2015-2016 Knicks season. It all starts with the NBA Draft on Thursday. While the Knicks did not get the first or second overall pick like their fans had hoped for, having the fourth selection is not something to cry over. Some recent examples of players selected fourth overall are Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook.
All Knicks fans should drop whatever they’re doing Thursday night, and make sure they tune in to the 2015 NBA Draft. Here are some reasons why.
Phil Jackson was given a five-year deal worth $60 million, to become the Knicks team president last year. While many do not see his first year as a successful one (trading for Samuel Dalembert and Jose Calderon, giving up J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert for virtually nothing), nobody could have reasonably expected Jackson to make the Knicks a championship contender in his first year as team president.
This is Jackson’s first truly important decision as team president of the Knicks. As mentioned earlier in the article, there have been franchise cornerstones that have been drafted with the fourth selection recently. If Jackson makes a mistake, and drafts someone who becomes a complete non-entity during his Knicks career, it may help to set the Knicks franchise even further back than it was this past season.
When a team president is making $12 million a season, the fans do not only want, but they expect, that president to construct a championship contending team. If Phil doesn’t want his Knicks front office tenure to have a tarnished legacy when it is finished, it is of the utmost importance to make this selection a good one.
Precursor to Free Agency
One thing Jackson was able to do was ensure that the Knicks have plenty of salary cap room, so they can take a look at some of the better free agents who will become available on July 1.
When a team goes 17-65, it is obvious that team has many holes in their roster that need to be plugged up. The first hole that will be plugged up for the Knicks will be the player selected 4th overall in the draft.
How many players on the Knicks current roster can be seen as guys that can definitely be players for future successful Knicks teams? Carmelo Anthony, of course is one. Other than that? Langston Galloway/Alexey Shved could be solid backup point guard options. If Tim Hardaway Jr. can further develop his game, he has the chance to be that spark coming off the bench. There’s a chance Cleanthony Early becomes a solid 3rd or 4th player off the bench, but he is coming off an uneventful rookie season. Other than Anthony, none of these guys can definitely be seen as future pieces to the puzzle though.
So Knicks fans will be tuning in on Thursday to see who they select with the fourth overall pick, hoping that player turns out to be a core piece for the Knicks for the foreseeable future. Six days after that, they will begin hoping that they can plug away at even more holes by getting some of the top name free agents to agree to playing their home games at Madison Square Garden.
Element of Surprise
Does anyone have that feeling that Jackson may have something up his sleeve that he has kept under wraps, to throw a wrinkle into this year’s draft?
As there is every year heading up to the draft, there have been plenty of rumors about potential trades that may occur draft day, some of which involve the Knicks. The Knicks have been linked to making draft day deals involving Eric Bledsoe of the Phoenix Suns, and Brandon Jennings of the Detroit Pistons. Recent reports have surfaced that Sacramento Kings head coach, George Karl, has practically begged their front office to trade center Demarcus Cousins.
So there is always that chance that the Knicks do not end up selecting with the fourth overall pick, and instead make a draft day deal involving them acquiring a veteran, and possibly a lower first round selection.
There has also been rumors that the Knicks will trade the pick if Jahlil Okafor out of Duke is not available when they select. They could potentially trade down, and receive multiple first round picks.
There is also a chance that they buy another pick, whether it is a late first round pick, or a second round pick. In 2009, the Knicks purchased the 29th overall selection from the Los Angeles Lakers for $3 million, and selected Toney Douglas. So there is a history to the Knicks buying another selection.
Or they can do something unconventional, and take the 2015 Naismith College Player of the Year, Frank Kaminsky out of Wisconsin, with the 4th overall selection which has also been rumored as a possibility. Kaminsky is not expected to go that high in the draft, but if Jackson truly likes him, it would not surprise too many if he pulls the trigger on taking him.
What can be said is that two days before the draft, there is still a lot of mystery as to what will happen. The only given seems to be that the Minnesota Timberwolves will select Karl-Anthony Towns with the 1st overall selection. Nothing else seems to be a certainty. That is what truly makes this NBA Draft must-watch TV, especially for Knicks fans.