Last year, despite numerous mistakes in management and player development, the Chicago Bulls were handed a Get Out of Jail Free card by the NBA Draft Lottery and awarded the No. 1 pick despite a mere 1.7 percent chance for it. This year, the Knicks had a 2.8 percent chance at any of the top three picks. They were not let out of jail free.
The top spot — and the right to draft Oklahoma’s studly power forward Blake Griffin — ended up going to the Los Angeles Clippers (surely frustrating Griffin, who had wanted to play for his home-state Oklahoma City Thunder; they’ll be picking third). The Knicks will hold with their No. 8 pick, which is not a terrible spot to be; it was just disappointing the Knicks couldn’t catch a break when the franchise could clearly use one.
What are the Knicks going to do? The hot pick is Davidson shooting guard Stephen Curry, the Pete Maravich–esque folk-hero son of former NBA star (and fellow sharpshooter) Dell Curry. The idea makes a certain sense — the Knicks need more shooters, and Curry would immediately become a star and “S. Curry” the hottest-selling jersey. If he’s still there come No. 8, it’ll be difficult for the Knicks to pass him up. But the Timberwolves, at No. 6, will be tempted, and the Wizards might trade out of their No. 5 pick. Also, Curry is only six-foot-three and not a natural point guard. The Knicks need a natural point guard. They just won’t find any at No. 8.
Other possibilities: Memphis’s Tyreke Evans, Southern California’s DeMar DeRozan, and even Syracuse’s Jonny Flynn, though he would be a stretch that high in the draft. Perhaps most intriguing: Brandon Jennings, who might have been a top-three pick out of high school two years ago but has hurt his stock since playing a season in Italy.
It might not matter all that much anyway. As the Daily News points out, of the last five No. 8 picks in the draft, there are no All-Stars, and only one starter.
Anyway, we hope you enjoyed the lottery and will enjoy the draft, which is coming in a month. The Knicks won’t be taking part next year. They have no first-round draft pick, because it belongs to the Utah Jazz. Isiah Thomas traded it away five years ago. For Stephon Marbury.