New York Knicks Are Due for Good Luck in the NBA Draft Lottery
Feb 10, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks general manager Phil Jackson (right) watches during the first quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks haven’t had a lot of success in the NBA Draft lottery. They are due for some good luck.

The first NBA draft lottery in 1985 was kind to the New York Knicks. The conspiracies surrounding how the Knicks ended up with No. 1 overall pick Patrick Ewing will never go away, but the Basketball Gods have more than paid them back since.

The Knicks have selected in the lottery seven times since hitting the jackpot with Ewing. Not once have they moved up from their pre-lottery position. In 1986, they had the best odds at the top pick but fell four spots all the way to No. 5.

They ended up with Kenny “Sky” Walker who was best known for his success in the Slam Dunk Contest. Brad Daugherty was the No. 1 pick and went on to be a five-time All-Star despite having his career cut short due to injury.

The franchise wasn’t eligible for the lottery again until 2002 when they had the best odds at the seventh pick. The Knicks ended up with that No. 7 overall pick and drafted Nene before trading him away in the infamous deal for Antonio McDyess.

New York stood pat at their pre-lottery position the next four times out in 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2007. It wasn’t until 2008 that the needle moved again. Unfortunately, it was in the wrong direction.

The Knicks were projected to have the fifth pick but slipped one spot to six instead. They chose Danilo Gallinari. It wasn’t the end of the world. Gallinari was the key piece in the trade for Carmelo Anthony. However, the fifth pick in the 2008 draft was Kevin Love. That stings.

The 2009 draft is painful. It’s just painful. If there’s ever a reason for the Basketball Gods to look heavenly down on the Knicks, it’s because of the 2009 draft. For those of you who don’t remember, New York chose Jordan Hill with the eighth pick one spot ahead of Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan.

Despite a lack of success, Knicks fans waited another seven years to see their team in the draft lottery. This time, moving down in the draft order worked in the franchise’s favor.

The Knicks had a nearly 20 percent chance to get the first pick but fell two spots to fourth. If they hadn’t, Kristaps Porzingis wouldn’t have fallen right into their lap.

On Tuesday, the Knicks will get another shot to defy the Basketball Gods when the draft lottery commences at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN. New York has the best odds of getting the seventh pick (57.2 percent) with the second most likely outcome being they get the eighth pick (22.6 percent).

To the most optimistic of Knicks fans: your team has a 5.3 percent chance at the top pick and a 6.0 percent chance at the second pick with a 7.3 percent chance at the third pick.

The lowest the Knicks can fall is to pick No. 10 (there’s a lower than one percent chance of that happening), but it’s the Knicks so who knows right? Esteemed team president Phil Jackson is sending a lucky charm to the lottery as a team representative to try and make sure that doesn’t happen. We all know he’s not going to show up there himself.

That lucky charm is Knicks legend, Walt Frazier. Clyde was a seven-time All-Star and won two NBA championships in New York. He’s arguably the greatest Knick of all-time. If anyone can bring the team good luck, it’s him.

Frazier and Jackson entered the league together with the Knicks in 1967-68 and played together for ten seasons. Frazier repeatedly comes to the defense of his former teammate while calling games on MSG. Now he’s doing Phil a solid by getting dressed up in one of his signature suits and taking the Clyde show to the draft lottery.

The Knicks lost a tiebreaker with the Minnesota Timberwolves in April that placed Minnesota sixth in the draft order and New York seventh. Not a good sign. This franchise is due for some good luck in the draft lottery. The Basketball Gods have been punishing them for 30 years after they “won” the Patrick Ewing sweepstakes.

There’s an 80 percent chance the Knicks wind up with either the seventh or eighth pick. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hold out hope that things will finally go New York’s way.

   

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