RJ Barrett
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

The New York Knicks didn’t hit the jackpot, but they still have a clear path forward if the rest of the offseason goes well.

Danny Small

Take a deep breath New York Knicks fans. I’m going to say this a few times over the next month, but please hear me out: This isn’t the end of the world.

Zion Williamson is the ultimate prize in this year’s draft, but he’s not the only potential superstar. Ja Morant looks like he can become an absolute stud and once upon a time, R.J. Barrett was projected to go first overall in the draft—yes, ahead of Zion.

Should the Knicks keep this pick, they’ll likely take Morant or Barrett—whoever the Memphis Grizzlies pass on. Although no player is ever a sure thing, the general consensus is that there is a drop off after Williamson, Morant, and Barrett.

Moreover, the Knicks should consider themselves lucky for landing the third overall pick. The other teams that participated in the race to the bottom for Zion weren’t so lucky. The Knicks were the only one to make it past ESPN’s commercial break with hope alive. The Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns, and Chicago Bulls dropped to fifth, sixth, and seventh respectively.

The bottom line is that if the Knicks keep their pick, they’ll add a promising rookie to a roster with tons of cap space and an intriguing young core. However, drafting at three isn’t the only option the Knicks will have.

Anthony Davis Chatter

When the New Orleans Pelicans shockingly cashed in on their 6% chance at the No. 1 overall pick, one question came to mind: What does this mean for Anthony Davis? Of course, Pelicans team president David Griffin will likely make a pitch to keep Davis in New Orleans.

However, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Davis’ stance has not changed. He still wants out. With recent reports that Davis would be open to committing to New York long-term, there’s a clear avenue for the Knicks to pursue a trade.

Moreover, the Knicks still might be able to put together a better package than any of the other potential suitors. Obviously, the third overall pick would headline the deal, but the Knicks have no shortage of young talent or draft capital to throw into the deal.

New York Knicks

The Pelicans have kept an eye on Kevin Knox although their interest in the teenage swingman is still unclear. Dennis Smith Jr. has been up and down in his first two seasons, but he still has immense talent. Mitchell Robinson would likely be a lottery pick in a 2018 redraft so the Knicks should really try and hold onto him, but he is still in the conversation. Additionally, Frank Ntilikina has had a nightmarish first two seasons in New York, but might benefit from a change of scenery.

Not to mention, the Knicks have all of their future first-round picks plus two first-rounders from the Dallas Mavericks set to convey in 2021 and 2023 (top-10 protected).

In other words, the Knicks have the assets to facilitate a trade for the All-NBA big man. The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics will join the fray as well, but the Knicks might still be able to outbid those two. Los Angeles should be able to put together a compelling package after sneaking into the top four at the lottery.

As the offseason progresses, we’ll have a better sense of what direction the Knicks want to go with this pick. Have a drink, Knicks fans. Feel sorry for yourself for a little while, but again, this is not the end of the world.

The Knicks still have a clear path forward. Whether they stick with the pick or go all-in on the Anthony Davis sweepstakes, the Knicks are still poised to build a contender this summer. July 1 was always more important than May 14 for the future of this team.

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