After the NBA Draft Lottery didn’t go the New York Knicks’ way, some of us New York fans have a message for general manager Scott Perry.
Dear Scott Perry,
Well, this was unexpected. Your plan was indeed solid, the New York Knicks would tank and land the first overall pick in June’s NBA Draft. Zion Williamson would be picked, and Kevin Durant would sign in free agency.
That is, that was the plan until last night.
The lottery gods, once again, threw a curveball at New York. Forget the first overall pick. Fate sent that to the New Orleans Pelicans while giving you and the Knicks the third pick.
Granted, Mr. Perry, that isn’t terrible by any means. Barring your team trading the pick to New Orleans for Anthony Davis, odds are the Knicks will land one of R.J. Barrett or Ja Morant. Those aren’t bad picks at all.
But I’m not like other New York fans. They’re sick of suffering and anything short of the first overall pick will be called a failure. Not one of the Knicks, mind you, but just generally.
Make no mistake, Mr. Perry. Despite landing a strong draft pick, the pressure is now truly on.
What comes next?
Let’s say, for argument’s sake, the Knicks do take RJ Barrett. The pressure isn’t on Scott Perry at that point, but only slightly. For all intents and purposes, Barrett is a good pick. Next comes free agency, which might as well be the all-you-can-eat buffet at the Borgata.
One of the greatest to ever play the game is available in Kevin Durant. Kawhi Leonard might be the best two-way player in the NBA today. Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, and Klay Thompson provide an instant scoring boost to any team.
Well, Mr. GM, forget your draft pick for a second. Great as Barrett may be, he’s Robin compared to whichever Batman New York wants in free agency.
Simply put, the Knicks need to have uncharted levels of success in free agency now. Anything short of one of the big names available will be called a failure. Granted, several reports are already calling Durant to the Knicks a done deal, but that’s not guaranteed until he actually puts pen to paper.
New York is in a position to do great things this offseason and take big steps forward next year. If the free agents don’t come now, with the Knicks owning over $70 million in cap space, they never will.
If that indeed happens, Mr. Perry, it’s all on your head for failing to convince anyone to sign.
Paging Mr. Davis
But hold on Knicks fans. What if the third overall pick is used to land a highly established name?
Let’s jump in the DeLorean and travel back to January when Anthony Davis requested a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans. Things have changed now with New Orleans in a position to draft Zion Williamson and GM David Griffin thinks that’s enough to keep Davis around.
However, per Shams Charania of The Athletic, Griffin could be in for a rude awakening.
The New Orleans Pelicans are now set up to be Zion Williamson’s franchise to lift, and No. 1 pick could ease potential trade of Anthony Davis. His stance on a trade has not changed, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 15, 2019
That said, Mr. Perry, consider this. The Knicks have draft picks galore, specifically two acquired from the Dallas Mavericks in the Kristaps Porzingis trade. What if you pitched team president Steve Mills this idea: trade the No. 3 pick, a future first and second-round picks, Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith Jr., and Frank Ntilikina for Davis?
It doesn’t sound like much of a deal, but isn’t entirely unrealistic. Ian Begley of SNY reported earlier this month the Pelicans were “collecting intel” on Knox. That alone opens the door for a possible Davis trade.
That said, while the idea of trading for Davis seems fun, he would need to commit to a long-term deal first. If trading picks and Knox for just one year of Davis becomes a reality and he then bolts for another team, the move is all for naught.
Needless to say, Mr. General Manager, be it via free agency or trades, you’ve got your work cut out for you.
All in all, Mr. Perry, the New York Knicks should enter the 2019-2020 season in a better position. The prospects are a year older and, assuming the Knicks keep the pick, someone like Barrett would be a fine addition. He isn’t Zion, but still a great selling point for free agents like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
But Tuesday’s results still don’t take away from one universal truth: Knicks fans are sick and tired of being sick and tired. The team has one playoff series win since 2001. Disappointment and losing have been the norm for far too long.
Which means come hell or high water, the Knicks need to make a big splash this summer. Be it trading for Zion Williamson or Anthony Davis, or signing Kevin Durant in free agency, New York needs a win which can’t be had in the regular season.
Good luck, Mr. Perry. You’re going to need a lot of it.
The New York Knicks Faithful