Knicks look to break unlucky trend by returning to NBA Draft lottery


MSG CEO James Dolan has had an exhilarating past few days watching his other Garden side, Rangers, stage rally after rally to come back from a 3-1 deficit and advance to the second round of the playoffs of the Stanley Cup.

A handful of Knicks were in Game 7, including coach Tom Thibodeau and Immanuel Quickley, and possibly a future in Donovan Mitchell.

Dolan would like some of the Rangers’ luck to spill over to the ping pong balls rolling in Chicago on Tuesday when the Knicks enter the NBA Draft Lottery again.

After a well-deserved year-long hiatus, the Knicks are back at the consolation table – this time with senior executive William Wesley sitting on the dais to represent the ill-fated franchise.

For a team with the lowest combined winning percentage in the past 21 seasons, the Knicks have been sitting through their share of lotteries.

With the Knicks running late (12-11 after the All-Star break), they worsened their chances for the top pick when they went 37-45 to earn the 11th seed.

William Wesley, left, and Leon Rose
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

The high odds remain at 11. But on the bright side, the Knicks might be due after failing to ride the lottery since winning the first epic “frozen envelope” event in 1985.

Will “The Curse of Patrick Ewing” finally be broken? Even Ewing, sitting on the dais in 2019, couldn’t pull the Knicks out of their lottery schneid when they went from No. 2 to No. 3.

With the 11th seed, the Knicks have a 2% chance of earning the No. 1 overall pick, with sources saying Auburn power forward Jabari Smith is the player they’ve loved the most this college season.

The Knicks have a 9.4% chance of earning a top-four pick, and Purdue’s sleek combo guard Jaden Ivey would be high on their list if they pick anywhere from second to fourth. Most likely, the Knicks won’t progress at all. They have a 77.6% chance of staying at age 11 and a 12.6% chance of dropping at age 12.

Wesley, a key executive who is considered to have the most influence over Chairman Leon Rose, has been to nearly every game on the road this season. He can often come alive on the sidelines when things go wrong. It will be interesting to see his reaction if the Knicks slip to No. 12.

Intriguing prospects available in the 11 lineup include Baylor’s versatile small forward Jeremy Sochan, two-way shooter Johnny Davis of Wisconsin and winger Bennedict Mathurin of Arizona.

When Rose and Wesley are involved and with their ties to John Calipari, all eyes are on the Kentucky players, so point guard TyTy Washington and shooting guard Shaedon Sharpe can’t be ignored. Sharpe did not play a game for Kentucky as he joined during the school year and went to the draft.

The Knicks need a real point guard and the draft is light in that department. The best point guard available didn’t play in college – G-League Ignite’s Dyson Daniels.

Another fascinating prospect is Memphis’ unique center Jalen Duren, but sources believe it will be too much of a project for Thibodeau to approve.

After the lottery, the draft will be held in Chicago where some players are hosting games, but the top lottery guys normally just do measurements and club interviews. Thibodeau was impressed with shooting guard Quentin Grimes in last year’s combine and the Knicks took him to 25 after trading.

The Knicks will have a big contingent in Chicago, but Rose probably won’t speak to the media. He has not spoken to the press since September. The former agent gave an end-of-season interview to the Garden-run MSG network and he was not asked about the upcoming project.


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