The New Orleans Pelicans won the NBA’s Draft Lottery, presumably securing former Duke phenom Zion Williamson with the number one pick in a few weeks. The seemingly bigger story surrounding how the ping pong balls bounced is the fact that the New York Knicks ended up with the third pick. Cue all the outrage and sadness and jokes that are the product of both the Knicks’ consistent ineptitude and the fact that a lot of Knicks fans want to stay mired in misery like loyal martyrs to a dying cause.
Before the lottery picks were announced, optimism was at a fever pitch. Hope sprung anew as the Knicks had a real chance at the top overall pick, despite sharing the best odds with the Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavaliers. That hope rose even higher as it appeared the team had overcome bad luck and landed in the top five. But as it was revealed that he Knicks would land third, a lot of that hope was dashed. More than enough people had tied their belief in a higher selection. Allow me, a Knicks fan for nearly three decades, to offer a perspective that may restore some positivity in such an unnecessarily gloomy group of people.
First, the third pick in this draft is still an incredible selection. By most accounts, Duke’s RJ Barrett is the presumed choice for a Knicks team starved for backcourt athleticism and scoring. Sure, it appears Williamson and point guard Ja Morant are a notch above the rest of the class. But again, this selection is not the place where the Knicks are hanging the success of this off-season.
This brings me to the start of free agency. The Knicks have made enough moves after suffering through a number of questionable ones in order to be major players for two superstar-caliber players. Is it a guarantee that the Knicks land the likes of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving? No. But consider the fact that the recent history suggests that the Knicks wouldn’t even be in this position had they followed past ways.
With at least a willingness from leadership to try and try something new, the Knicks and its fans can still be hopeful for the summer. There is no need to dwell in the sorrow of securing the third pick of the draft. It could be worse: the Knicks could not have a first-round pick at all, no cap space in a big free agent year and a below average team playing in an expensive arena with management telling fans they’re competing. It wasn’t that long ago that the team was constructed exactly like that.
I’m not asking Knicks fans to accept anything that’s been better than what the team has provided. But don’t hinge hope on one event when the main event is still a month away. Be grateful that there is hope that can still be had.
Poemer. 8-time Hug Champion. Pick&Roll Enthusiast. Guardian of Logic and Tact. Apocalypse’s good Brother. Collector of muted souls for Mt. Filtermanjaro.