Knicks looking to break trend in return to NBA Draft lottery

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

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

Dolan would love if some of that Rangers’ luck can spill over Tuesday to the pingpong balls that will roll in Chicago when the Knicks are again participating in the NBA Draft Lottery.

After a much-needed one-year hiatus, the Knicks are back at the consolation table — this time with senior executive William Wesley sitting on the dais to represent the woebegone franchise.

For a team with the lowest combined winning percentage over the past 21 seasons, the Knicks have been seated at their share of lotteries.

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

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

The strong likelihood is remaining at 11. But on the bright side, the Knicks might be due after failing to move up in the lottery since winning the epic first “frozen envelope” event in 1985.

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

With the 11th seed, the Knicks have a 2 percent chance of winning the top overall pick with sources indicating Auburn power forwards Jabari Smith as the player they liked most during the college season.

The Knicks own a 9.4 percent chance of gaining a top-four pick and snazzy combo guard Jaden Ivey of Purdue would be high on their list if they pick anywhere from second to fourth. Most likely the Knicks won’t move up at all. They have a 77.6 percent of staying at 11 and a 12.6 percent chance of falling to 12.

Wesley, a key executive who is considered to have the most influence on president Leon Rose, traveled to almost every road game this season. He can often get animated on the sidelines when things go badly. It will be interesting to see his reaction if the Knicks slip to No. 12.

The intriguing prospects available in the 11 range include versatile small forward Jeremy Sochan of Baylor, two-way shooting guard Johnny Davis of Wisconsin and wing Bennedict Mathurin of Arizona.

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

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

Another fascinating prospect is Memphis one-and-done center Jalen Duren, but sources believe he’ll be too much of a project for Thibodeau to sign off on.

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

The Knicks will have a big contingent in Chicago, but Rose likely won’t talk to the media. He hasn’t spoken to the press since September. The former agent gave a season-ending interview to the Garden-run MSG Network and he wasn’t asked about the upcoming draft.

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Matt Lucas

Writer by day and an aspiring Artist by night. Creative thinking is what I'm all about. Lottos are one of my passions and I'm happy to be contributing to Lottery Papa News

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