Knicks In Good Position No Matter Where They Land in Lottery

The NBA Draft Lottery is tonight and here’s a word to the wise Knicks’ fan:

Don’t fall in love with any specific player.

I repeat: Do not fall in love with any specific player.

Are there some terrific talents in this draft? Absolutely.

Duke’s Marvin Bagley III should have Stud III on the back of his jersey.

Arizona’s Deandre Ayton used his 7-foot-1 frame to average a double-double.

TUCSON, AZ – DECEMBER 09: Deandre Ayton #13 of the Arizona Wildcats reacts after scoring against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the first half of the college basketball game at McKale Center on December 9, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

But neither of those players will be available when the Knicks make their pick in June unless they move up tonight. The Knicks have a 6.1 percent chance of moving into the Top-3 spots tonight and a 1.7 chance of getting the No. 1 pick.

[Read: Breaking Down Knicks Lottery Scenarios]

So, don’t fall in love, not with Bagley III or Ayton; not with some very high ceiling players that could be available when the Knicks pick.

There simply are too many variables to tie yourself to one player. And considering where the Knicks are, it’s unlikely any one player will dramatically shift the immediate fortunes of the franchise.

What the Knicks must do is remain true to the long vision. President Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry have preached patience. They have spoken of sustained success.

[Hahn: Knicks Seek Inspiration, Patience with Fizdale Hire]

With that in mind, the Knicks need to avoid getting mesmerized by one player or one position. They need, pardon the football speak, to find the best available athletic basketball player.

And that’s what this draft offers.

The Knicks added a young, athletic player last year in Frank Ntilikina. Ntilikina, according to the New York Post, will play Summer League for the Knicks, which is exactly the plan we hoped he would follow.

Ntilikina needs to play as much as he can against high-level competition. Whether it’s point guard, off guard or combo guard, Ntilikina has the upside to mature into an impact player.

There has been some talk about the Knicks needing a true lead guard, a rugged forward to pair with Kristaps Porzingis and an athletic small forward, which would allow Tim Hardaway Jr., to play most of his minutes at shooting guard.

There are players that fit those descriptions that could be available when the Knicks pick.

Alabama point guard Collin Sexton has the confidence of a supermodel and the attacking game that is needed in today’s NBA.

Duke power forward/center Wendell Carter Jr. has manchild written all over him. He’s not as athletic as Bagley, but he’s highly competitive and versatile.

Villanova forward Mikal Bridges helped himself more this season than any non-freshman. His court intelligence and maturity combined with a polished all-around game would complement KP when the Knicks go small.

PITTSBURGH, PA – MARCH 17: Collin Sexton #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide shoots the ball against Mikal Bridges #25 of the Villanova Wildcats in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at PPG PAINTS Arena on March 17, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

It would be easy to fall in love with any of the three. Don’t.

The Phoenix Suns, who have the best odds to land the No. 1 pick, would likely take Ayton. He’s a building block and the Arizona product might sell some tickets. Then what?

Luka Doncic is this season’s Euro Wonder. But no one other than ESPN’s European expert Fran Fraschilla and each team’s international scouting director can truly speak about foreign prospects with true authority.

Ayton, Doncic and Bagley III figure to go 1-2-3. Then it’s truly a lottery.

Some prefer Texas big man Mo Bamba over Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson.

Others like Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. over Michigan State’s Miles Bridges.

Oklahoma point guard Trae Young had a freshman season for the ages but at 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, is he big enough for the NBA?

AUSTIN, TX – FEBRUARY 3: Trae Young #11 of the Oklahoma Sooners drives around Mohamed Bamba #4 of the Texas Longhorns at the Frank Erwin Center on February 3, 2018 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)

And each team has its issues to consider. The Suns, Magic, Kings are in desperate straits. The Grizzlies and Hawks are starting over. The Cavs won’t know which way to go until LeBron James decides whether or not to return.

So, although it’s natural to fall in love with a player, Knicks fans shouldn’t do it. There will be a quality player available at No. 9, possibly even a star.

Now that’s a lovely thought.