MSG CEO James Dolan has been enjoying some exciting days over the past few days as he watches his fellow Garden team, the Rangers, rally after rally to come back from a 3-1 deficit and into the second round advance to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
A handful of Knicks were in Game 7, including coaches Tom Thibodeau and Immanuel Quickley, and perhaps a future one in Donovan Mitchell.
Dolan would love if some of the Rangers’ luck could spread to the ping-pong balls that will be rolling in Chicago on Tuesday when the Knicks enter the NBA Draft Lottery again.
After a much-needed year-long hiatus, the Knicks are back at the consolation table — this time, senior executive William Wesley sits on the podium to represent the ailing franchise.
For a team with the lowest combined winning percentage over the past 21 seasons, the Knicks have taken their share of lotteries.
With the Knicks’ late run (12-11 after the All-Star break), they worsened their chances of making the top pick as they finished 11th at 37-45.
The strong probability remains at 11. But on the plus side, the Knicks could be due, having not moved up the lottery since winning the epic first Frozen Envelope event in 1985.
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With the 11th seed, the Knicks have a 2 percent chance of winning the top overall pick, with sources saying Auburn power forwards Jabari Smith was the player they liked most during the college season.
The Knicks have a 9.4 percent chance of winning a top 4 pick, and Purdue’s chic combo keeper Jaden Ivey would be at the top of their list if they picked anywhere between second and fourth. Most likely, the Knicks will not rise at all. You have a 77.6 percent chance of staying at 11 and a 12.6 percent chance of dropping to 12.
Wesley, a key executive who has the greatest influence on President Leon Rose, has traveled to nearly every away game this season. He can often be animated on the sidelines when things are going badly. It will be interesting to see his reaction as the Knicks slip to 12th place.
Intriguing candidates in the 11-line include versatile Baylor small forward Jeremy Sochan, Wisconsin two-way shooting guard Johnny Davis and Arizona winger Bennedict Mathurin.
With Rose and Wesley 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 didn’t play a game for Kentucky when he joined mid-school year and settled on the draft.
The Knicks need a real point guard and the draft is easy in that department. The best available point guard didn’t play in college – Dyson Daniels of the G-League Ignite.
Another intriguing prospect is Memphis one-and-done center Jalen Duren, but sources believe he will be too much of a project for Thibodeau to sign.
After the lottery, the draft combine is held in Chicago, where some players host games, but the top lottery guys usually just take measurements and interview clubs. Thibodeau was impressed by shooting guard Quentin Grimes at last year’s combine and the Knicks took him at 25 after trading back.
The Knicks will have a large contingent in Chicago, but Rose is unlikely to speak to the media. He has not spoken to the press since September. The former agent gave a season-ending interview to Garden-operated MSG Network and was not asked about the upcoming draft.
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