After finishing the season with a league-worst 17-65 record, the New York Knicks were awarded the third overall pick in the draft.
Although some Knicks faithful mourned the realization that Zion would not be coming to the Big Apple, others rejoiced the team secured a top-three pick. The franchise hasn’t selected so early since taking Patrick Ewing first overall in 1985.
Sharing an equal NBA-high 14% chance of getting the first overall pick with the Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavaliers, the Knicks fared better than both teams, who received the No. 6 and No. 5 picks respectively.
The Pelicans and Grizzlies are almost certainly going Zion Williamson and Ja Morant with the first and second picks. Rumors have been circulating that the Knicks are exploring trading the pick, whether it be part of a potential package for superstar Anthony Davis or trade back in the draft to acquire more assets. Although it makes sense for the Knicks to explore trade options, ultimately, the best course of action for the future of the franchise is to stay put and select RJ Barrett.
Although a potential trade for Davis would be intriguing, it does not make sense for the current state of the Knicks. For the first time in forever, the Knicks own their future draft picks and an abundance of cap space to sign free agents. Knicks management has made it clear that they intend to build their team through the draft for years to come. Straying away from this would completely derail the plan that they have so strongly expressed. It would be foolish for the Knicks to package the No. 3 pick for Davis, as the trade would require them shipping off pieces of their young core (Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox, etc.) and multiple future first-round picks. As good as Davis is, he is currently 26 years old and has been injury prone throughout the entirety of his NBA career. Instead, the Knicks should stay pat and select Barrett, which still gives them an opportunity to sign other free agents and hold onto their valuable assets.