The New York Knicks didn’t expect to receive the fourth pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. However, that was exactly the case as the Los Angeles Lakers sneaked into the top-three, placing the Knickerbocker’s as the odd team out.
Although, it might not be the worst scenario for Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher, as they have plenty of options at their disposal.
The fourth pick isn’t a bad position at all for New York. In fact, it might be the best position in the draft. The Knicks are in dire need of both front court and back court help, and with a loaded class that includes Jahlil Okafor, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Emmanuel Mudiay, they will be able to address serious needs with their selection.
It’s widely speculated that New York will select either Emmanuel Mudiay or D’Angelo Russell, their choice being determined by the direction that the Philadelphia 76ers choose to take. Both Mudiay and Russell could be considered franchise point guards, something which New York doesn’t have on it’s roster now.
The Knicks ended the season with rookie Langston Galloway as their starting point guard. In 45 games with the team he was able to record 11.8 points per game. While he did a serviceable job as the starter, he is nothing more than a temporary solution, and isn’t expected to play a major reason for the team down the road.
It’s always possible New York could decide that bringing in a point guard via free agency is the answer(Rajon Rondo) and by doing so decide that do not need to use a high selection on Mudiay or Russell in the draft. This scenario leads to many possibilities. One is the team look at alternative options like drafting Willie Cauley Stein or Justise Winslow. However, a more intriguing scenario is the Knicks trading the pick.
If the latter option is employed the hope would be for New York to gather more assets towards building a contender. Phil Jackson wants to build a competitive team. One way of doing that is to do what team’s like Cleveland, Boston, and Miami have done in the past, and form a core of three stars and build a team around them.
The Knicks already have one superstar in place with Carmelo Anthony, but the chance to bring in two more high impact players might be the way Jackson decides to go. The ability to trade a first round pick could prove to be vital, as they could opt to trade for a later selection to avoid the high cost of a lottery pick, thus saving the team money to go out and sign a Rajon Rondo, LaMarcus Aldridge, or Marc Gasol to play alongside Carmelo.
While no trade has appeared to be imminent , there are quite a few teams that could benefit from having the fourth overall pick. An interesting option might be Houston at 18, who could wish to add a more offensive driven starting point guard to play with James Harden.
The Rockets also own an early second-round pick (32nd) to work with. Not only does New York save cap space with the move, but they are also able to snag a player like Jerian Grant, Kevon Looney, or Delon Wright. Houston would be able to snag Russell or Mudiay instantly revitalizing an offense that was shut down by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.
It’s all speculation at this point, and a scenario involving Houston is nothing more than an intriguing option. It’s going to be interesting to see what Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher cook up, because the fate of Knicks basketball is in their hands.