2019-05-15 14:31:501 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Duke Blue Devils star Zion Williamson with a thunderous dunk. (Image Source: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
OK, Knicks fans. You’re disappointed. I get it. You wanted Zion Williamson. But I’m here to tell you all isn’t lost.
There’s Still Free Agency
With cap room to sign not one, but two max free agents, the summer of 2019 is still set up to be the best offseason for the New York Knicks in most of our lifetimes. Maybe ever.
The strong belief around the league is that the Knicks will land free agent Kevin Durant and that didn’t change last night. If they sign KD it’s hard to imagine another big-ticket free agent like Kyrie Irving (for example) won’t also come on board.
That’s been the plan and the team is still on course.
Could Have Been Worse
Could it have been better? Sure. But it could have been worse. The Knicks picked the wrong year to tank correctly, as the worst record in the league only gave them a 14 percent chance of landing the top pick. The odds were against them. We knew that going in.
Just as fans should be disappointed they didn’t land Zion, they should be equally relieved and arguably joyous the team has a top-three pick! If they keep the pick they will land an elite prospect.
Remember. The Knicks have been a bad team for the better part of the past two decades and this is the highest they will pick in the NBA Draft since they took Patrick Ewing No. 1 overall in 1985.
Is Zion Overrated?
This isn’t sour grapes. Zion Williamson is the most-hyped prospect coming into the NBA since LeBron James. But is he the best?
I don’t know this for a fact, but I believe Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, and maybe a couple others were more highly thought of by personnel people than Williamson coming out of college.
Is he worthy of going No. 1 overall? For sure! But he’s not LeBron James. He’s not a slam dunk super star. It’s possible that either Ja Morant or R.J. Barrett could end up being a better pro. That’s not outlandish.
Who had Steph Curry and James Harden being better than Blake Griffin?
Heading into the season Barrett was the projected No. 1 overall pick and he didn’t “drop” because of bad season. The Dukie was an All-American and set an ACC freshman scoring record. He would still be a great addition if ends up in Orange and Blue.
AD Still in Play
It was believed that had the Knicks won the Draft Lottery, they would have attempted to trade Zion Williamson for Anthony Davis. Well, scrap that plan.
Did their chances of adding Davis diminish? Probably.
The Los Angeles Lakers, who are likely New York’s stiffest competition to land Davis, picked up the No. 4 pick in the draft. So now they have more ammunition.
Moreover, with Williamson coming to New Orleans, Davis might be more likely to change his mind and drink the David Griffin Kool-Aid. Some around the league have called it a game changer and reports have Griffin calling other clubs last night looking to add pieces.
While it’s certainly more likely that Davis stays than it was before last night, I’m not sold on that. Remember, the Pelicans never wanted to put Davis on the block, they did so because he forced their hand.
As of now, Davis is still set to be a free agent in 2020 and his stance hasn’t changed.
Regardless if the Knicks emerge as players in the AD sweepstakes, they are probably headed towards an offseason in which they add three blue chip talents to the roster.
Think on that as you lament would could have been.
Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.
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