For the first time in a long time, the New York Knicks are not going to be taking part in the NBA Draft Lottery. However, they still want to be a part of the top 14 picks in the draft.
The Knicks had a wonderful 2020-21 season, going 41-31 and earning the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. Their first-round playoff series with the Atlanta Hawks exposed some of the flaws on their roster, as they just didn’t have the offensive firepower to keep up with the Hawks.
With Tom Thibodeau as head coach, you knew the Knicks weren’t going to tank for NBA Draft positioning. Thibodeau wants to win and to coach veterans. New York has four selections in this the 2021 NBA Draft, and according to Marc Berman of the New York Post, they will look to move into the 2021 lottery and could use the picks they have at their disposal.
“The Knicks are excused from the lottery dais for a change, but that doesn’t mean they can’t move up into lottery position on draft night in late July. They have two first-round picks (19 and 21) and two second-rounders (32, 58). Chief strategist Brock Aller will look to deal picks and money to move into the lottery, according to sources. Thibodeau doesn’t want too many more prospects on his roster. Also, the Knicks are one of the few teams who will have some cap space on draft night to make a trade smoother.”
With Leon Rose and William Wesley running the front office, the Knicks are in a great position to maneuver around the draft board should they choose to.
We saw how successful they could be at it during the 2020 NBA Draft, when they entered the draft with the No. 8, No. 27 and No. 38 selections in the draft but ended up selecting 8th, 25th and 33rd. You can be sure there will be even more of the same in the future as the Knicks have a boatload of extra first and second-round picks.
While it is still early to pinpoint who exactly the Knicks would be targeting in the lottery, it is good to know they will be aggressive in doing so and have the capital to pull it off. That kind of flexibility gives an organization multiple routes they can take to continue building up a roster.