When talking to the New York media, Knicks President Phil Jackson hinted to the possibility of trading away the team’s first-round draft pick this year should they fall to the number five in the lottery:
“We’ll consider everything. I want to be quite blunt, depending on the lottery, everything starts May 19 when the picks come in – everything germinates from there. Do you move a pick 1-2-3-4? That’s questionable. Do you move a 5 pick if that’s the alternative end result and use it as a chip? Maybe.’’
Should luck strike the Knicks and they land the number one pick, trading it away should NOT be an option. It would take an absolute King’s ransom (pun intended) in order for me to deal that first selection to anybody and actually feel good about it.
The clear top talent in my view is Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns. I liken to him some sort of a cross between Anthony Davis and Tim Duncan. I know those comparisons sound completely ridiculous, but if Towns is even the B-level version of those two guys, the Knicks would have themselves a perennial all-star.
To me the next three prospects after Towns are as-so (in order): D’Angelo Russell, Emmanuel Mudiay and Justise Winslow. Jahlil Okafor is a clear fifth in my mind and if I were the Knicks and I sat at five staring Okafor in the face I would trade the pick. Immediately.
But if I’m looking at a Winslow at number five, that isn’t the worst thing in the world by any stretch. He’s drawn some comparisons to Jimmy Butler on the NBA level. There certainly isn’t anything wrong with that.
As an organization you should never rule out a trade completely, but the best way to rebuild this team and rebuild it right would be to add the top-five talent you get in this year’s draft and add pieces via free agency down the road.
And if your pick eventually becomes a salary-cap bargain in year three like Anthony Davis is now for the New Orleans Pelicans, then you’re in outstanding shape.
Keep the pick, Phil. Unless you’re in a position to draft Okafor. In that case, sell to the highest bidder.