What If… The Knicks Manage to Trade Up in the 2015 Draft and Select: Karl-Anthony Towns

With the order of the draft being settled, the writers of KnickerBlogger thought we’d go over the possible outcomes. But since we were whipping out the ol’ Crystal Ball, we decided to go a little past June & see what fate possibly has to offer…

A stopped clock…

2015 Draft Order
1 MIN Jahlil Okafor
2 LAL Karl-Anthony Towns (traded to the Knicks)
3 PHI D’Angelo Russell
4 NYK Emmanuel Mudiay (traded to the Lakers)

Subtle, I know.
Subtle, I know.

What happened leading up to and on Draft Day 2015
The story that inspired Bill Simmons to break his post-ESPN near-silence was that of Karl-Anthony Towns’ comments preceding the draft:

The quotes Simmons refers to come from both Towns and his agent, Leon Rose:

On where he hopes he’ll be drafted, Towns said, “I’ll go anywhere but isn’t it always really late on the West Coast? I’d probably be tired for all the games.”

On Philadelphia: “On the one hand, I love cheesesteaks, but on the other hand, so did Embiid, and you know, Philadelphia’s front office wasn’t too happy about the consequences of that. I mean I can just feel myself turning into Mike Sweetney when I think about Pat’s and Geno’s and – there’s other good cheesesteak place’s too – Jim’s on South Street, John’s down by IKEA and Home Depot and all that…”

On Towns’ comments, Rose explained that “Those are just statements of fact. It is later in Los Angeles than in, for example, New York. They do have good cheesesteaks in Philadelphia, and yeah, you can get a Cheesesteak in New York, but it’s not the same. Do you deny that? I feel like these are things that most Americans know to be true, and you asked the kid, and he just stated the obvious. You guys are making a story out of nothing.”

Simmons was not wrong: No major media outlet had the balls to point out the absurdity of Rose and Towns’ comments.

With Minnesota committed to Okafor, the Knicks were able to convince the Lakers to swap picks with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Cleanthony Early heading to the place where it’s always late.

In an interview shortly after the draft, Phil Jackson finally addressed Towns’ comments: “I think he would have played anywhere, but this is his home, and that’s something the value of which you really can’t overstate. His roots are here, and those roots will help him grow and have a long and what we expect will be a hall of fame career. I think also, and he’s told me this, or at least I expect him to tell me this when I talk to him later: He’s a great fit for the triangle offense, so it wasn’t just about the city of New York. It was about me and my offense.”

What will be written on draft day in 2018

Now 22 years old and a three-year veteran entering a contract year, Towns has received most of the attention and blame for the Knicks’ mediocrity. The major media outlets have focused in on all the once-rumored trade offers the Knicks received for Towns over the years.

The unspoken truth though behind all these articles is that Melo is now in decline. He’s missed 30% of his games since the Towns draft and is set to have another surgery on his ever-balky left knee. His numbers for the 17-18 season showed steeper drops than the previous season, and for the first time since 2009, he missed the All-Star game.

It’s not that Towns has been bad. In fact, he’s been the second best performer from his class after Okafor and has largely lived up to expectations – a stronger Serge Ibaka. He just “hasn’t made the leap”, and because Melo is quickly transforming into the new albatross contract for the Knicks. All these articles about Towns are secretly early post-mortems for the Carmelo Anthony era. Could trading Towns for veteran talent have gotten Melo the title he deserved?

For their parts, Jackson and ever-beleaguered coach Derek Fisher have stood firmly behind Towns, but as Jackson admitted in his press conference wherein he announced that he would be leaving following the 2018 free agency period, he didn’t take enough risks. “We had good luck and bad luck during my time here, and when free agency proved to not be as fruitful as I hoped, I knew that we had a big challenge ahead of us. Rather than breaking everything up and starting over, I decided to hope that some best cases played out. They didn’t. Melo’s been hurt. Karl-Anthony isn’t at a point in his career where he can be the lead guy on a great team. We think he can get there, but he’s not there yet.”

That story was too boring to report on though. Most coverage of Jackson’s press conference instead involved base speculation about the state of Jackson’s health with Frank Isola going so far as to insinuate that Jackson may have been suffering from mild dementia throughout his tenure with the Knicks.

As the draft approached, rumors swirled about Towns’ future in New York, and the day before the draft, Towns, the Knicks’ 2018 and 2020 pick in addition to the contracts of Greg Monroe, Aron Afflalo and Reggie Jackson were sent out in a three team trade that brought back 32 year old Dwight Howard and 33 year old Chris Paul.

Jackson retired citing health reasons a few days later with Allan Houston taking over for Fisher as head coach. “James Dolan is a fine man and didn’t interfere in any way. He’s also a transcendent musician,” Jackson explained before lifting a boom box from behind the podium and blasting Little White Lies, from JD & the Straight Shot’s fourth album.

Bill Simmons presciently tweeted the following twelve minutes after the trade was announced: “Bet anyone 0.10 Bitcoin that Towns is better than any player on the Knicks’ roster by 2019/20 season.”

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In addition to writing for Knickerblogger, Max teaches English at Tallahassee Community College and writes short stories. He recently finished a feature screenplay, and he is working right now to raise the funds to film it. You can check it out on Kickstarter.

69 thoughts to “What If… The Knicks Manage to Trade Up in the 2015 Draft and Select: Karl-Anthony Towns”

  1. Hey man, good satire should sting a little. It’s not supposed to be suicidally depressing. Feeling kinda numb right now.

    (It was brilliant.)

  2. You forgot the part where Mudiay and Cleanthony Early go on to to lead the Lakers to the 2017 championship as cornerstones to a new dynasty.

  3. So, what do the Knicks offer the Lakers to move up to #2? There’s no way that Carmelo Anthony is agreeing to any trade, so that’s off the table. The 2018 first round pick would probably not get it done, and the Knicks shouldn’t do that anyway.

  4. It takes some sort of special skill to make a scenario in which the Lakers gift us the #2 pick and Towns into a bleak one.

  5. I know it’s just workout videos but I’m starting to really warm to Cauley-stein as our #4 pick. The knock on him is that he is useless on offense (other than dunking and rebounds!) but these videos clearly show he has nice form and can really shoot it at least in a workout setting. Doing that in a game is probably just reps. From day one he’ll be a great defender, and one imagines that the offense will come. Would you take Ibaka at 4? I certainly would- especially given we literally have zero NBA-quality bigs and the ones in FA will be expensive or unavailable. If Monroe really is a done deal i would feel much better about our front court with a real rim defender there

  6. i would feel much better about our front court with a real rim defender there

    Especially with our PG of the future locked up already (Calderon).

  7. Probably a stupid question and unlikely scenario….but would Hibbert be an obtainable or decent option for us? He has a player option for 15.5 mil that he is most certainly going to opt into, but it is known that Bird doesn’t want any part of him going forward, so the Pacers would have no leverage in any sort of negotiation.

  8. “but these videos clearly show he has nice form and can really shoot it at least in a workout setting”
    Have you ever gone to a game, gotten there about an hour before game time and watched players shooting around? Virtually everybody who has ever played in the NBA can hit 20 straight uncontested 18 foot jumpers while casually chatting with teammates. I don’t put too much stock in his ability to hit shots in a workout setting (although I read somewhere that he hit over 40% of jump shots that he took this year, but in a very limited sample size).

  9. So the Heat have reportedly “lowballed” Wade with an offer under 10MM.

    I guess he’s not getting the Jeter treatment after all.

  10. I dunno, doesn’t that sound like the Jeter treatment? A high offer, but one below what a “star” gets, but likely higher than what other teams are willing to offer him.

  11. People talk about Cauley Stein’s offense like he’s Biyombo. Is he demonstrably worse on offense (given age difference) than either of the starting centers in the NBA finals right now? Or Dwight Howard for pete’s sake? And he won’t “demand” 5 post-ups per game like Dwight does.

  12. I’m with you on WCS in theory, Frank, but in practice, he doesn’t seem like a Triangle guy. I hate picking guys based on the Triangle, but that seems to be where they are right now. I really like WCS, though. I’d gladly see the Knicks trade down to get him.

  13. “So the Heat have reportedly “lowballed” Wade with an offer under 10MM”
    Are teams even allowed to be negotiating with there own players right now? I thought that, like everyone else’s free agents, they can’t talk to their own guys about contracts until July 1. Or is this a different situation because, since Wade hasn’t opted out yet, he is not technically a free agent?

  14. Well, DX has WCS going 5th to Orlando now so if Phil wants him I wouldn’t get cute wth trading down too far. And re the triangle thing, Amundson was our best center this year and he’s not exactly Pau Gasol. And he played pretty well within the triangle concept.

  15. D Wade should take that 10 million and suck all the way to the bank the next few seasons. He was a spectacular player in his prime, and still good when healthy even 2-3 years ago, but I think the end is coming quickly.

    I’d love to see Biyombo in the triangle.

  16. But he’s Dwyane Wade! He’s a future HOFer 15x all-star ofc he’s max player smh

  17. One good thing about the Knicks trading down is that they can’t just trade the pick…they have to make the pick and then trade the player. So, they can pick someone at #4 and wait until the team they want to trade with is on the clock to be sure that the player they want at 6, 7, etc. is there.

    So, let’s say Denver covets Mudiay. The Knicks pick him at 4 and wait until Denver is on the clock at 7. If the Knicks want WCS and he’s still there, the deal goes down. I imagine they will have at least chatted with most teams in the #5-10 range about a possible trade.

    If the top 3 picks go as expected, the Knicks will pick either Mudiay, WCS, or Winslow. Any of those 3 guys would be worth keeping but also might be of interest to teams picking #5 or later…’

  18. Well, if the Knicks are swapping picks, they don’t technically have to wait until they make the pick. They can do the deal today if they felt like it (but, yes, there is a mutual advantage to waiting until draft day to consummate a trade like that)

  19. I’m with you frank-I haven’t seen the video but wouldn’t you say typically great centers come into the league as defensive standouts? just off the top of my head-Ewing, Dwight,Duncan, Anthony Davis, Hakeem were all elite defensively and added offensive games once in the league. saying wcs will ever be in that company would be absurd but it shows the presidence to come into the league defensive minded versus offensive minded like a number of European centers have that haven’t panned out *bargnani*. I’m sure there’s exceptions to this idea but generally I feel it’s easier to add a mid range shot or a baby hook than it is to develop a defensive awareness.

    Additionally, wcs will help improve the pace at which we play much more so than okafor/fa center x. I think going forward we really need to address the lack of transition points this team gets.

    Worst case, he doesn’t develop offensively There’s much worse things than having a defensive stud at center locked up for the next decade or so

  20. but wouldn’t you say typically great centers come into the league as defensive standouts?

    Yes, which is why Okafor would give me pause. As for the WCS shooting jumpers in a gym video, I don’t care. I’d like to know more about why his rebounding numbers have been mediocre for his career. A big guy should only be shooting jump shots if he’s better than the other little guys on the team at shooting jump shots. It would be great if he could hit open jump shots well enough that teams learn that you couldn’t leave him wide open, but aside from that, why would you want WCS taking contested mid range jump shots? Let Melo do that-he’s much better at it. (seriously)

  21. question. why all this about the triangle?
    it was tried and failed (albeit with ill fitting parts).
    but if the zenmaster is as good as he’s being paid to be, and fish is as smart as his career showed him to be, they’ll see there’s no way to find parts to fit their scheme, therefore must find a way to make their scheme fit the parts.
    if they really are indentured to triangle, we should all stop being knicks fans. or burn down msg.

    sidenote, anyone know how to get this site to work on a smart phone? i can never scroll. can only see the homepage banner.

  22. I seem to to recall Shump shot the ball really well during pre-draft workouts as well so I’d take WCS’s shooting video with a big grain a salt. The one thing I do take away from it is that that huge jump in free throw % seems sustainable (and perhaps he can improve it even more- getting up to 70-75% would be great.) I’ve said all along that I’d pick him at four if the top three go as expected- you’re really only taking him one or two spots early so it’s not much of a reach. If you can trade down and still get him, great but I wouldn’t fault Phil for just taking him outright at 4.

  23. What’s giving me issues is finding information on Mudiay. Granted, he’s only played a few regular/post season games. But, I haven’t seen/heard much. I can tell he’s quick, athletic, and passes amazingly. His shooting percentages have been called poor, but I don’t see that (0.478 FG%, 0.342 from 3, with a 0.528 TS%). It may improve significantly for all I know. How is he defensively? Does he rebound well? Turnover prone? There’s not much…

  24. Regarding the above article, it would be kind of interesting if Townes pulled a Steve Francis or Eli Manning and outwardly objected to playing in Minnesota, especially with LA picking #2.

    Seems like it probably wouldn’t happen because of the sliding rookie scale (if Townes postured that he’d go to law school if drafted by anyone besides NY he’d be leaving over $7,000,000 on the table over those first four years). But still, with LA, NY, and PHI the other teams in the top four, it’s gonna be kind of bittersweet to go #1 but end up in Minnesota. (Which is a cool city in a beautiful state, btw, just not a “basketball destination” if ya know what I mean)

  25. He also sounds a hell of a lot like Derrick Rose coming into the league: aggressive, fast and athletic slasher with a pass-first mentality, poor perimeter shooting (eerily similar: FG % 0.477, 3% 0.337, TS 0.560). Did Rose defend better? I dunno. But Mudiay’s assist and rebound numbers are much higher.

  26. Craz, are you using chrome on your phone? If you use Firefox or Opera the mobile site will work fine

  27. @dred – thanks. i assume chrome. (i just got this phone a month ago, coming from oldschool flip phone. i have no clue what’s going on.) i’ll give it a try.

    back to the draft, i’m starting to like the zinger more and more. assuming the big3 dont drop, we’re left with moudiay, WCS, the zinger, white-jr smith, and jimmybutler 2.0.
    they all have their strengths, they all have huge questionmarks, and they all fill needs, so i’d start looking at the intagibles to seperate them.

    moudiay and mario – would have to pass character tests.
    WCS – i absolutely love, but i don’t love his westcoast surferdude tude. makes me wonder if he’ll work hard enough to catch his ability up with his natural athleticism.
    winslow – comes off to me as a flash in the pan, really showing up during tournament time but being lowkey the rest of the season. he did go to duke tho, so that’s always a plus.
    zinger – despite his stringbean physique, i get the sense he’s a smart dude. he’s fluent in at least 3 languages and he has been at pro ball since his teens, so maturity, work ethic, and intelligence don’t worry me. i get the feeling he’d be able to adjust to the nba game pretty quickly and make an impact this season (Can’t be worse than the guys we had last season).

    that’s just my 2 cents.

  28. Would anyone trade the # 4 pick for Serge Ibaka? OKC might max out Kanter and trading Ibaka might be a way to save money. Donavan knows all about Stein and he could be a replacement for Ibaka. That’s probably Stein ceiling at best if you think his shooting can actually translate. Did anyone think Serge could shoot when he cam into the league as a 20 yr old? Is he worth a top 5 lottery pick or would it be better to just keep the pick and save the $8m dollar difference? People have questions about Stein’s rebounding but Ibaka is not a great rebounder either.

  29. I don’t think we want WCS shooting a lot of mid range jumpers, but we want him to be enough of a scoring threat that he can’t be left alone and carry some of the load when he has a good matchup. If teams are doubling off him, that can’t be good (especially for Melo). Even if they aren’t doubling off him, it’s probably still a small net negative for the offense because there are fewer options. That means the other players have to take more shots.

    I saw part of the video. His form looked good and he was even hitting 3s from the corner. That may not be a big accomplishment for the typical NBA player during practice, but it is for a guy who is supposed to be “challenged”. I used to watch Anthony Randolph and Renaldo Balkman try to do the same and it was pretty comical.

  30. I don’t think we want WCS shooting a lot of mid range jumpers, but we want him to be enough of a scoring threat that he can’t be left alone and carry some of the load when he has a good matchup. If teams are doubling off him, that can’t be good (especially for Melo). Even if they aren’t doubling off him, it’s probably still a small net negative for the offense because there are fewer options. That means the other players have to take more shots.

    For all the talk Draymond Green gets he is only an avg or slightly below league avg 3pt shooter and he also struggles at the line. It’s still better than Stein’s college FT shooting and Green shot in the 70s% in college I believe. I think Green passing is a key value to his offensive game and it was something he displayed at MSU. I don’t know if Stein could do that but the Triangle does help Centers get ast. The key would be can he get those ast and keep his turnovers low. I think Green’s entire game is what you hope Stein would bring. Do you want the #4 pick ceiling to be Green? Is having a legit 7ft Center to contribute like Green more valuable that a what Green actually does as a 4 man. Doesn’t GSW numbers get better when Green is at the 5?

  31. i kinda actually like that we are running an offense that not many are running in the league… the spurs and hawks are running certain triangle principles but it’s a good way for us to find a competitive advantage if we can find the right pieces..

  32. If our #4 pick ends up being another Draymond Green, I will take a knee in front of a statue of James Dolan and kiss the ground in homage. It’s not going to happen.

    YES, I WANT THE #4 PICK CEILING TO BE DRAYMOND GREEN. THAT WOULD BE AN AWESOME CEILING.

  33. WCS and Draymond Green have little in common from what I’ve read. Green is a great defensive player, but he does absolutely everything on a basketball court. His 3 pt shooting is just an extra perk. He covers the entire court, and plays point-forward for a lot of the game. He’s as unique a player as I’ve seen in a long time (Steph Curry aside).

    WCS is a 7 foot center. He could be good, but if you’re expecting him to do what Draymond does, you will be disappointed. (And if he does do what Green does he’ll be as good as Anthony Davis).

  34. I see WCS’s defensive ceiling as a shot blocking Chandler. He’s extremely mobile for a man his size. Obviously that would be awesome. If I was reasonably sure he could be Tyson on offense and on the boards I’d run to the podium to take him fourth.

  35. If our #4 pick ends up being another Draymond Green, I will take a knee in front of a statue of James Dolan and kiss the ground in homage. It’s not going to happen.

    YES, I WANT THE #4 PICK CEILING TO BE DRAYMOND GREEN. THAT WOULD BE AN AWESOME CEILING.

    What happened to Kawhi? You two break up or something?

  36. Imagine a scenario where Minnie selects Okafor because flip saunders is a moron; the Lakers pick Mudiay after a dynamite workout; and Philadelphia picks Russell like they probably will. We would have Towns on a cheaper-than-#1-contract.

    That’s all a fantasy but boy would it be fantastic

  37. I don’t want a player like Kawhi. I want Kawhi himself. Not, like, in that way, but his bodyfat percentage is, like, freakishly low, so, you know, whatever.

  38. In that scenario Philly still picks Towns and ships one of the bigs out for future draft picks

  39. Boy, what a dreary scenario. At first I was all like “Oh, a positive What if…” but then I was all like “bummer, man.”

    My ideal scenario is to trade Melo to LA for the #2 (and whatever filler to make salaries match, I’m no trade wizard) when Minny picks Okafor and we get Towns and get to keep our #4.

  40. @40 I’m just messin’ with you, I would give up my first born to get either Kawhi or Draymond on my team. Unfortunately, neither of them is going anywhere.

  41. YES, I WANT THE #4 PICK CEILING TO BE DRAYMOND GREEN. THAT WOULD BE AN AWESOME CEILING.

    Draymond Green is somehow still underrated. He’s the second best player on (I’m sure I’ll get flack for this, but the numbers confirm it) one of the best teams ever and people are asking if he’s a max guy. He’s insanely good. I don’t want to blaspheme here and he’s not yet quite as good as this guy, but if the Warriors get a little run of healthy years here Green will come to be seen as the Pippen to Curry’s Jordan in the Warriors dynasty (which is starting before our eyes and people are missing it). He’s indispensable for them.

  42. Imagine a scenario where Minnie selects Okafor because flip saunders is a moron; the Lakers pick Mudiay after a dynamite workout; and Philadelphia picks Russell like they probably will. We would have Towns on a cheaper-than-#1-contract.

    That’s all a fantasy but boy would it be fantastic

    One can dream.

    There seems to be a bit floating around that Flip likes Okafor and Russell over Towns, but the majority of the Wolves staff prefer Towns, so who knows. This is the same team that drafted 2 PG’s in the same lottery, so I guess there is potential for them to cock up the pick. I think for Towns to slip to us, Mudiay is going to have to be out of this world in the workouts for the Lakers to take him. I did see somewhere that they like his “showtimeness” though so you never know.

  43. Re: the triangle, I think way too much is made of it. Stacey King in NBA radio said that the triangle simply requires high b-ball IQ players. If that’s what Phil is looking for, that works for me.

    WCS seems like a good low risk pick, but the danger there is that you will lose out on the HOFer that is lurking between picks #4-14. One thing about WCS is that he has an elite NBA-level skill: team defense (he’s not a great post defender). Once he gets accustomed to the physicality of the NBA, he will adapt and become an all-around defensive force. However, he will never be a good offensive player. He and Kaminsky are essentially mirror images of each other, each excelling on only one side of the midcourt stripe. It would come down to: who is going to make the greater impact on the weaker side of their game? I see it as a toss-up. Neither seems like all-star material.

    At #4, I need to feel that the player has a perennial all-star ceiling. The guys that stand out in that regard that you could justify taking at #4 are Mudiay, Zinger and Winslow…and maybe Johnson. Lyles, Turner, Looney, Oubre, Hezonja, etc. are just too risky. Zinger is more risky than WCS or Kaminsky, but he has much more potential as a 2-way player.

    The best alternative seems to be trading down and taking one of the names on this list at a lower spot. That is, unless someone allows any of the top 3 to drop down to us. If the pick winds up being WCS, I won’t be crushed, because its a guaranteed NBA-ready player on the cheap for next year. But man, would I hate it is someone drafted a couple of spots lower haunted us for the next 15 years.

    I personally would rather take a risk on a multi-dimensional 2-way player.

  44. I think you guys are selling WCS short. Dude was an excellent WIDE RECIEVER in high school. Not a tight end.
    He’s fast and quick.
    He can guard 4 positions very effectively.
    I know I know, so could Jeffries…
    But WCS does hustle and has a nose for the ball. He definitely has “touch” too, and his rebound numbers were only down because Towns and Lyles were there and WCS often defended away from the basket.
    Honestly I think Okafor’s defense is more limited than WCS’s offense.
    I’d be happy with him at 4.

  45. I read an article recently that basically said that WCS is one of the best athletes in the last 20 years in the NBA draft. He’s got the fastest lane agility time and the fastest 3/4 court sprint time ever recorded by a guy 6’9″or taller. He’s tied with Dwight Howard for the highest max vertical reach. Only seven guys have a combined lane agility and sprint that is better than WCS and none is taller than 6’4″. I don’t know how that will translate to actual performance on the court but the guy is an athletic freak.

  46. the biggest ding for stein for me.. is that… before towns came aboard… kentucky had pretty mediocre defensive squads… he’s also basically been the same player for 3 years… he hasn’t really stuck out until this year and much of the success is probably because of towns…

    he’s a solid guy who can have a long career… there are better two-way options though…

  47. I agree that he is an amazing athlete. I just don’t predict much development in his game. I see him as somewhere between Chandler and Jeffries…which is a very weird sort of tweener. He has DPOY potential, but is not a good post defender or d-rebounder yet.

    Maybe Marcus Camby is also a good comp? The guy can def run the floor.

    I wish he showed a bit more on O, even as a passer.

  48. revisiting 96 draft. I wonder what the hell happened. There are a lot of quality players but our team managed to get John Wallace and Mcarty. Plus both of them didnt stay that long. Hmm

  49. I am quite nervous about our free agent strategy. I remember when we signed a bench player from utah and a mediocre starter in Houston to a BIG contract. Remember him?
    He is Shan da man Anderson. Any idea about the motivation of the management during that time?

  50. Here’s a thought while we’re speculating about the summer: Would Charlotte be willing to trade #9 to get rid of Lance Stephenson? We’d have the cap space to absorb his contract.

    If a guy like Stan Johnson, WCS, or Turner is available when at 9, could we do something like Stephenson + 9 for THJ? I’d do that in a heartbeat. Sure we’d be eating into our cap space, but long term I’d rather have two top-10 lottery picks.

    Say we drafted Mudiay at 4 and Stan John at 9, we’d still have the cap space to sign a center, maybe Robin Lopez. We’d then go into the season with a top 7 of Mudiay, Stephenson, Stan John, Melo, Lopez, and Calderon. That’s about as good a scenario as one could hope for, but maybe too good to be true.

  51. Would Charlotte be willing to trade #9 to get rid of Lance Stephenson?

    Charlotte isn’t over the cap and is comfortably under the apron. They have no viable free agent targets that they need space for. And Stevenson’s contract isn’t very long or expensive. They’d be better to keep their picks (and not be Knicksy).

  52. Man, this draft is so great. Mudiay would seriously be a #1 pick in a lot of drafts. WCS would be a #2-3 pick in a lot of drafts. Hell, Zinger could even be a #1 pick in the right draft. This is a stacked, stacked draft. While you would think that would make having #4 seem better (and it does in a lot of ways), it also adds a bit of pathos with regards to the fact that after the top 3, the next five or so guys are so closely batched together that the odds are actually pretty good that whoever the Knicks pick will not be the best player out of the group of five/six guys. Still, obviously best to have first pick out of that group (if only to trade it to someone else who really wants a certain player at #4), but if you’re looking at #4 pick versus #5-9 and having to bet on which group will have the best player, I’d say #5-9. I would bet on #1-3 over 4-9.

  53. Agreed, Brian. Trading down to get anything in the 5-9 range is worth it if we get either a sure-fire starter or another #1 in the middle of this draft. I’m not sure what next year’s draft looks like, but it can’t be as deep as this one, right? But it would be a recouped asset, so still probably a good idea to make that deal. But the anxiety level is off the charts, maybe even worse than it was going into the lottery.

    I’ll go on the record and say that I’d be OK with Mudiay, WCS, Zinger or Winslow at #4, although not sure in what order I prefer them yet…need more data on Mudiay and Zinger.

    Anybody else at #4 and I will be really stressed about passing these 4 guys over.

  54. PS this draft is deep and solid, but my guess is that it will produce many starters/rotation players but few stars. Virtually every player seems to have a flaw that’s hard to fix.

    On the other hand, probably more than half of HOF players probably had a similar flaw when they were 19.

    This is killing me. I’m actually arguing with myself here.

  55. Do you think the #4 could be worth 2 other top ten picks? Let’s say:

    -NY receives #7 from Denver and #9 from Charlotte
    -Denver receives #4 from NY and Stephenson from Charlotte
    -Charlotte receives Ty Lawson and and THJr from NY

    I think that (Porzingis, Hezonja, WCS, Winslow, Turner) are much riskier than Mudiay whose floor athletic guard with court vision looks pretty safe to me (IMHO), and has a really high ceiling. But rolling the dice on two of them seems right to me. Am I too delusional with this kind of trade?

  56. I would probably do that trade. You are giving up two cheap assets for two assets, but my guess is that any player from 5-10 would be a significant upgrade from TH2.

    I hear you on Mudiay, but I’m not sure he’s a high b-ball IQ player. Even if he develops a shot, he could be Baron Davis, or Steph. And right now, he clearly is a poor shooter with lousy form.

    If he were John Wall or Russell Westbrook-level athletic, I’d agree. I just don’t see that kind of athleticism.

    Alas, all the other guys you mention have risk as well. Again, the most risk-free choice is WCS. You know what his floor is… a difference-maker on D and a lob-catcher/transition basket dunker/tap-out rebounder on O.

  57. I thought everything I read has Mudiay as a pass first, high B-Ball IQ type that cant shoot yet. I even saw a J Kidd reference, i.e Big Point guard with great vision and passing ability, rebounding and + defense…

  58. I think we have to go HIGH risk HIGH reward in this draft, as its the best way to improve the team. We can’t afford to go with least likely to bust, we must go with the Highest ceiling possible IMHO. After all we dont draft again till 2017 :(

  59. @61 – adding my own spin of your trade with Boston in the mix, so that we can get a 1st for next year:

    -NY receives #7 from Denver and Brooklyn’s 2016 1st from Boston
    -Denver receives #4 from NY and Stephenson from Charlotte
    -Charlotte receives Ty Lawson from NY and GWallace and Minny 2016 1st from Boston
    -Boston receives THJr and #9 from Charlotte

    Thoughts?

  60. @61 – adding my own spin of your trade with Boston in the mix, so that we can get a 1st for next year:

    -NY receives #7 from Denver and Brooklyn’s 2016 1st from Boston
    -Denver receives #4 from NY and Stephenson from Charlotte
    -Charlotte receives Ty Lawson from NY and GWallace and Minny 2016 1st from Boston
    -Boston receives THJr and #9 from Charlotte

    Thoughts

    I’d imagine that NY would have to take on Wallace because it doesn’t make any sense to dump Stephenson for wallace. Also, id rather the knicks the draft pick. Another problem is Kemba Walker terrible contract. I would think Cha would want that gone if they brought in Lawson.

  61. Well Mudiay and Winslow are most likely to correct their issues. I just don’t know about Zinger since he isn’t the athlete the other two are.
    I just don’t know where Winslow plays. He seems like a 2-3 tweeter.
    Also Mudiay seems like a good hardworking kid.

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