The Basketball Gods Must Be Crazy – The Knicks Got the #4 Pick

We’ll have more coverage of this Wednesday morning by everyone’s friend, David Crockett, but it just occurred to me that we probably should have a quick thread on the event itself – the Knicks falling to the #4 slot in the NBA Draft, the only team in the entire draft to fall from their scheduled draft slot, with the Lakers rising from #4 to take the Knicks’ #2 slot.

Due to winning two late season games that the Knicks had no business winning, the Knicks ceded the top group of four-digit combinations to the Minnesota Timberwolves and it was one of those combinations that ended up winning the lottery for the Timberwolves. So, once again, if winning a game hurts your draft chances and you can prevent yourself from winning the game, just lose the darn game. I’m sure that is a lesson some other team will now learn from the Knicks. The New York Knicks – the object lesson for other teams since 2000.

Anyhow, luckily enough, this year’s draft class is quite good, and I’d honestly take any of the four best players in this year’s draft over the #1 pick in either of the last two drafts (and I’d take Winslow and WCS and probably a bunch of other guys over Andrew Bennett, as well, and maybe Winslow over Wiggins, but probably not). One of the two top point guard prospects, Emmanuel Mudiay and D’Angelo Russell, will be there at #4. Either one could turn out to be a star. Justise Winslow is also an excellent prospect, so he could be in play at #4. I wanted either Towns or Okafor with Russell as the back-up and it looks like none of those three will be there at #4, but, well, maybe the Knicks will get lucky (hey, stop laughing!) and either one of those three guys will fall to #4 or Mudiay turns out to be the best player in the draft. It is definitely possible.

Now that we know where the Knicks are drafting, we officially now also know how much ca room the Knicks will have (based on a $66,500,000 cap. It could be higher than that, but everyone is currently projecting $66.5).

According to the Ultimate Blog Post On best sneakers for basketball The Knicks’ #4 pick’s cap hold is $3,443,100. The rest of their salaries are 33,272,450.

That’s six players (the #4 pick plus Melo, Calderon, THJ, Anthony and Galloway) for a sum of $36,715,550.

However, you also need to take into account the fact that the Knicks have to have cap holds for their remaining six spots. Each cap hold is the minimum, so $525,093 per slot. For every free agent you sign, however, you fill in one of those slots. So for the purposes of this exercise, let’s assume Phil Jackson signs three free agents, so we’ll only have to account for three minimum slots. So it is $525,093 times three, or $1,575,279.

That brings us to $38,290,829. Subtract that from $66,500,000 and the Knicks have roughly:

$28,209,171 to spend on three free agents.

If the Knicks sign less than three free agents with their cap room or more than three free agents with their cap room, here is what they will have in cap room:

$27,684,078 to spend on two free agents.

$28,734,264 to spend on four free agents

$29,259,357 to spend on five free agents

$29,784,450 to spend on six free agents

It is important to note, however, that the Knicks will also have access to the room exception, which is $2,732,000. This is an exception given to teams who use up almost all or all of their cap room (but are not over the cap). It allows them to go over the cap, but only for $2,732,000 for one player (I believe that’s half the current mid-level). So the Knicks can spend the full $27,684,078 on two players and then use the room exception to sign a third player.

So if Jackson wants to hand out three mid-size contracts, he has $28,209,171 to work with. If he wants to hand out two big contracts and one room exception contract, he’ll have $27,684,078 to work with on the two big deals.

The Knicks have enough to make one max offer, but not two. They obviously can open up a lot more room if they somehow dump Calderon’s contract (it is kind of funny to note that had they kept Felton and just cut him, they’d have room for two max offers now).

EDITED TO ADD: Just for fun, if the Knicks waived Calderon and used the stretch provision on him, they’d open up roughly a little under $4 million in cap space ($4,380,683 minus the additional $525,093 cap slot they’d be opening up). So in that scenario, they’d have $31,539,668 in cap space for two free agents, almost literally the exact amount of cap room needed for two max offers (for young players with maxes of $15.7 million, of course, like Draymond Green and Greg Monroe, not older maxes of $20 million for players like Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge).

They’d have to pay Calderon roughly $3 million for the next five years, though, but with the cap rising, that’s probably not a huge deal.

28 replies on “The Basketball Gods Must Be Crazy – The Knicks Got the #4 Pick”

A few days ago made a prediction. I had the Knicks at #4 and Lakers at #1… So close! (The Knicks at #4 was the easy part!)

Do you think Jackson will now at least shut up about the basketball gods thing?

I was going over past posts, and this old comment by me made me feel a little bit better (note that this was pre-NCAA tournament where Winslow essentially took Johnson’s spot on the prospect lists, Winslow is basically Johnson with more upside, so just plug in Winslow where I wrote Johnson back then):

I can sort of kind of live with the #4 pick, even though it would be horribly disappointing. But anything past four would be devastating. I can at least sort of kind of talk myself into Mudiay (Johnson, too, but he’s not going to be the pick there. It’ll be Mudiay). After #4, though, good golly, Miss Molly.

So just come on, Knicks, get the worst record so that the worst case scenario is Mudiay. I need a world where Mudiay is the worst case scenario!!

WCS, by the way, is a legit option at #4. If the Knicks insist on Melo at the #3, then they could do a lot worse than Monroe at the #4 and WCS at the #5. Maybe trade the #4 to move down to take WCS?

I think that there are four realistic options at the #4 (not counting trades), assuming Towns, Okafor and Russell are off the board (it kills me to say that, by the way, as I reeeeeally wanted one of those three): Mudiay, Winslow, WCS and EEG. The crazy thing is that EEG could be the best of the bunch, but he could also be a total bust. Winslow won’t be a bust, but his upside is the lowest of the bunch. WCS has a decent floor and a lot of upside, but I think the odds of him reaching that upside are roughly the same as EEG, namely not that high (although higher than EEG). Mudiay has a strong floor but also has crazy upside. He’s a strong passer, super quick and he can finish. He just can’t shoot. That’s a major deficit, but even without it, he’s a better version of Tyreke Evans, and a better Tyreke Evans is a legit NBA rotation player. So I think Mudiay is the best pick of the bunch. I don’t know if EEG would be an awful gamble, though, as the Knicks need so much help, maybe they should just roll the dice on the long shot.

To refresh…

Ranking them in theoretical upside:


Ranking them in highest floor:


Ranking them in most likely reaching their top potential:


Sorry, I’m reading up on all these prospects and I don’t know who EEG is. Someone help out a confused fan here? Thanks!

My apologies. EEG is just the nickname I use for Kristaps Porzingis, because I haven’t forced myself to remember how to spell his name yet. It stands for Enigmatic European Guy.

Porzingis is a seven foot one player (who is 19 and still growing!) who can shoot from the outside and block shots. If he puts it all together, he’s Dirk but with strong defense, as well. That’d obviously be one of the greatest players of the past couple of decades. If he doesn’t, he’s Bargs. The problem is that, as with most European players, there is no real way of knowing which way he’ll go, hence his upside being the best but his floor and the likelihood of him putting it together being lower than the others. Young stud European players are almost literally a coin toss. Half the time they’re great. Half the time they suck. Stud college players are closer to 70/30.

WCS is Willie Cauley-Stein, by the way, the Kentucky center who played with Towns.

Knicks at 4, disappointing but not at all surprising. I’m not sure which pisses me off more- dropping to 4 or having the Lakers jump up to #2.
It must be a rule in the NBA that the Lakers have to be in the finals at least one out of every 5 years.

It is pretty galling that they have close to the same cap room as the Knicks while having Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle to pair with Okafor. At least their star player who is taking up too much cap space is a lot worse than the Knicks’ star player who is taking up too much cap space.

I was a fool to overlook the fact that the NBA valued:

1) A team that lost their superstar, and
2) The Los Angeles Lakers

More than it valued the Knicks. From what I’ve seen of Mudiay, if he’s there at #4, I’d be very happy to select him. In terms of superstar potential/ceiling, I have him 2nd to Okafor in the entire draft. He could be as good as Damian Lillard or Brandon Jennings, it’s up to him. To me, the pick is between Mudiay and Winslow. I’d rather the guard to the wing, but Winslow to me looks like a harder worker and like the best athlete in the draft. I think my favorite thing about Winslow is how his potential is even on both sides of the ball. He can be a 20 point scorer and a lockdown defender at either wing for 10 years. Pick 4 is decisively a better pick than 5 since you still have a choice between two good players rather than one.

@Eyal, yep watching the same video and I can’t help but be intrigued. The jumpshot looks sweet. He looks like he’d be good playing the role Bargs was SUPPOSED to play — drawing bigs out onto the perimeter. He could play 3 on offense, leading to more #MeloAtThe4, and theoretically guard the opposing power forward…

I guess it depends on how much stronger he’s able to get without compromising his perimeter skills — I’m having terrible visions of people like David West, Nene, or Al Horford running all over him in the post and on the offensive glass…

I don’t exactly know what to think. I said I don’t like Mudiay and Winslow, and would prefer drafting Stanley Johnson at the #4, but I’m warming about Hezonja too. That said, I’m starting to talk myself into Mudiay (Winslow, much less. Call me crazy but I see too much of Wilson Chandler in him, and that’s not good value for a #4 pick).

I just hope they will not trade the pick for some underperforming veteran.

The most Knickiest thing ever would have been the #4 pick for Chris Bosh, pre-health scare. With his health problems, that is at least off the table.

In terms of superstar potential/ceiling, I have him 2nd to Okafor in the entire draft.

I think Porzingis has the most upside of anyone, but yeah, I agree with Okafor/Mudiay being the next two on the list (for pure theoretical upside). I’d have Towns next.

Winslow is a very high IQ player, maybe the smartest of the available picks. I wish he handled the ball a bit better. But I like the way he always seems to be in the right place at the right time, kinda like Shane Battier at his best.

Agreed. He has a ton of polish on his game. You know you’re not getting a bust with Winslow. He’s going to be a solid pro at the very least. Just perhaps not a star.

I know you have pegged EEG to Porzingis, but what about Mario Hezonja? i think he might be the better one of the two. He is fairly athletic, has nice size and has solid percentages .

I have absolutely no idea about the draft. But i feel the ‘experts’ have little idea either, and statistical models are not reliable with freshmen or international players. So whatever they do, i’ll be happy as long as they dont trade out of the draft

Winslow reminds me of young Iguodala; Porzingas looks like taller skinnier Gallo.

I have absolutely no idea about the draft. But i feel the ‘experts’ have little idea either, and statistical models are not reliable with freshmen or international players.

Statistical models definitely have issues with freshman, but I think those issues are more easily understood than with international players. Young international players are the true mysteries. They get a few years under their belts, we can pretty much figure out who’s good, but when they’re young – total mysteries (outside of their general skills and measurements, of course).

About the euros in this draft:
Porzingis/EEG: I think Brian did a good job on him. I see him closer to Bargnani than Nowitzki, and I think we’ve had enough of that.
Hezonja: I think he’s as talented as anyone in this draft, but he’s been kind of a headcase in Barcelona, he had problems with coach, teammates and some of-court distractions. He’s like JR, and I think we’ve had enough of that too.
If we could manage to get a second round pick, I think there are a couple of very interesting euro prospects there. I specially like:
Turkish Cedi Osman (1995, 6’8”, SG), I see him close to Hezonja, less talented and athletic, but a much better defender and team player.
Spanish Guillermo Hernangómez (1994, 6’11”, C), he played in Sevilla with Porzingis and had similar numbers. He’s all hustle. Still a work in progress, needs to work on his shot and defense. He maybe moving to Euroleague champions Real Madrid next year and get more hype in there. I think he could be a really good second round pick.

About Winslow, his father played in Europe for over a decade. I remember seeing him play when he came to Spain right away from college (he played just seven NBA games), he just lived off his physical game, but, through the years, he developed several tools (outside shot, post game…) and ended up being a much complete player. Also, during all that years, I don’t remember any locker-room or of the court problems. If his son resembles him, he should be a hard worker, very coachable and a good teammate, add that to his talent and physical tools and you could have a good cocktail.

Dammit, Luke, you troll so hard it’s impossible to resist the urge to answer you back.

How is Jackson/Fisher’s fault the Knicks fell to #4? It’s not a guarantee that, had we got the worst record in the NBA, the machine would have drawn out a combination that favored us.

As you know, I agree with you that this organization is severely lacking in lots of area. But to call for a firing just because of bad luck is something out of the Amin Dada (or any crazy dictator who relied on fortune tellers) rulebook. Come on, you’re better than this.

Anyway, what I meant was that the tank-botching already happened, and didn’t need to be validated by the lotto results. If so, would getting the 1st pick have meant that Phil and Fisher did a wonderful job in winning those Orlando and Atlanta games? No, right? Then, we can’t be arguing about the bad tanking job because we landed the 4th pick. It’s just a self-fulfilling prophecy, don’t you think?

It happened months ago, and was endlessly talked about. Why bring it up as if last night was new evidence?

I love how Captain Luke comes on this board exclusively to flame people/the board more generally and blather on about how Jackson ought to be fired for X, Y, Z reason in every thread, but when you ask him what he would actually do with a team, or about player quality, or who would replace PJ if we fired him, or any substantive issue that does not fit his narrow agenda he always dodges the question. Is it because he has no analytical skills beyond misunderstanding how rate-stats work and would like to avoid coming to terms with the fact that he’s a profound, misogynist, moron? And now he’s calling people retarded?

Ban the idiot already. He offers less than nothing to this board, or to the world more generally, I’m sure.

Also I think Fisher is more to blame than Phil–Phil seems to have had a laissez-faire policy re: tanking and essentially told Fisher to do what thou wilt. That’s dumb, but not as dumb as Fisher taking from that that he should try to win every game, consequences be damned. Either way, neither should be fired, even for this travesty. The offseason hasn’t even happened yet.

late to the party and i’ve mostly been a creeper the past 6 years, props to the guys who run this blog because they’ve got major willpower slogging through this past season, but… i’m ready to jump off a bridge. i flipped absolute apeshit the night the knicks beat the hawks and i knew it was gonna come back to bite us in the ass. rant over let’s talk about prospects.

it was towns or bust for me cuz i grew up in piscataway/northjersey and i just couldn’t wait for this athletic stretch 4 that could play inside/out, plus a bit of DEFENSE, to don the blue nd orange.
i’m not sold on mudiay he looks like fools gold, going overseas to play in china (yes it’s a pro league and i’m sure he got some seasoning, but still…). he didn’t play most of the season. and he can’t. shoot. freethrows. if you can’t knock down foul shots your shot’s gotta be pretty broke.

i’m hoping somehow one of the top 3 fall i’d be happy w/ any of them, but i’m ever the pessimist when it comes to my knicks, and time after time my gut’s been proven right. maybe we’ll get smart and dump the pick (ironic right?) for some guaranteed allstar? not that that’s really feasible but i’d feel better knowing what we got than taking a chance w/ a rook because it’s playoffs or bust we can’t be lottery bound again next year we don’t have the 2016 pick.

anywho rant over time for me to creep back to the shadows peace out kb.

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