Point guards aplenty for Knicks in draft.

The 2017 NBA Draft is loaded with tal­ented, young point guards.

Metro USA (New York) - - Front Page - JOE PANTORNO @MetroNewYork sports@metro.us

On Mon­day night, for the first time in al­most two weeks, the New York Knicks won a bas­ket­ball game.

Their 109-95 vic­tory over the Detroit Pis­tons cracked a spring swoon that saw them drop eight of their last nine games that ended all dim hopes of a trip to the post­sea­son.

While it might be dif­fi­cult to for some to fathom, that dif­fi­cult stretch might have done won­ders for the or­ga­ni­za­tion and saved years of re­build­ing. Af­ter a March 1 win against the Or­lando Magic, the Knicks im­proved to 25-36 and moved to within four games of the Detroit Pis­tons for the fi­nal East­ern Con­fer­ence play­off spot.

Given the weak stand­ing of the East, it didn’t re­flect much on the team’s ac­tual suc­cess on floor. To put things lightly, things have been dys­func­tional, given Carmelo An­thony’s de­te­ri­o­rat­ing re­la­tion­ship with Phil Jackson, trade ru­mors, Der­rick Rose, Joakim Noah’s off-court shenani­gans and the dreaded re­turn of the tri­an­gle of­fense.

With some of the only re­deemable as­sets com­ing in the form of younger ta­lent like Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Her­nan­gomez, it is likely that this team will not stay to­gether for long.

A source told ESPN’s Ian Be­g­ley that the Knicks will “re­main com­mit­ted,” to deal­ing An­thony in the off­sea­son while Rose is set to hit free agency this sum­mer.

An im­prob­a­ble and likely short trip to the post­sea­son would not have re­solved any of those mat­ters. Even worse, the Knicks faced the pos­si­bil­ity of miss­ing out on the best ta­lent within a loaded draft class.

For a team look­ing to re­build, stay­ing on the fringe of medi­ocrity in the East could have left the ros­ter de­void of young, bona fide ta­lent needed to build an ac­tual con­tender around Porzingis.

The Knicks have re­mained in 12th place in the East de­spite post­ing a 4-10 record so far in March, but their chances of ac­quir­ing a premier ta­lent in the draft im­proved.

Ac­cord­ing to Bas­ket­ball-Ref­er­ence.com’s prelot­tery cal­cu­la­tions, the Knicks cur­rently have an 82.7 per­cent chance of land­ing a pick be­tween Nos. 4-7.

With Rose’s con­tract ex­pi­ra­tion loom­ing; the Knicks have an op­por­tu­nity to se­lect a true floor gen­eral of a point guard for the fu­ture.

It makes Ken­tucky’s De’Aaron Fox, NC State’s Den­nis Smith Jr. and France’s Frank Nti­lik­ina prime can­di­dates as­sum­ing UCLA’s Lonzo Ball and Washington’s Markelle Fultz will be off the board by then.

How­ever, an NBA source told Marc Ber­man of the New York Post on Mon­day that the Knicks could take a chance on Kansas combo for­ward Josh Jackson.

The 6-foot-8 inch ta­lent has not ex­hib­ited a pure scorer’s touch, but he has dis­played aboveav­er­age vi­sion and stingy on-ball de­fense, which is some­thing the Knicks are in need of.

His se­lec­tion would make even more sense if the fran­chise found a way to move An­thony over the sum­mer, but it could make re-sign­ing Rose a pri­or­ity to keep the back­court afloat.

Re­gard­less, the Knicks have an op­por­tu­nity to re-cre­ate their 2015 draft suc­cess when they se­lected a gem in Porzingis with the No. 4 over­all pick.


The Knicks would be ab­so­lutely ec­static if they could get their hands on Washington’s Markelle Fultz.

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