The 2019 offseason is seven months away, but with the New York Knicks already at 4-11, attention has turned towards the future. It’s not just free agency, either, as the NBA Draft presents its own intrigue.
If the season ended today, the Knicks would sit tied with the Chicago Bulls for the fourth-highest odds in the lottery. It’s also the first season teams with the three worst records will own the same odds of earning the top overall pick.
The group of prospects to choose from, at least the potential lottery picks, hold intrigue. RJ Barrett, Cameron Reddish, Romeo Langford, Nassir Little, Bol Bol, Kevin Porter and Rui Hachimura are all interesting players, but none hold the spotlight of Zion Williamson.
The stud freshman’s first three games have not just been a highlight reel, but a display of his unique skill set and for someone listed at 6-foot-6, 280-to-285 pounds.
Williamson explodes off the page. His athleticism is unlike anything ever seen in college basketball for a player of that stature. It redefines gravity.
As for Williamson’s statistics? Almost mind-blowing:
- 32-of-39 shooting (82 percent)
- 25.3 points per game
- 10.6 rebounds per game
- 3.0 blocks per game
No outside shooting yet, at just 1-for-4 from behind the arc. There’s little reason to worry about that, especially with his ability to dominate anyone via athleticism alone.
Last week, ESPN’s Jay Bilas, a former player and famed college basketball analyst, questioned how anyone can even guard Williamson.
Sure, it’s just three games, but the litmus test — the season-opener against Kentucky — was passed with flying colors, and then some; Williamson looked like a man amongst boys, with what appears to be a special ability in most aspects of the game, and at just 18-years-old.
Like the college season, the Knicks are just 15 games into their 82-game season. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and they can play well enough to move out of the bottom five.
Then, there’s how they have played through November, losing by double-digit points in four of their last six games and a cover-your-eyes, double-overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls.
Without Kristaps Porzingis, a lack of scorers to compensate and questionable defense, they may stick around the bottom of the NBA standings for more than just the first month of the season.
If so, and they land in not the top five but the top three, it makes a fantasy realistic for Williamson to don the orange and blue. It’s the chance to provide this organization with the renewed excitement, not seen since the Carmelo Anthony trade in 2011.
Five consecutive seasons outside the playoffs have provided little to cheer for, and a sixth, especially while Porzingis sits, only dampens the situation.
Williamson, in Madison Square Garden on opening night, with Porzingis, a marquee free-agent signing and the young pieces already in place can reenergize New York Knicks basketball. It’s a tantalizing prospect and a dream for fans, except there’s just a 14 percent chance it happens.