Before the lottery, the Knicks dreamed of getting Zion Williamson, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Maybe even Kawhi Leonard. Who wouldn’t want to play in the Garden?
They finished third in the draft lottery of course, and took Williamson’s Duke teammate, RJ Barrett. Barrett very much wanted to be in New York for a lot of reasons and he got his wish.
Unfortunately, as long as James Dolan owns the team, things aren’t likely to get much better. Whether he’s getting into an argument in public with former Knick Charles Oakley, or barring reporters from covering his team, or hiring Isaiah Thomas despite his highly erratic record, Dolan is an abysmal NBA presence. He’ll continue to alienate people, including possibly Barrett when he realizes how dysfunctional the Knicks have become.
The Knicks did manage to sign Julius Randle, who is certainly a better than average NBA player, Taj Gibson, who is 34, Bobby Portis, who is okay but not great, Elfrid Payton, who should at least be in the rotation and former Tar Heels Reggie Bullock and Wayne Ellington (we assume most readers are at least somewhat familiar with the latter two).
We feel really conflicted about Barrett in New York. He’s such a good teammate and great competitor and a poorly run team could grind him down. Maybe he can make the Knicks more like him than the opposite.
He will have Randall and Kevin Knox to build around, so there’s at least a reasonable base. Beyond that we’ll have to see.
That starts on Friday as Barrett and the Knicks meet Zion Williamson in Las Vegas. The game is at 9:30 and will air on ESPN.
Barrett is optimistic and excited. We hope that he holds on to that and can build on it but it won’t surprise us if he tires of the chaotic and chintzy nature of the Knicks regime.