New York Knicks team president Phil Jackson is looking on the bright side of life and has suggested that their miserable season could turn out to be a godsend.
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The Knicks are in prime position to land a top pick in June’s NBA Draft, as they entered play on Thursday with the worst record in the NBA at 14-61.
While that is also the worst record in the franchise’s history, Jackson is searching for positives and he believes that it may give them the foundations needed to rebuild this summer and come back strong next year.
“A draft pick can move an entire organization forward … and this is our opportunity,” Jackson said in front of a group of Knicks season-ticket holders at an event at Madison Square Garden, ESPN reports.
“If you sit around (picking) in the 20s and the late teens when you’re drafting players, you’re not going to move the franchise ahead. You’ve got to have a high draft pick to do that. They’re the ones that really move the franchise ahead. And this is our opportunity. It may be a godsend in the end result.”
If they finish with sole possession of the league’s worst record, the Knicks will be guaranteed no lower than a top four pick. They will also have the best odds at 25 percent of winning the top pick in the NBA lottery.
The initial hope had been that Jackson and coach Derek Fisher would have been able to make an immediate impact this season and get the Knicks back into the playoffs.
However, that plan slowly drifted away with trade deals for the likes of JR Smith and Iman Shumpert being made while Amar’e Stoudemire was released and Carmelo Anthony was ruled out for the rest of the season with a troublesome knee injury back in February.
As a result, this campaign will be one to forget for Knicks fans, but if Jackson’s optimism is anything to go by, the front office certainly has big plans this off-season and that starts with acquiring a highly talented prospect to lead the team forward for years to come.
Jackson added that the Knicks will likely target a defensive force in the Draft, which suggests that Duke’s Jahlil Okafor and Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns will likely be the two men in contention.