Knicks stay put at No. 11

CHICAGO — The Knicks’ lottery jinx continued Tuesday in Chicago.

Senior executive William Wesley, wearing a dark blue suit and orange tie, couldn’t bring the Knicks any luck as the club stayed put at No. 11 during the pingpong ball rollout. Wesley nodded his head up and down when the Knicks were announced at 11.

They only had a 2 percent chance of winning the top pick and a 9.4 percent odds of winning a top-four selection. Their road back to relevance has now gotten a tad tougher.

The Knicks, who had a 78 percent chance of staying put, have never moved up in the lottery since winning the inaugural edition in 1985, having gone 0-for-18. The Magic were the big winners Tuesday, with the Thunder (No. 2) and Rockets (No. 3) rounding out the top three.

Orlando Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman, left, is congratulated by NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum after Tatum announced that the Magic have won the first pick in the 2022 NBA draft during the NBA basketball draft lottery Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Chicago.
Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman, left, is congratulated by NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum after the Magic received the No. 1 pick in the lottery.

Now Wesley, who was a surprise pick to sit on the dais, will turn the keys over to Knicks president Leon Rose, whose last lottery pick selection was Obi Toppin at No. 8 in 2020. The Knicks made the playoffs in 2021 and were not involved in the lottery.

The Blazers had Damian Lillard represent them for the lottery — a sure sign he’s not going to demand a trade anytime soon.

“We have a lot of talent to build on,’’ Lillard said before the drawing.

The Knicks will have a share of solid wing prospects to choose from in the 11 range, though Kentucky guard Shaedon Sharpe’s rousing Pro Day in Chicago this week may have solidified himself as a top-five pick.

Other wings who could be available include versatile small forward Jeremy Sochan of Baylor, two-way shooting guard Johnny Davis of Wisconsin and wing Bennedict Mathurin of Arizona.

Two point guards of note are G-League Ignite’s Dyson Daniels and TyTy Washington, who is even more of interest since he played for Kentucky coach John Calipari. Rose and Wesley are close to Calipari and have a number of Kentucky players on the Knicks roster.

Knicks executive William Wesley looks on before their game against the Miami Heat at FTX Arena on Jan. 26, 2022 in Miami.
Knicks executive William Wesley looks on before a game against the Miami Heat.
Getty Images

The draft order also could have an impact on the Knicks as far as trades on draft night. The Pacers will select sixth and could be a potential trade partner on June 23.

The Knicks and Pacers spoke before the February trade deadline about Indiana center Myles Turner. The Knicks don’t have a stretch 4 on their roster — a big man who can fling the 3-ball. Turner also is a good shot-blocker.

The Pacers are at a crossroads, trying to figure out if they are totally rebuilding or going for it next season after trading Domantis Sabonis to Sacramento in a big package that landed young point guard Tyrese Haliburton, among others.

Haliburton’s addition has made the Pacers evaluate the future of their incumbent point guard, Malcom Brogdon, whom the Knicks have some interest in as he’s a better defender and with more size than free agent Jalen Brunson. Brogdon is 6-foot-5 but comes with a heavy contract.

With the Knicks desperate for a playmaking point guard, the Pacers hold two potential targets in Turner and Brogdon.

If the Knicks can land Turner, that would lessen the need of re-signing Mitchell Robinson to a major deal. They have until June 30 to agree to a contract extension, with signs pointing to Robinson testing free agency.

“With Mitchell there has been ongoing discussions throughout the year with his agent and those discussions will continue, will continue for the remainder of the time till free agency,’’ Rose said on April 10 during his season-ending interview with MSG Network.

A wide view of signage during the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery at McCormick Place on May 17, 2022 in Chicago.
The Knicks stayed pat with the No. 11 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft lottery.
NBAE via Getty Images

The Knicks also have the 41st pick in the draft in the second round. They did well in the second round last year, adding Miles McBride and defensive center Jericho Sims, a poor man’s Robinson.

The Knicks are attempting to build through the draft and to land a big fish in a blockbuster trade.

“Absolutely, we have to stick to the plan, we have to build one block at a time, be patient,’’ Rose said last month. “We feel like we’re set up really well. We’ve got 13 draft picks over the next three drafts, four first-round picks. With regard to opportunities that may come along, we’re very flexible. We want to show patience, we want to show prudence in making those decisions and continuing to develop what we have.

Rose has not talked to the print media since September, even getting a playful jab from MSG’s Mike Breen about his reticence. He was not expected to talk Tuesday after the lottery unless the Knicks moved up.

“I want to please the fans,’’ Rose said on MSG Network. “That’s very much important to me, important to this organization, from the standpoint of giving them something they can be proud of, they can root for, they can feel good about. Anything I can do to contribute to that, I wanna do it.’’

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