There’s little argument about the fact that Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson is the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. The big question becomes who he’ll play for at the next level, and that will, of course, be decided by the NBA draft lottery. In turn, the door is open for a number of teams to have a chance at him, but the New York Knicks remain a top option to monitor.
Although nothing has been openly stated about the Knicks’ draft plans, the chatter will begin to pick up in a big way after the lottery. But as things stand, there’s a silver lining in the team’s tough 2018-19 season, which is that they’re among the favorites to wind up with the first overall selection.
We’re going to take a dive into the current NBA draft outlook and the latest chances for the Knicks to wind up with Zion on their roster heading into the 2019-20 season.
Knicks’ Chances at No. 1 NBA Draft Pick, Zion Williamson
The lottery features a structure which will give the teams with the three worst records equal chances to land the No. 1 pick and also to wind up with a top-four selection. At the time this is being written, the Knicks hold the worst record in the NBA at 14-61, a mark which is 2.5 games worse than the next-closest team.
As Tankathon shows in their latest NBA draft lottery breakdown, New York is incredibly close to being a lock for the bottom three. This means they would hold a 14.0 percent chance at the No. 1 pick and a 52.1 percent chance to wind up with a pick between one-to-four.
Here’s a look at the standings for the 10 teams who have the best chance at a top choice, how many games back they are and their odds to receive the No. 1 pick.
- No. 1 New York Knicks, 0.0 games back: 14.0 percent chance
- No. 2 Phoenix Suns, 2.5 games back: 14.0 percent chance
- No. 3 Cleveland Cavaliers, 4.5 games back: 14.0 percent chance
- No. 4 Chicago Bulls, 6.5 games back: 12.5 percent chance
- No. 5 Atlanta Hawks, 13 games back: 10.5 percent chance
- No. 6 Atlanta Hawks from DAL, 15 games back: 9.0 percent chance
- No. 7 Memphis Grizzlies, 16 games back: 7.5 percent chance
- No. 8 Washington Wizards, 16.5 games back: 6.0 percent chance
- No. 9 New Orleans Pelicans, 17 games back: 4.5 percent chance
- No. 10 Los Angeles Lakers, 19 games back: 3.0 percent chance
Knicks’ Current Outlook for NBA Draft
The positive news following this NBA season is that the Knicks are primed with their best possible chance to land Williamson. Unfortunately, two other teams, likely the Suns and Cavaliers, are going to have the exact same chances, even though Cleveland has won five more games than the Knicks.
Beyond that, the Bulls and Hawks holding chances justs lightly lower at 12.5 and 10.5 percent will make things even more interesting. Obviously, it’s just a matter of New York getting a bit lucky and having the ping pong balls fall the right way. Of every team listed above, it’s hard to envision any of them except a major point guard-needy team like the Phoenix Suns taking Ja Morant over Zion.
If by some chance the Suns are sold on drafting the Murray State star and wind up with the top pick, the Knicks could make a play by attempting to trade into that No. 1 spot.