New York Knicks: Cap Space and First-Round Draft Pick Will Save the Day


If you follow the New York Knicks,  you are probably feeling pretty hopeless, angry, and frustrated. Let’s face the truth; there is not much to be excited about this season.  The Knicks aren’t making the playoffs, nor will they even come close to finishing with a .500 record.  Despite these atrocities, there is hope.

According to ESPN,  Phil Jackson wrote a letter and sent a video to season ticket holders, asking for their patience and optimism.  The message likely did not bode well with some fans, and rightfully so.  Season tickets are an investment.  Surely, those fans who paid thousands of dollars to see the Knicks were hoping for more than 14 wins by April 1st.

Notably, however, Jackson did make a few points, which in the midst of this horrible season, should give Knicks fans something to look forward to in the future.

First, he cites the $25 Million in cap space the Knicks will have going in to this summer.  While the team saw the departure of Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, and Amar’e Stoudemire, they enter this summer’s free agency with a bulk of money to spend.  With the fruitful list of potential free agents, including Marc Gasol, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, and many others, this should give fans something to be excited about.  Undoubtedly, the Knicks will target a high-caliber player who will jolt the team in some regard.

Next, Jackson asserted that “For the first time in many years, we expect to have a top pick in the NBA draft this June.”  In big Phil’s defense, at least two other times in New York Knicks history, the team has slumped over the course of many seasons, drafted a high first-round pick, and turned things around for years to come.

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For instance, in 1966, with the 1st pick of the draft, the Knicks selected Cazzie Russell.  In 1967, the Knicks selected Walt Frazier with the 5th pick of the draft.  Including those two seasons, the team would go on to make 9 playoff appearances.  These high draft picks were part of a major turnaround, given that the Knicks did not make the playoffs for 7 seasons leading up to the 1966 NBA Draft.

Further, in 1985, the Knicks again for the first time in many years, had the 1st pick of the draft.  They selected future hall of famer Patrick Ewing.  This selection was crucial to the team, who had only made the playoffs 3 times in the prior 7 seasons.

Nov 5, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Charlotte Bobcats assistant coach Patrick Ewing during the first half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Just one year after obtaining Ewing, the Knicks returned to dominance, making 14 straight playoff appearances.  The moral of the story?  Free agency money matters.  Draft picks matter.  As history has shown, teams improve during free agency, and specifically, the Knicks have turned it around every time they have had a high 1st round draft pick.  Look at the bright side of things:  when you are at the bottom, there is only one direction to go.  Further, when the proverbial NBA team ship is sinking, there are few other people I’d rather have behind the helm besides Phil Jackson.  They say Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Jackson has had one year in office so far, and at this point, it seems premature to give up all hope.

Next: Who was the best Knicks PG of all-time?

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