New York Knicks: How a canceled season impacts the draft

RJ Barrett, New York Knicks. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
RJ Barrett, New York Knicks. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

With the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA Season still in question, let’s take a look at how a canceled season affects the New York Knicks and the draft.

The New York Knicks were going through yet another mess of a season when all NBA games were postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Since the initial announcement in early-March, no further decision has been made. Many believe the season could get canceled entirely.

Through 66 games, the Knicks owned a record of 21-45 and were 32.5 games behind the Eastern Conference top seed Milwaukee. They were also a game-and-a-half in front of the last ranked Cleveland Cavaliers.

With the sixth-worst record in the NBA, New York wasn’t off to their best start, but as of late, it wasn’t their worst start either. This season, although ugly, showed there might be a light at the end of the tunnel for Knicks fans.

Although they were 21-45, the New York Knicks had an opportunity to win 30+ games for only the fourth time since 2013-14. It wasn’t likely, but with 16 games left on the schedule, the opportunity was there.

If the NBA does return at all, the regular season will likely end and the league would head immediately to the playoffs. The New York Knicks season would be finished. Should that happen, the Knicks streak of missing the playoffs would extend to a seventh-consecutive season.

The Knicks would be back in the lottery again. With only the sixth-worst record, they would likely be towards the back end of the top-10. However, that’s far from a guarantee. Last season New Orleans finished with the eighth-worst record and managed to get the top pick which turned out to be Zion Williamson.

So there is a chance the Knicks could still potentially get a great pick in the 2020 draft, but I wouldn’t bet on it. This year’s draft class is the weakest in quite some time. Where they pick may not be quite as valuable as it has in recent seasons.

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The player most linked to the New York Knicks is North Carolina guard Cole Anthony. For a good part of his lone season with the Tar Heels, Anthony was injured. When healthy, the point guard averaged 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4.0 assists in 22 games.

Anthony would make a great addition to the Knicks young core of RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, and Kevin Knox. He might be the point guard the Knicks need to gel. This season the Knicks starting point guard for 36 of their 66 games was Elfrid Payton who averaged 10 points, 4.7 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game.

If Anthony does wind up being the guy for the New York Knicks, chances are he would be the starter in his rookie season at one point or another. However, that is far from a done deal yet.

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If the remainder of the season does get canceled, Anthony would be a great draft pick to help move the Knicks forward.