What's next for the New York Knicks after missing out on Duke star Zion Williamson?
The Knicks should not be too disappointed with their third overall pick following the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery. Knicks' fans have nobody but themselves to blame by acting as if the number one pick was practically theirs over the last month or so.
Who could blame them though? Ever since their 2013 second-round exit, the Knicks have looked trapped in tanking purgatory due to owner James Dolan's radical and directionless leadership.
2019 brought something fans could be excited about in the form of Zion Williamson.
2016 brought a similar type of anticipation when the Knicks drafted Kristaps Porzingis. At first, there was a wave of slight anger towards the pick, but Porzingis gave the Knicks fans hope and a possible escape from that purgatory.
Knicks fans flocked to stores to buy themselves their very own Porzingis jersey. In only his second year, Porzingis finished seventh in jersey sales, but come trade deadline this year all of the Porzingis love would soon come to an end just as quick as it began. They traded Porzingis to Dallas for a hopeful future rather than a promising present.
The Knicks gave up the face of their franchise for Dennis Smith Jr, DeAndre Jordan, and Wesley Matthews alongside two future first-round picks. While some fans began to get out their lighters ready to set his jersey to flames, some fans dove deeper.
The trade was not about Jordan, Matthews or Smith Jr. It was about cap space. The idea of cap space in an offseason with players such as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving brought hope back into the hearts of Knicks fans. It did not just stop here though. There was another avenue for hope, Zion Williamson.
Media, throughout the whole season, spent countless hours talking about the Knicks getting the number one pick. Williamson was dubbed the savior of the Knicks before they even finished the season. Fast forward to the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery and New York's hope quickly faded.
There are for teams left in contention for the first pick the Grizzlies, Knicks, Pelicans, and Lakers. All three teams besides the Knicks were not supposed to be there. The media did not train fans for this. It was supposed to be, "What if Zion were to go the Knicks', 'what if Zion were to go to Suns or even the Cavaliers."
The league announces the Lakers will receive the fourth pick in the draft, and Knicks fans across the world let out a sigh of relief. Knicks' fans then let out a violent rampage of anger, and an overarching wave of disappointment fell over the fan base.
The Knicks were to receive the third pick in the draft.
Zion Williamson was officially off the table for the Knicks. No longer could people look to Williamson as a future beacon of Knicks greatness. Despite all this, the future still looks bright for the New York Knicks.
As of now, the Knicks drafting RJ Barrett already looks like a done deal. Although Barrett is no Williamson, and we certainly saw that at Duke, he still projects to be an all-star type of player. Barrett can score at all three levels while being an exceptional playmaker at the same time. Along with Barrett, the Knicks have had their name connected to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant all season and Knicks fans know it.
Although the possibility of getting both superstars is certainly exciting, let us not get too ahead of ourselves as fans did with Williamson. With so many rumors involving Irving and Durant heading to the Big Apple, it would be an absolute travesty for the Knicks and their fans if they are not able to secure at least one of the two superstars in the offseason. The chance of Barrett teaming up alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving makes the Knicks future look the brightest it has in a long time.
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