Report: ‘Optimism’ After Knicks Miss on Zion Williamson, No. 1 Pick in NBA Draft
Duke's Zion Williamson arrives for the NBA basketball draft lottery Tuesday, May 14, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nuccio DiNuzzo)

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Associated Press

At least one member of the New York Knicks organization expressed “positivity and optimism” about the team’s 2019 NBA draft outlook after Tuesday night’s lottery, even though New York missed out on the No. 1 overall pick, likely Duke freshman sensation Zion Williamson.

Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman provided an update Wednesday after the Knicks landed the third selection in the June 20 draft:

New York’s results could have been worse. It was tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns for the best chance to get the top pick at 14 percent. While the Knicks stayed inside the top three, the Cavs dropped to fifth and the Suns fell to sixth.

That’s an important distinction based on this year’s class.

Williamson may be in a tier by himself, but Blue Devils teammate RJ Barrett and Murray State point guard Ja Morant make up a terrific second tier. Barring a trade, the Knicks should end up with one of those coveted prospects to jump-start what could be a franchise-altering offseason.

After Barrett and Morant, there’s seemingly a drop-off to the likes of DeAndre Hunter from Virginia and Rui Hachimura from Gonzaga, among others.

If New York can land superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency, as has been heavily speculated in recent months, to pair with the No. 3 pick, the future is still incredibly bright.

The Knicks could enter next season with a starting lineup of Irving, Barrett, Durant, Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson with a high-upside bench featuring Dennis Smith Jr., Damyean Dotson, Allonzo Trier and Luke Kornet.

While that’s obviously dependent on whether the summer goes according to plan, it’s still more than enough to warrant the Knicks’ excitement about the future.

That’ll be easier to envision once the initial sting of not winning the lottery wears off.

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