Despite only having a 2.5 percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NBA draft, the New York Knicks still plan to scout Slovenian sensation Luka Doncic.
To be sure, this is standard practice. Every lottery team has no doubt checked him out. But the Knicks’ top execs are expected to sneak in some in-person evaluations as they head overseas to interview former Cleveland Cavaliers head honcho David Blatt for their coaching vacancy.
Here’s Newsday‘s Al Iannazzone with the details:
Team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry have done interviews on the East Coast and the West Coast and will meet with former Cavaliers coach David Blatt this week in Europe. While they’re overseas, they’re expected to scout some European players, including Slovenian guard Luka Doncic, who is projected to be a high lottery pick.
If you need any more evidence to support the notion New York should have started tanking long before Kristaps Porzingis’ ACL injury, this would be it.
The Knicks do not necessarily need to win the lottery to snag Doncic. Most mock drafts have Deandre Ayton going No. 1 these days. But almost no one has Doncic falling lower than fourth overall, and the Knicks are currently slotted in the No. 9 spot. They’ll need to jump into the top three in order to have a shot at landing him—something they have an 8.7 percent of doing.
Assuming the lottery gods don’t smile down upon them, though, the Knicks will instead be looking at lower-end wings, most notably Mikal Bridges. But it doesn’t hurt to scout, or to look, or to dream. A Doncic-Porzingis tandem could go places together, and the Knicks would be smart to take him no matter where they land in the top three. But again: They must first get into the top three. And where they had control over their positioning about six months ago, they’re at the behest of pingpong balls now.