The NBA Draft Lottery didn’t go as poorly as possible for the New York Knicks, but it was still pretty bad. The Knicks, who had the second-best odds of getting the No. 1 overall pick, got the fourth one instead.
That result was, in a word, deflating.
“I think there’s no other way to look at it,” New York Daily News Knicks writer and Around The Horn panelist Frank Isola said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “The Knicks absolutely lost tonight. They were the only team that fell. The Lakers moved up and most of the other teams stayed in place. The Knicks were the one team that fell – from second to fourth. It’s a very disappointing result. You’re not going to get Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns.”
Other top prospects include guards D’Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay, small forward Justise Winslow and center Willie Cauley-Stein.
“Remember, there are good players in every draft,” Isola said. “Steph Curry is playing tonight in the Western Conference Finals, he was the MVP – he was once the seventh overall pick of the draft. So there are players available. It’s up to the team president and the scouting department to find that player.”
Speaking of the team president, Phil Jackson was not in attendance for the lottery Tuesday. Why not?
“I don’t know how to answer that one,” Isola said. “I think the optics of it, I don’t think it’s a good look. You’re the president of the team. You’re the face of the franchise. They’re paying you a lot of money. I’m sure Phil Jackson, it’s not something he wants to do. But remember something, guys. Who’s there tonight? We’re talking about Larry Bird. When you talk about the Mount Rushmore, you have Larry Bird here tonight representing the Indiana Pacers. I think Phil Jackson should be here. I understand some people are going to say, ‘Well, it’s not that big of a deal.’ Well, if it’s not that big of a deal, why did he take a contract that’s worth $60 million over five years? That, to me, seems to be a big deal. I think he should have been there.”
Is it possible that Jackson thought sitting on a podium and waiting for a number was beneath him?
“Maybe its a combination of that,” Isola said. “And don’t forget: Phil Jackson does have some health issues. If you guys remember when he’s on the bench when he was coaching, he would need a special chair to sit on. So I think that part of it would be uncomfortable. I tend to side with what you’re saying. I think that he would think it’s beneath him. But over the years, Pat Riley has sat here. Jerry West has sat here. And tonight, again, you had Larry Bird. And I get it. For some of these guys, it’s a free trip to New York. But you are talking about Larry Bird. If he can be here, why can’t a guy like Phil Jackson be here?”