New York Knicks: Five reasons to not trade 2019 draft pick

New York Knicks Scott Perry, Steve Mills (Photo by Steven Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images)
New York Knicks Scott Perry, Steve Mills (Photo by Steven Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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New York Knicks
New York Knicks Scott Perry, Steve Mills (Photo by Steven Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The New York Knicks will have one of the 2019 NBA Draft’s highest selections, but there are reasons against trading it.

At 10-46, the New York Knicks own the NBA’s worst record. If the 2018-19 season were to end today, they would own the top lottery odds for June’s draft. That does not guarantee the first pick, but they can’t fall further than fifth in the final draft order, sixth if they have the second-best odds and seventh if they land third.

It’s no guarantee the Knicks keep this pick past draft night, however. That’s with their previous involvement in the Anthony Davis rumors, only for the Pelicans’ superstar to remain in New Orleans.

Whether for Davis or someone else, that first-round draft pick might be New York’s best asset to move for a star player via trade.

While tempting, there are reasons for the Knicks to stick to their plan and retain this selection, even with the monstrous 2019 offseason ahead that may reshape this franchise:

5. Stay on track with the rebuild

From the preseason, the New York Knicks made it clear, the 2018-19 season was always a “developmental” year. It’s a cleaner description of a “rebuild,” as the team sees who fits past this season and who doesn’t. Part of that process played out in the Kristaps Porzingis trade.

Along with this, president Steve Mills said the Knicks will not trade first-round draft picks. That, and the “developmental” label, was only five months ago.

The Knicks should stay on track with these plans. “Developmental” might just be this year, but if the front office strikes out in free agency, another year of losing and focusing on young players may be ahead.

Whoever that first round pick becomes can join this process, working to bring New York basketball back to prominence. Even if the Knicks find success in free agency, it’s still about working the pieces together to at least ensure a playoff appearance in the Eastern Conference.

Trading this pick, though, would revert to the old “win-now” moves that didn’t always succeed. Sure, none of the players acquired for first-rounders in previous Knicks transactions were of Anthony Davis‘ caliber, but as player power takes over the NBA, it’s difficult to know who will stick long term. It doesn’t matter how long their contract is.

Retaining this pick continues the Knicks’ original goal. Going against it sends them into a frantic stretch.