New York Knicks: A recent history of draft lottery night

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New York Knicks Frank Ntilikina (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images) /

2017: Fell from seventh to eighth overall

The odds were slightly higher for the New York Knicks in the 2017 draft lottery. They were seventh and had the chance to nab the top pick, but fell to eighth. For the player that went No. 7, that proved somewhat costly. The Minnesota Timberwolves had that pick — which became Lauri Markkanen — and traded it to the Chicago Bulls as part of a package to acquire Jimmy Butler.

That worked well.

The Knicks selected Frank Ntilikina over Dennis Smith Jr. — a controversial pick since Smith was the known commodity and Ntilikina was a long-term development that better fit Phil Jackson‘s triangle offense. The “Zen Master” left his post days later.

Ntilikina’s two-year ride since has reveled in tribulations. From injuries to not fulfilling a point guard role and struggling to hit shots, it seems questionable if the Frenchman will sustain a long NBA career.

Trade rumors accompanied Ntilikina for most of the 2018-19 season, so maybe he plays for another team by the fall, but when Markkanen, De’Aaron Fox and Jayson Tatum each went just one-to-five picks ahead, it makes it frustrating for how close the Knicks were to a game-changer.

The top two picks have come into question, so it was not the worst outcome to lose the lottery. Markelle Fultz is already on his second team and Lonzo Ball‘s Lakers career has featured injuries and poor shooting. Ntilikina, though, has -1.8 Win Shares, second-worst behind Josh Jackson. Not good.