Chris Paul took a seemingly rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder team into the playoffs this past season with an impressive 44-28 record.
New York has missed the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons, and while Knicks fans have wanted the team to avoid being stuck in the middle – not good enough to compete in the playoffs, but too good to earn a top draft pick – with the recent changing of the lottery odds, we have seen that playing terrible basketball doesn’t guarantee you a high draft pick anymore.
Depending on how you feel about RJ Barrett, the Knicks best prospect is someone they found in the second round. It’s debatable whether any of the other lottery picks that resulted from the past several seasons of losing will turn into anything of significance.
You don’t just rebuild in the draft. You also need to make trades and acquire free agents. And as the Knicks have painfully learned over the past few summers, it’s difficult to attract star players when the team is one of the worst teams in the league.
It turns out that being a good basketball team matters to free agents. If Chris Paul can help the Knicks win games in the near-term, don’t think it has to come at the expense of development. It would give the young players valuable time in meaningful games, while elevating the perception of the franchise, which should in turn help them attract top talent down the road.