The time has come.
When is the lottery and how do I watch it?
8:30 PM tonight on ESPN -- that is *before* Game 1 of Rockets-Warriors.
What picks could the Knicks get and what are their odds?
Combinations of numbered ping-pong balls are drawn out of a big machine. There are 1,000 possible combinations. The Knicks have the second-best lottery odds, with 199 combinations out of 1,000 that could give them the first draft pick. They could pick as high as 1 and as low as 5. Only the Wolves have better odds than they do. The 76ers are right below the Knicks. Here's the odds breakdown for those 3 teams:
Yeah. The likeliest pick of the five options is fourth BUT it's likelier that the Knicks get a top-three pick (558 combinations, or 55.8%) than not. Nicer to think of it the second way.
What should I be watching for?
Odds favor the Knicks, so you're just looking to see if teams later in the lottery (i.e. earlier in the selection) aren't landing where they're expected. Every team can either move into the top 3, stay put, or drop. Lower-odds teams can't rise just a little bit.
So, if a team with low odds doesn't come up when it's supposed to -- like if the 13th pick gets announced and the Suns haven't been announced -- that means they're in the top 3. The more that happens, the more we must worry the Knicks are dropping.
The Sixers are a bit of a wild card. They could potentially own like 19 lottery picks because they are savage hoarders. As far as the Knicks are concerned, though, they're just the team with the third-best odds.
Also, if I remember correctly, there's always a commercial break before they do the top 3. If the Knicks make it into that group, that's going to be the longest commercial break ever.
Why is this such a big deal?
The Knicks just played the worst season in team history. Their only reward for that is good lottery odds, which, if they're smart, could get them an extremely promising young player on a rookie contract. That would be great!
No matter what happens, this is going to be the Knicks' highest draft pick since 1986, when they drafted Kenny Walker fifth. That was the second year of the lottery. The first year of the lottery -- 30 years ago -- they got Patrick Ewing with the first pick. He was good.
Who is representing the Knicks at the lottery?
How can I prepare?
Did you freeze an envelope? Take it out of the freezer tonight!
Did you write a letter to an unfairly scorned bad Knicks draft pick? There's still time!
Did you remove your spleen as an offering to the basketball gods? No? Get to it!
If you've done that, all that's left is visiting the Temple of Athena Nike and praying to the Greek basketball gods...which Tina Cervasio took care for us:
Thank you so much, Tina. I also wrote "199" on my hand, because that's the number of ping-pong ball combinations out of 1,000 that would grant the Knicks the first pick, and because I'm lame as hell.
Will the Knicks trade their pick?
Not tonight. The Knicks can -- and might -- trade their pick for other picks around draft night. The Knicks cannot trade their pick for active players before draft night. That shit's all in June and July, and not to worry about right now.
If I missed anything, an explanation of the entire lottery process is here. If you have more questions you want me to answer, I can add them.