Tonight’s 2023 NBA draft lottery could finally close the book on the Kristaps Porziņģis trade.
In January, 2019, the New York Knicks sent Porziņģis with Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Courtney Lee to the Dallas Mavericks for DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, Dennis Smith Jr., a 2021 1st round draft pick, and a top-10 protected 2023 1st round draft pick. (h/t basketball-reference.com)
The Mavericks enter tonight holding the lottery’s 10th spot. As explained by Peter Botte in today’s NY Post, “If one of the four teams behind them moves up to secure one of the top three picks in the draft, the Mavericks would slide back and the pick would be conveyed to the Knicks.”
These teams will be participating in tonight’s draft lottery:
1. Detroit Pistons (17-65)
2. Houston Rockets (22-60)
3. San Antonio Spurs (22-60)
4. Charlotte Hornets (27-55)
5. Portland Trail Blazers (33-49)
6. Orlando Magic (34-48)
7. Indiana Pacers (35-47)
8. Washington Wizards (35-47)
9. Utah Jazz (37-45)
10. Dallas Mavericks (38-44)
11. Orlando Magic (40-42)
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (40-42)
13. Toronto Raptors (41-41)
14. New Orleans Pelicans (42-40)
Dallas had a shot of making this year’s play-in game but tanked the last two games of their season instead. By avoiding the play-in tourney, Mark Cuban and the Mavs hoped to block their draft pick from conveying to the Knicks. Cuban is still sore about losing Jalen Brunson to New York. Wah.
The NBA docked the Knicks’ 2025 second-round drank pick as punishment for violating tamper rules in pursuit of Brunson. The Mavs were fine $750,000 for their shameful tankery.
Tonight, Cuban’s club has a 20.2% shot of falling out of the top ten tonight, 14.9% odds of jumping to the top four, and 3% odds of securing number one.
A pick in this year’s draft would give the Knicks a few options. They could use it to select a young shooter or a power forward (I’ve heard good things about Taylor Hendricks). Otherwise, New York could bundle the pick in a trade, perhaps for a star.
All is not lost if the pick doesn’t convey tonight. Per Botte, “It will remain top-10 protected in either 2024 or 2025, or else they would receive a second-round selection.”
So, if you want the Knicks to have a pick in this summer’s draft, work your voodoo and root for Orlando, OKC, Toronto, and / or NOLA.
The lottery will air at 8 p.m. EST, before Game 1 of the 2023 Western Conference finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets. Go Knicks!