GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Knicks fans might have to endure yet another year of hard times for the franchise to fully right itself.
This, in essence, was the message Knicks president Phil Jackson delivered Tuesday, six days after the team concluded its worst season in franchise history.
The Knicks, whose 17-65 record was the second-worst in the NBA this season, have a 55.8 percent chance of landing one of the top three draft picks. Ideally, the Knicks would love to get a high draft pick and build from there, even though it could take a couple of years.
"The reality is we want to grow a star through this system that'll be here for 15 years and a career," Jackson said. "We love the fact that 30 years ago Patrick Ewing, the Knicks, who I think were third in the lottery system at that time, came out first and he was a player with this organization for over 15 years. And that moved the franchise in a way that everyone recognizes.
"We think there are a couple of players in this draft that might be able to do that. So we're certainly not going to walk away from a situation like that, even if it takes you know, the fact that we might have to sit on our hands for a year in the growth process and watch Carmelo [Anthony] come back off of injury and then regenerate in another year after this and provide more support as we go forward. But we think that the first few draft picks are capable NBA players. They may not be 40-minute players - they may be 20-minute players, but I think they're going to help a team."
Jackson did say he would be open to trading a draft pick that wasn't in the top four.
"Yes. We'll consider everything," Jackson said. "I mean, I want to be quite blunt with you and say, depending upon the lottery - everything starts when the picks come in on the 19th of May. Everything starts to germinate from there. Do you move a pick 1, 2, 3 or 4? Um, that's questionable. Do you move a pick five if that's the end result and use it as a chip? Maybe. So there's a lot of options out there."