Most fan bases are able to comfortably shed the hangover of a league-worst season knowing a top draft pick awaits them. But for the Knicks, that feeling is getting a bit redundant. Only four years ago they were in the same position they’re in now—hoping for the top pick in the draft in April. Completely and entirely bottoming out in 2015 was supposed to ensure they wouldn’t be back there anytime soon. Of course, that wasn’t the case. And as a result, this offseason comes with an unprecedented amount of pressure in April for a team with 14 wins.
As if five straight seasons with fewer than 35 wins weren’t enough, the Knicks raised the stakes for summer 2019 when they traded away the best asset they’ve had since “asset” became part of NBA lexicon in order to make room for the best player in the NBA linked and linked and linked to NYC. By trading away Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks will have two spots for max contract free agents, and the hope is to pair Kevin Durant with either local product Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker. But should they whiff on KD, they’ll be forced to choose between signing a different max free agent in consolation or swallowing their pride and trucking through another year with a borderline collegiate roster.