The War Room at the MSG Training Center has been set up for a week now and the 10-hour days have been punched on the time cards of everyone from the part-time scouts all the way up to Knicks president Donnie Walsh. Thursday that room will be filled with the typical anxious buzz as the NBA draft is held a half-hour away at the WaMu Theatre at the Garden. The Knicks hold the eighth overall pick and are targeting Davidson guard Stephen Curry.
In what is viewed as a critical draft for the Knicks, who don't own a first-round pick in 2010, Walsh and his staff Wednesday put in a feverish day trying to recover after their attempt to move into the No. 5 spot - and ensure Curry as their pick - was trumped by a bold move from the Timberwolves. Though the Knicks still believe they will need to move up to land Curry, who is considered the best fit for them in this draft, there is an outside chance - very slim - the NCAA's leading scorer could fall to them at No. 8.
Curry, who has stated that he would prefer to land with the Knicks - who are owned by Cablevision, which also owns Newsday - Wednesday believed "the chances are pretty good" and he remained hopeful that he'll be putting on a Knicks cap.
"I want to go high, but you want to be in a spot where you'll be productive on the court and you'll fit in with the style of play they run and the Knicks really fit how I play so, that's what I'm hoping," he said. "But once it comes down to it, wherever I go I'm not going to be one of those guys that says, 'Aw no . . .'"
That'll be left to the Knicks fans that crowd the Theatre hoping for some rare fortune to shine on this long-lost franchise. And it's been a while since there was a true New York roar on draft night.
There is a consensus on the first pick, which will be Oklahoma power forward Blake Griffin, who will go to the Los Angeles Clippers. After that it remains anyone's guess. That is why the Knicks are preparing for every possible scenario and, yes, still trying to find a way to move up in the draft. Walsh and Glen Grunwald were working on picking up another pick later in the first round, with either of Minnesota's choices at 18 or 26 as possibilities, among others.
ESPN Wednesday reported that the Knicks and Grizzlies were working on a trade that would exchange a pair of expiring contracts, swingman Quentin Richardson for center Darko Milicic, which suggests that Memphis was clearing a place for UConn center Hasheem Thabeet with the No. 2 pick.
If Curry is lost in the earlier picks - he could wind up in Minnesota (Nos. 5 and 6) or Golden State (No. 7) - the Knicks' best-case scenario would be that Memphis guard Tyreke Evans would somehow slip. Another long shot would be Spanish guard Ricky Rubio.
UCLA guard Jrue Holiday is also in the conversation, but despite having what scouts see as a tremendous upside, he is viewed as a project.
If Walsh lands a late first-rounder, he could do so to package it for a chance to move up or use it to nab Gonzaga center Austin Daye.