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How Knicks can still benefit from the lottery

Cleveland's Ramon Sessions drives to the basket against

Cleveland's Ramon Sessions drives to the basket against the Lakers' Pau Gasol in the second half. Sessions had a season-high 32 points off the bench as the Cavs stunned the Lakers, 104-99. (Feb. 16, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

 The Cavaliers spent the entire season in the NBA basement, but it took the Clippers' slot -- and a 2.9 percent chance -- to get them the No. 1 pick. Regardless, tonight's lottery gave Cleveland (via the Clips as part of the Baron Davis trade) the right to make the first overall choice in this year's NBA draft and the Minnesota Timberwolves, with the worst record, landed at No. 2.

The Knicks weren't in the lottery for the first time since 2007 (the second of two picks yielded to Chicago in the Eddy Curry trade), but the results of the drawing could set up an opportunity for them.

For one, the Cavaliers certainly have to strongly consider taking Duke point guard Kyrie Irving with the first overall pick. Irving is widely regarded as the top player in what many scouts and team executives are calling an extremely shallow draft. The Cavs already have Davis, whom they traded for last season, and yet also have Ramon Sessions. If they take Irving, you'd have to expect Sessions would be available.

Mike D'Antoni has wanted Sessions since 2009, when he was a restricted free agent. The 25 year old point guard is from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina -- yes, the same place where D'Antoni's brother, Knicks assistant coach Dan D'Antoni, coached high school ball -- and both D'Antoni's feel Sessions would be a perfect fit in this offense. 

But if the Cavs decide they like their PG situation and prefer to fill the place LeBron vacated on the wing, then perhaps they go with Arizona's Derrick Williams. If that's the case, then how could the Timberwolves pass on Irving?

Sure, they already have a young point guard in Jonny Flynn and then there's Ricky Rubio, who has that escape clause in his contract with Regal FC Barcelona this summer if he wants to jump to the NBA. T-Wolves GM David Kahn has to fish or cut bait on this asset and if Irving is sitting there for him at No. 2, perhaps he has a reasonable excuse to bail out and trade Rubio. 

Of course Kahn can do what he does best on draft night -- keep everyone guessing and scratching their heads -- and pass on Irving to select a big man such as Enes Kanter to play with Kevin Love. But that would be putting a lot of faith in Flynn, who has Luke Ridnour there to provide support (the Knicks would certainly be willing to grab him, as well, to back up Chauncey Billups).

Something to keep in mind is that all of the above makes Toney Douglas suddenly expendable.

The Utah Jazz pick third, courtesy of the Nets and the Deron Williams trade and the Jazz can look to replace Williams with, say, Kemba Walker or Brandon Knight.

Fixers, no, Kemba won't tumble to No. 17 to become a Knick.

But will Jimmer Fredette? He's slated as a late lottery pick right now and the Jazz have their own pick at No. 12 and can you really see the Salt Lake City team passing up on the BYU superstar? That would be like the Jacksonville Jaguars passing on Tim Tebow.

Oh wait . . .

The Knicks will collect their range of targets, but from what I hear there isn't a specific need in focus. This will be one of those "best player available" selections, which means a lot will depend on how the draft goes.

One name to watch: Klay Thompson of Washington State, a player that Fixer buddy (and college basketball expert) Jon Rothstein has been promoting as a great fit for the Knicks. Thompson has unlimited range and the Knicks need that at the shooting guard spot.

Could he be yet another Mark Hughes find in the Pac-10?

 

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