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Knicks finish next to last, earning no less than No. 5 draft pick

Tim Hardaway Jr. of the New York Knicks

Tim Hardaway Jr. of the New York Knicks looks on against the Detroit Pistons at Madison Square Garden on April 15, 2015. Credit: Mike Stobe

The worst season in Knicks' history ended last night. Now one of their most anticipated offseasons begins.

The Knicks secured the NBA's second-worst record by falling, 112-90, to Detroit in their finale at the Garden. They finished up 17-65 in Derek Fisher's first season as coach and will have a 19.9-percent chance of getting the first overall pick in the June draft. The Knicks can't drop lower than fifth.

"It was obviously a difficult season for us as a team," Fisher said. "We were forced to deal with some realities. I think as long as we continue to take a true look in the mirror at a lot of what we have been and where we need to go, I think we'll be OK."

The Knicks had been in last place for most of the season. But they won their previous two games, allowing the skidding Timberwolves to slip below them.

Minnesota lost to Oklahoma City and finished one game worse than the Knicks. The T-Wolves will have a 25-percent chance of winning the May 19 NBA Draft Lottery.

Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns and Duke's Jahlil Okafor are considered the top two prospects in the draft.

"We have no control over the Ping-Pong balls," Fisher said. "And the last I checked my job is to try and win as much as we can even if it throws off people's thoughts about what we should be doing in the lottery.

"The message to the players and our fans would be the same: Any time you put on a New York Knick uniform you're supposed to go out and try to win -- period."

Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Knicks with 25 points and Cole Aldrich had 24 and 15 rebounds. Reggie Jackson's 24 points paced seven Pistons in double figures.

Now all eyes will be on team president Phil Jackson to see what he can do in free agency, where the Knicks should have about $30 million to spend. Pistons big man Greg Monroe is expected to be a main target, and some NBA insiders believe that he will end up on the Knicks.

Monroe said if Jackson wants to meet with him July 1, he'll be there.

"If they're interested, I'm going to [talk to them]," Monroe said after the morning shootaround.

"Guys know he obviously knows what it takes to win. He's Phil Jackson . . . He's been where everyone dreams about going who's playing in this league. He's coached many championship teams, so obviously he knows and understands what it takes to win."

Detroit wants to re-sign Monroe, and can offer him more money. Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy praised Monroe repeatedly.

"Greg's a very good player and the type of person that you want in your organization," Van Gundy said. "I'm a big fan."

It should be an interesting offseason for the Knicks, to say the least.

"I think you always have to be optimistic about where you can go and what you can do in the future," Fisher said. "We're going to get a chance to get good players. There's no doubt about that."

The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Knicks, Madison Square Garden and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.

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