The Knicks will be wishing and swishing Tuesday night and hoping they’re not moping.
Team president Phil Jackson promised a surprise at the NBA Draft Lottery, and he chose his former teammate and inimitable MSG broadcaster Walt “Clyde” Frazier to represent the Knicks.
Looking for some much-needed luck, the Knicks are putting their faith in the hands of the man who helped them win their only two titles. If the Knicks don’t win the lottery, they likely will have the most interestingly dressed representative.
The last time another former Knicks great and key member of their championship teams sat on the stage was 32 years ago when Dave DeBusschere pounded his fist after winning the rights to draft Patrick Ewing first overall. Jackson certainly hopes history will repeat itself with Frazier styling and profiling on the dais Tuesday.
The Knicks will be seeded seventh Tuesday after losing a coin flip with the Timberwolves. (They both finished 31-51.) The Knicks have 5.3-percent odds of winning the lottery, a 6.03-percent chance of picking second and 6.98-percent chance of getting the third pick.
Their best odds are to pick seventh (57.24) or drop to eighth (22.65). They can’t fall any lower than 10th in the weighted system.
“We want to get the first pick,” Jackson said last week at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. “We’re rooting for those little balls.”
The Celtics, thanks to the Nets, have the best chance to win the lottery at 25 percent. The Nets sent Boston their 2017 first-round pick as part of the 2013 trade that brought Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn. The Nets had the worst record in the league this past season at 20-62.
The Suns have a 19.9-percent chance of winning the lottery, while the Lakers have 15.6-percent odds and the 76ers 11.9 percent.
The last time the Knicks were in the lottery was two years ago. General manager Steve Mills represented the Knicks on stage, wearing DeBusschere’s Hall of Fame ring for luck. But the second-seeded Knicks, dropped to fourth, where Kristaps Porzingis fell into their lap.
With Porzingis, Joakim Noah, Willy Hernangomez and Kyle O’Quinn under contract, Jackson said the Knicks likely would target a perimeter player.
“We got a lot of bigs,” Jackson said. “Everyone wants a great big player right now. We have four centers, guys with experience. We have power forwards. Right now we’re looking for wings and guards.”
This draft is point-guard heavy with Washington’s Markelle Fultz and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball expected to go one and two, respectively. But the top five picks could be “wings or guards” as Kansas forward Josh Jackson, Duke forward Jayson Tatum and Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox are projected to go three, four and five.
The Knicks interviewed Fultz and Fox at the combine. The other top prospects didn’t attend.
If the Knicks stay where they are at seventh, Kentucky guard Malik Monk, who is more of a shooter than a point guard, could be available. Monk’s college coach John Calipari believes he will make an impact in the NBA.
“Malik Monk is special,” Calipari said. “Special. There’s stuff that he does: You iso him. He can play a one, a two, heads on the rim, fast, good with the ball. He scores but he can do other things. Defensively he can be that guy.”
If the Knicks fall to eight, nine or 10, they could take French point guard Frank Ntilikina. Reportedly, Mills went to France to scout Ntilikina. Another possibility is North Carolina State point guard Dennis Smith.
Nine of the projected top 10 picks played one year of college. The other, Ntilikina, turns 19 in July.
“This is a deep draft,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said. “They’re all young. You still have to deal with young guys. But I think these young guys are coming with different attitudes now. I think it’s so much different now that every year guys are coming out young. They’ll probably get acclimated a little better now than they did maybe 10, 12 years ago when guys came out that young.”
Odds to get the No. 1 pick
Celtics (via Nets) 25%
Knicks’ Lottery odds
No. 1 pick — 5.3%
No. 2 pick — 6.03%
No. 3 pick — 6.98%
No. 4 pick — 0%
No. 5 pick — 0%
No. 6 pick — 0%
No. 7 pick — 57.24%
No. 8 pick — 22.65%
No. 9 pick — 1.78%
No. 10 pick — 0.03%