Leon Rose has won over some skeptical Knicks fans since taking over as team president, hiring an established and respected coach in Tom Thibodeau, crafting a front office with proven names and filing the staff with coaches to develop the struggling young talent on the roster.
Now, Thursday night, he will see if he can be lucky.
Rose will sit on the virtual dais for the Knicks as the NBA conducts the draft lottery. The Knicks enter the night with the sixth-worst record at 21-45, one of eight teams left out of the league’s restart bubble. The Knicks will have a 9% shot at the top spot, a 27.6% chance of moving into the top three picks and a 37.2% chance of slipping into the top four. Their highest odds are to land the seventh spot (29.7%) and they are at 20.5% for the eighth spot. The lowest the Knicks could drop is to No. 10, but it's just a 0.1% shot.
The Knicks also have the Clippers' first-round pick (No. 27) and Charlotte’s second-rounder at No. 38. Since the coronavirus pandemic shut down college basketball last season and has limited workout opportunities, the Knicks are relying on the work they did in the last year paired with the addition of Walt Perrin, who arrived from the Jazz as a longtime scout, and Brock Aller, who was involved in Cleveland’s draft planning.
“First of all, with regard to the draft, that’s a process that goes on all year,” Rose said in an interview with MSG Network earlier this summer. “[General manager] Scott [Perry] and the scouts have been on that all year. With regard to that, we’ve continued with our draft calls. We’ve reviewed a ton of film and we are now currently Zoom interviewing the prospects for the draft. We obviously missed out on an NCAA Tournament. We don’t know what’s going to be for a combine. We’re going to make the most of it.”
The draft will be Oct. 12, which means the players selected will miss out on the offseason workouts the Knicks and the other seven teams left out were approved to hold. The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced late Tuesday that these teams can conduct voluntary workouts beginning Sept. 14 with a week of one-on-one activities. Teams can start group training activities on Sept. 21, which may include practices, skill or conditioning sessions and intrasquad scrimmages, and the continuation of daily COVID-19 testing. For this phase, according to the protocols set up by the league and NBPA, each team will create its own campus-like environment in its home city.