It almost seems cruel to force the New York Knicks to play out the remainder of the season, but them’s the breaks. In a match-up against the similarly victory-averse Orlando Magic Saturday night that absolutely defined the word “meaningless,” the two teams decided to go ahead and steer that train wreck right into the history books.
During the second quarter, the Magic (25-55) and Knicks (16-64) put together a brick fest that will forever live in infamy. They combined for a total of just 15 points, which made it the lowest scoring quarter in NBA history.
It almost didn’t matter that Tim Hardaway Jr. drained what ended up being the game-winning three-pointer with 12 seconds remaining and the game tied at 77-77.
Yet, but both teams have a reason to be optimistic about the future. The Magic have a nice young core with Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton, and Tobias Harris that could potentially evolve into an Eastern Conference threat for years to come.
The Knicks, likewise, will have a top five lottery pick in this summer’s NBA Draft, assuming that Phil Jackson doesn’t decide to trade it away at the last minute. There’s a handful of promising big men on the board to choose from, and the Knicks president has hinted that he’d like to go after Karl Anthony-Towns, depending on where the ping pong balls land.
New York is also projected to have about $26 million in cap space to work with, which they’ll leverage to try and land at least one of the big-name free agents that will become available this summer. They’ve said repeatedly that Marc Gasol is a top target for them, but that wouldn’t make much sense if they are able to land Towns, Jahlil Okafor, or any of the other centers in the draft, not to mention the fact that it’s unlikely Gasol would even entertain the idea of leaving the Grizzlies to climb aboard a giant question mark in New York.
A more likely scenario would be the Pistons’ Greg Monroe, who at the forward position would be a better fit alongside a rookie center, although that precise configuration has had mixed results in Detroit the past few years. That’s also predicated on whether the Knicks sabotage their chances to begin with by violating the league’s tampering rules.
The good news is that there’s only two games left before they can start looking forward to next season, when they are projected to win at least 63 games, according to Derek Fisher.