Phil Jackson hints he’s going to make a pick at No. 4, not trade it. But who?

24 Comments

What is Phil Jackson going to do with the Knicks’ No. 4 pick if Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor and D’Angelo Russell are off the board when it’s his turn Thursday night?

The conventional wisdom is he would trade it, find a team that coveted Kristaps Porzingis and was willing to swap picks and give up a reliable veteran to move up. 

Don’t bet on it.

Sounds more like Jackson is going to use that pick unless someone steps up with a better offer and blows his doors off. Jackson met with the New York media on Tuesday, and here’s what he said, via Marc Berman at the New York Post.

“We’re listening,’’ Jackson said. “We’re not soliciting so much, but we are listening.’’

Asked the percentage of striking a deal on Thursday’s Draft Night to turn the fourth pick into multiple assets, Jackson said, “Short percentage. Small percentage.’’

So who does he take? Don’t bet on Porzingis — the seven-footer may have upside, but he’s years away from fully showing it. The Knicks don’t have that kind of time (and are not a franchise exactly know for player development). Plus, Jackson noted that Porzingis cramped up and couldn’t finish the workout the Knicks put him through.

There’s been buzz that the Knicks are looking at Wisconsin’s star big Frank Kaminsky. Jackson may be enamored because Kaminsky’s skill set fits the triangle — he is comfortable playing on the block or out on the perimeter. 

“We’re looking for mature kids who have a reasonable understanding of their skills and have had some success in the past because of it,’’ Jackson said.

Sources have indicated Jackson is looking at this draft for a player who can help immediately. When asked directly if older players are good or bad, Jackson said, “It seems to be a negative at this particular time in the history of the NBA, but it’s really a positive for a lot of teams looking to have a player to move into the lineup right away. He doesn’t have to be nurtured and trained.’’

I’m with PBT’s draft expert Ed Isaacson (as discussed on the PBT Podcast) — if Russell is off the board, the Knicks should take Justise Winslow, the small forward out of Duke. He would instantly be the best defender on New York’s roster, he’s got the kind of skills the Knicks need on the wing with the triangle, and the biggest knock is he needs to improve his shooting, yet he shot 41 percent from three last season. I think he’s a future All-Star in the NBA.