Playing in Madison Square Garden, in the middle of Manhattan, is unique. Michael Jordan had some of his biggest games there, so did Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and countless others. Right in the middle of the nation’s largest media market, in front of boisterous and knowledgeable fans, the home to the Knicks is just a special stage for basketball.
Duke got to experience that beating Texas Tech in the Mecca Thursday night.
But with Knicks fans desperate to find their next savior and their team having the fifth-worst record in the NBA right now — which would mean a 10.5 percent shot at the top pick with the new lottery odds — the question seemed inevitable:
Could Williamson see himself playing for the Knicks?
His answer was essentially “sure, if they draft me” with some love for the Garden. Via Roger Rubin at Newsday.
“If they draft me, I would love to play for the Knicks,” Williamson said. “I don’t really care where I go — it’s just the experience of being in the NBA. Whoever wants me and sees the most in me, that’s who I want to play for.”
As for playing at Madison Square Garden… via ESPN.
“Forty-one games at the Garden, I mean, it would probably be incredible.”
Knicks fans and media handled this in their traditional understated way (*cough*).
Williamson is going to play next season in the NBA for whichever team lucks out and gets the No. 1 pick. Nobody is pulling an Eli Manning here, no team will be talked out of taking him. Also, remember under the new NBA lottery rules the three teams with the worst record each have a 14 percent chance of getting the top pick, fourth worst has a 12.5 percent chance, then the odds go 10.5, 9, 7.5 percent and on down the scale. Teams will still tank looking for a high pick, but the NBA’s new system is designed to discourage a total race to the bottom because the advantage is not that great. We’ll see.
Knicks fans — and Suns fans, Cavs fans, Hawks, fans, Bulls fans — should dream of landing Williamson. There is nobody quite like him. But let’s not twist what an 18-year-old said. He had fun in New York, but his future home is tied to ping-pong balls not he — nor anyone else — control. Fate will not determine his next team, random chance will.
And if the Knicks win that lottery, Twitter will fill with conspiracy theories. It’s the way of the world.