WASHINGTON — The pitfalls of the “protected picks,” beyond that they’re probably not going to translate as to a top-3 choice, is that the team that owns them — in this case, the Knicks — don’t have much control over when they convey.
So while this statement sounds terrific — “the Knicks have as many as four first-round picks in the 2024 draft” — it could be followed up quickly with “the Knicks have as little as one first-round pick in the 2024 draft.”
The topic was relevant Friday because the Knicks faced the Wizards, the team that owes Leon Rose a first-rounder because of a 2022 draft-day trade. As it stands a little less than a month into the season, that Wizards’ pick, in particular, doesn’t look good for New York.
At least for the upcoming draft.
We’ll tell you why in the explainer of the potential four 2024 Knicks first-round draft picks below:
The Wizards pick
How acquired: As part of the complex 2022 trades to dump Kemba Walker’s contract and clear space to sign Jalen Brunson.
2024 protection: Top-12.
What are chances it conveys: Not good.
The Wizards have looked bad, really bad, with a 2-10 record and a five-game losing streak after their 120-99 loss to the Knicks on Friday.
It was predictable with Jordan Poole and Kyle Kuzma as the top scorers.
Washington made a decision to tank in the offseason — dealing Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis for future assets — and this is the result.
The Knicks need them to be middle-of-the road and the Wizards look like a bottom dweller.
Still, Washington has no choice but to figure it out with those two score-first players.
Poole and Kuzma are signed for big money through 2027, which is also relevant to the Knicks because: if Washington’s 2024 pick doesn’t convey to New York, it becomes top-10 protected in 2025, then top-8 protected in 2026.
If it doesn’t convey by 2026, it becomes two second-round picks.
The Pistons picks
How acquired: Also in that 2022 draft-day trade to dump Walker’s salary
2024 protection: Top-18.
What are chances it conveys: Really not good.
The Pistons were supposed to be better after giving Monty Williams a huge contract but they started the season 2-10 with a nine-game losing streak heading into Friday against the Cavaliers.
Theoretically, they could turn it around — especially since Cade Cunningham is very talented — but it’s very unlikely their pick will fall outside of the top-18.
If it doesn’t convey in 2024, it becomes top-13 protected in 2025, then top-11 protected in 2026, then top-9 protected in 2027.
If it doesn’t convey by 2027, it becomes a second-round pick.
The Mavericks picks
How acquired: In the 2019 trade involving Kristaps Porzingis
2024 protection: Top-10.
What are chances it conveys: Really good!
The Mavericks are a win-now team and rolling to start with a 9-3 record and MVP-type performances from Luka Doncic.
They barely kept this pick away from the Knicks in 2023 by tanking away the end of the season, absorbing a $750,000 fine from the NBA so it could draft starting center Dereck Lively II.
Kyrie Irving is obviously an expert imploder so anything is possible but this pick looks like it’ll go to the Knicks.
The hope is that the Mavericks aren’t too good, however, and it falls in the mid 20s.
The Knicks’ own pick
How acquired: Via NBA rules
Where will it fall: Tough to say now but the Knicks are projected as a playoff team so we’ll guess it’ll be out of the lottery.
Assuming all the protected picks convey at some point (there’s also one coming from Milwaukee), Leon Rose has eight first-rounders to use — or trade — in the next four drafts.