The Knicks Tank has been in full effect over the last month as the team has greatly increased its odds to land one of the Top 3 picks in the NBA Draft.
Since a three-game winning streak that had them at 7-14 on Nov. 25, the Knicks have come crashing back to Earth, going 2-12 as their record has dropped to 9-26.
After their Christmas Day loss to the Bucks -- their fifth-straight -- the Knicks find themselves tied in the loss column with the Suns and Cavaliers (both at 8-26) for the worst record in the NBA. That puts them just a half game back of being in the No. 1 spot for the Draft Lottery.
In the next three spots behind the Knicks are the Bulls (9-25), Hawks (9-23), and Wizards (13-21).
Knicks head coach David Fizdale has placed an emphasis on player development over all else this season, recently racheting up the minutes for 19-year-old rookie Kevin Knox (who has been excelling), while at times cutting back the minutes for veterans like Enes Kanter and Courtney Lee.
With the Knicks still without Kristaps Porzingis (ACL surgery), who will be reevaluated in mid-February, the team should continue to trend in the right direction when it comes to the potential of landing a top pick next June.
Potential trades of Kanter (a pending free agent), Lee, and/or Tim Hardaway Jr. (if the team would rather get more flexible than rely on him as part of the future) could deplete the team further.
The issue for the Knicks and any team in the midst of a tank is that the new rules make it harder for the team with the worst record to actually wind up with the No. 1 pick in the Draft.
Under the new rules, the three-worst teams will all have a 14 percent chance to nab the No. 1 overall pick, with those three teams all having a 52.1 percent chance to get a Top 4 pick.
If the Knicks snag one of the Top 3 picks, they should be in good shape and have their choice of one of Duke's potentially franchise-altering talents: Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, or Cam Reddish.