Instead of earning the franchise-altering No. 1 overall pick at the NBA draft lottery Tuesday, the Knicks were handed the No. 3 selection.
The Knicks are likely going to benefit from drafting a freshman out of Duke, but it will not be Williamson, who is most likely headed to New Orleans.
It's understandable for the Knicks front office and their fans to be upset about earning the No. 3 pick, but they are still slated to get a player with plenty of upside in R.J. Barrett.
Barrett is the consensus No. 3 pick across mock drafts. Williamson is expected to go first and Ja Morant appears to be a safe pick for the Memphis Grizzlies at No. 2.
That leaves the Knicks with the opportunity to draft Barrett, who was seen as the top prospect in the draft class at one point.
ESPN.com's Jonathan Givony described Barrett as one of the few players in the draft class who can handle the spotlight of Madison Square Garden.
Barrett shared the spotlight with Williamson at Duke, and he took control of the team when Williamson was out injured.
The Canadian forward averaged 22.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, and during the stretch without Williamson, he averaged 24.8 points per contest.
The Athletic's Sam Vecenie noted Barrett fills a need on the wing that sticks out like a sore thumb on the Knicks depth chart.
Vecenie also pointed out that Barrett has the most upside of the players left on the board for the Knicks at No. 3, but he does need to work on his jump shot more in order to maximize his success.
Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman says Barrett still needs to work on his shot selection and scoring efficiency, but he has top-notch instincts that should help him in New York.
SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell shared the same concerns about Barrett's shot selection and noted if he can become a more willing passer, he has a successful career in front of him.
Barring an unexpected move by the Grizzlies, the Knicks are in line to take Barrett, who belongs in the upper echelon of prospects along with Williamson and Morant.
However, there is one thing that could prevent the Knicks from selecting Barrett.
New York could look to package the No. 3 pick as part of a trade for Anthony Davis. According to Stadium's Shams Charania, the Knicks were going to look at a trade for Davis if they got the No. 1 pick.
"I'm told if the Knicks get the No. 1 overall pick, they will shift their focus toward a potential deal for Anthony Davis," Charania said before the lottery Tuesday.
Of course, the No. 3 pick is not as valuable of a trade chip as the top selection, but it could still hold value if the Knicks want to go after Davis.
The Knicks could package the third pick with a few young stars for Davis, which would then allow the Pelicans to reboot their franchise with college teammates Williamson and Barrett.
Charania reported after the lottery that Davis' stance on a trade has not changed, which means it could be an avenue for the Knicks to explore in the buildup to the draft.
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Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.