How Knicks could fall to sixth in lottery

On Saturday afternoon, it seemed as if the New York Knicks were destined to get a top-four pick in the NBA lottery.

Now, there is a (small) possibility that they could fall all the way to sixth.

Here's why:

With Monday's win over the Atlanta Hawks, the Knicks improved to 17-64 and moved into sole possession of 29th place in the NBA.

If they win their regular-season finale against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday and the Philadelphia 76ers lose their final game to the Miami Heat, the Knicks would finish the season in a tie with the Sixers.

The Knicks and Sixers would then split the lottery odds, giving each team a roughly 17.7 percent chance to win the top pick.

If neither the Knicks, Sixers nor Timberwolves end up with a top-three pick via the lottery, Minnesota would select fourth because it finished with the worst record. The Knicks or Sixers would select fifth, depending on which team won a tiebreaker determined by a random drawing overseen by the NBA.

If the Knicks lost to Philadelphia during that drawing, they would end up picking sixth in the draft.

Now, to be clear, there is a very small chance of the aforementioned scenario playing out.

ESPN's analytics projections state that a team with the third-worst record has a 96.5 percent chance of picking in the top five. So the Knicks should select in the top five no matter what happens Wednesday night.

Of course, New York can avoid falling into a tiebreaker with Philadelphia by losing to the Pistons on Wednesday night.

If they lose to Detroit, the Knicks will end up with sole possession of the second-worst record in the NBA. They could also end up tied with Minnesota for the league's worst record if the Timberwolves win their final game.

But even if the Knicks beat the Pistons and their worst-case scenario plays out, the organization could still end up with a quality prospect.

Many draft observers see six top-tier players in this year's draft class: Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor, D'Angelo Russell, Emmanuel Mudiay, Willie Cauley-Stein and Justise Winslow.

So you can make an argument that the Knicks wouldn't be in terrible shape if they end up with the sixth pick.

Still, the team has lost games all season long with the hope of attaining a top pick. So if they win their final three games -- and hurt their lottery chances in the process -- it would be a very fitting end to a forgettable season.

Question: What do you make of the Knicks winning their last two games? If they end up with a pick outside of the top three, should they trade the pick?