It's Shaping Up to Be a Quiet Draft Night

Neither the Knicks nor the Nets have a pick in the first round

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Moe goes pro on Thursday night.

    The Knicks and Nets are both set to do a lot of watching during Thursday night in Newark, N.J., which you'll note no longer has an NBA team, making it the perfect place for the NBA Draft.

    The Knicks have the 48th pick and the Nets have the 57th selection, both of which fall well past the point in the draft that you can do anything other than throw a dart and hope it works out for you. 

    Both teams lost their picks in trades with an eye on days yet to come. The Knicks shipped their pick to Houston in the Tracy McGrady trade/desperate attempt to clear cap space before the summer of 2010, a move that has paid off in some impressive names on the roster without much in the way of playoff victories.

    It's still a better trade than the Nets made. Even though they were locked into another lottery season, they dealt their pick, protected only if they got one of the three picks, to Portland for Gerald Wallace last season.

    Wallace, now a free agent, was hurt and ineffectual on an awful team and the pick wound up as the sixth in the first round. The thinking was likely tied to ideas of keeping Deron Williams around, but the Nets knew by the time they made the deal that they weren't getting Dwight Howard in a trade. And, honestly, is Wallace more likely to make someone stick around an otherwise bad team for several years than UConn's Andre Drummond or some other player with the potential to be better than Wallace?

    Even if they had kept the pick, the draft wouldn't matter much to the Nets. Their entire future resides in Williams' decision to lead the team into Brooklyn or head elsewhere.

    If he stays, the Nets can resume the Howard hunt or move in different directions content with one true star on the marquee for their new building. If he leaves, though, the Nets could well have an A-list arena filled by a Z-list team.

    The Nets are pitching Williams hard (Happy Birthday, buddy!), but so are the Mavericks -- Williams is from outside Dallas -- and others may stick their noses in the mix once July 1 rolls around. The Nets can offer more money, but now they've got to figure out a way to offer something resembling winning basketball to get Williams to stick around. 

    But there's one real local reason to watch the proceedings. Moe Harkless (or Maurice, as he'd now like to be known) left St. John's after his freshman season and most projections have him going in the middle of the first round, with Chad Ford of ESPN predicting he'll go to the Rockets with the pick they got from the Knicks.

    The Johnnies will miss Harkless, but it has been a long time since anyone from the school made a splash at the next level. It won't help either of the city's two teams win next season, but it's something to take away from an otherwise quiet draft night. 

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.