“In an alternate universe, in which the Knicks never traded for Eddy Curry, they might be pondering another dozen intriguing prospects who will fill out the upper half of the first round,” writes the New York Times’ Howard Beck. Instead, Beck quotes Knicks President Isiah Thomas who expects us to believe “there are no saviors in the draft after Durant and Oden, and that every player taken from Nos. 5 to 35 will have comparable potential.”   So being stuck at no. 23 overall is just as useful as Boston at no. 5, right? Maybe Isiah can repackage his no. 23 pick for Jermaine O’Neal?

There are widespread reports that Thomas has already locked in on the rangy DePaul forward Wilson Chandler. The 6-foot-8 Chandler averaged 14.7 points and 6.9 rebounds as a sophomore last season and, like Trevor Ariza, Renaldo Balkman and David Lee, is an exceptional athlete. Like those players, Chandler has limited offensive skills and has been projected as a second-round pick.

The Knicks are also said to be fond of Daequan Cook, a 6-5 shooting guard from Ohio State. Thomas has sent signals that he would not draft another big man, which would rule out some of the other players being linked to the Knicks, including Glen Davis of Louisiana State and Sean Williams of Boston College.

Thomas seems comfortable with his big-man rotation of Curry, Lee, Frye and Randolph Morris, whom the Knicks signed ” through a loophole ” out of Kentucky in March.

There is a chance the Knicks could trade up in the draft, but they have already rejected at least one offer to move into the top 10. (Doing so would have cost them Lee and another key player, possibly guard Jamal Crawford.)

It would not be surprising if Thomas traded his draft pick, perhaps for a future pick. The Knicks already have an abundance of young players and they have 14 players, one short of the maximum, under contract for next season. Keeping their pick could prevent them from signing a free agent.