The New York Knicks will not be taking part in the NBA Draft Lottery spectacle this year, but they are reportedly interested in moving up in the draft. While many teams have built the backbone of their rosters with lottery picks, the Knicks have not found that kind of success.
While hindsight is 20/20, one can’t help but imagine how the Knicks would look currently had they not whiffed in previous NBA Draft classes. Frank Ntilikina was selected over Donovan Mitchell in 2017, for example. New York would look a lot different with an All-Star guard in the fold.
While 2017 looks to have been a mistake, 2018 was even worse. New York went with Kentucky forward Kevin Knox II with the No. 9 overall pick. Knox II was thought of as a high-upside prospect oozing with potential. While we have seen some flashes of that potential, it has not been consistent enough, as he was removed from the rotation this season.
Again, one cannot help but imagine the position the team would be had they gone in a different direction. Selected immediately after Knox II was Mikal Bridges, someone New York had seen multiple times in their building as he played for Big East powerhouse, Villanova. He seemed to be the one player the team was going back and forth on with Knox II but ultimately went with the boom or bust prospect over the safer player in Mikal Bridges.
Selected 11th overall was Knox II’s Kentucky teammate, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. New York has had a hole at the point guard position seemingly forever; SGA could have been their long-term answer there. To be fair, he did need some development as a point guard and has blown away expectations thus far.
At No. 12 was Miles Bridges out of Michigan State. The high flying forward has begun developing the rest of his game, turning into an efficient scorer this season, knocking down 50.3 percent of his shots, 40 percent from the 3-point line and 86.7 percent from the foul line. Given the hole New York has at small forward, it would have been nice having this Bridges in the fold, as well.
The one player that people truly point to as the biggest miss was Michael Porter Jr., who ended up landing with the Denver Nuggets at No. 14. Porter Jr. was considered by some to be the top prospect in this class and the conversation to be the No. 1 overall pick.
Knowing that, selecting someone else at No. 9 makes little sense. However, passing on Michael Porter Jr. was a logical decision at the time, as he was coming off a serious back injury. Unlike Denver, who had a good roster in place, the Knicks were not in a position to take such a risk. With their luck, he would have never gotten healthy enough to play.
While Knox still has time to develop into a solid NBA player, as he is still only 21 years old, it looks unlikely that it will occur in New York. He looks to be another in a long line of Knicks’ draft misses with potential All-Stars being selected in the picks after in Michael Porter Jr., Mikal Bridges, Miles Bridges, and last but not least, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.