New York Knicks: Scouted or not, Giannis Antetokounmpo was impossible

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Whether or not the New York Knicks scouted Giannis Antetokounmpo before the 2013 NBA Draft, they had no chance at the future superstar.

Nine spots before the New York Knicks selected Tim Hardaway Jr. in the 2013 NBA Draft, a raw, mostly unknown prospect from Greece, Giannis Antetokounmpo, went to the Milwaukee Bucks, at No. 15. His only experience was overseas, but with a fascinating combination of height, length and athleticism, and in a class perceived weak at the time, it made for an interesting pick.

Of course, Antetokounmpo has developed into an All-Star within five years and is a potential frontrunner for the 2018-19 NBA MVP award. He also has Milwaukee atop the Eastern Conference.

It was difficult to expect the Greek Freak to become this special, but, via TNT’s upcoming Finding Giannis documentary, the Knicks were apparently the only team to not scout him before the draft.

Per Chris Iseman of The Record, the Knicks did indeed scout Antetokounmpo “multiple times.”

At this point, though, does it matter?

The Knicks selected Hardaway Jr. at No. 24 overall in the 2013 NBA Draft. Two stints, a $71 million contract and two trades later, he’s no longer with the team, but can’t at all be called a “bust,” for averaging 13.0 points per game this low in the selection process.

It was a fine acquisition for the Knicks, even if they only parlayed him for Jerian Grant via trade.

Antetokounmpo was not the top prospect of the 2013 draft. His selection was a risk for the Bucks, taking someone who needed to bulk up as much as he did, at 196 pounds, and may not have translated to the NBA in strength alone.

For a Bucks team that just made the playoffs, however, it was worth the upside gamble, as a small-market squad like them needed to take a chance to rise in the East, when they don’t act as a top free-agent destination.

Now, Milwaukee is a potential place for players to want to join or stay around, as long as Antetokoumpo remains there.

It’s tough to criticize the Knicks, scouted the three-time All-Star or not. They were near the bottom of the draft order, Antetokounmpo was hardly a sure thing, and this class had questions from the start. Their 2014 first-round pick was gone, too, so trading up, if they had enough interest, would have been a task.

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For however long, Antetokounmpo will reign supreme over the Eastern Conference. Even if the Knicks sign marquee names in free agency, they still must go through this talented 24 year old that will remain a star for the next decade.