The New York Knicks will select third overall in the 2019 NBA Draft. Who are the best players to land at this pick?
In June 2019, the New York Knicks will select third overall in the NBA Draft for the first time in franchise history and the rare moment of picking among the top five. This also marks their first time in the top three since the 1985 selection show, when Patrick Ewing became the pick.
While not the first or second pick, No. 3 has a long, historic lineage. It contains a handful of NBA legends and others who either had stellar careers or are on their way to Hall of Fame-esque runs.
It dates back to the 1950s, long before the modern-day basketball fans know. This brought some of the game’s original stars to the forefront, and it continued over the next 60 years.
With the Knicks about one month from making their historic draft pick, who are the best players to land at No. 3?
10. Grant Hill, 1994
Slash Line: .483/.314/.769
Career Averages: 16.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 0.2 3PM
For six years Grant Hill played like one of the NBA’s next generation of stars. He arrived during Michael Jordan‘s baseball sabbatical, averaging nearly 20 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game after the Detroit Pistons made this player the third pick in 1994.
Hill only trended up from there, approaching a double-double average as a second-year player. This included crossing 20 points, which he did for each of the next four years.
Peak Hill was averaging 25.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game as a 27 year old in 1999-00, post-Jordan. A long-term run for him as one of the NBA’s stars seemed inevitable, and the Duke product took his talents to Orlando to fulfill that.
However, that is when the ankle injuries started and turned a seven-year, $92 million deal with the Magic into a slow-burn, miserable run of just 200 of 492 possible games in six seasons. That included just 76 games from 2000-04.
By 2004-05, Hill finally regained some health, playing 67 games and returning to the All-Star Game, although it was at age 32, so his numbers inevitably started declining.
In 2007, Hill finally escaped Orlando and went to Phoenix, where he remarkably remained healthy and even played 80 games in a season three separate times, averaging around 30 minutes as he approached 40 years old. It was a stunning run for a player who lost roughly five years to injuries, and he managed to average double-digit points for the Suns along the way.
For his work in college and this difficult but successful NBA career, Hill entered the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.