Selecting a player with the 10th overall pick doesn’t really seem like much of a reach today. Except, way back in 1965, the NBA wasn’t as fruitful as it stands today, with only nine teams in the league. Therefore, relatively speaking, the Knicks actually selected Dick Van Arsdale with the second pick of the second round in what was admittedly a much smaller talent pool.
Van Arsdale was a well-built shooting guard who played three seasons at Indiana University. Most guards tend to hang out on the perimeter, but this guy didn’t care about any type of physical punishment that may come his way, having averaged 10.0 rebounds, to go along with 17.2 points per game.
Upon becoming a Knick, he was forced to play a diminished role compared to the one he occupied in college, but that didn’t stop him from impacting the game with what he did best. In three seasons in the Big Apple, Arsdale averaged 12.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.
Throughout history, we’ve seen teams simply give away talented prospects who have gone on to thrive elsewhere. The Knicks gave up Arsdale in Summer 1968, where he would then go on to make three consecutive All-Star appearances as a member of the Phoenix Suns.
Unlike most silly decisions the organization has made over the years, letting go of Arsdale wasn’t totally their fault. He was selected by Phoenix in the 1968 Expansion Draft, where teams can only protect a certain amount of players from being drafted.
Maybe New York should have protected their young two-guard, but that’s a game of revisionist history a lot easier to play in the present day.