New York Knicks: 15 greatest draft steals in franchise history

Landry Fields, Wilson Chandler, New York Knicks. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Landry Fields, Wilson Chandler, New York Knicks. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Chattanooga Mocs, 1985 (No. 47). Gerald Wilkins. 4. player. 27. . SG

The 1985 NBA Draft will always hold a special place in the hearts of Knicks fans. It was where, with the No. 1 overall pick, New York selected Patrick Ewing, a Hall of Famer and the greatest player in franchise history.

That historical night didn’t end for the franchise after the clear-cut selection of the dominant big man out of Georgetown University. With the final pick of the second round, the team managed to scoop up Gerald Wilkins, who would go on to have a productive tenure with the Knicks in the shadow of his draft-class counterpart.

A traditionally built two-guard, Wilkins had fared well at the college level, but the lack of competition faced at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga raised questions about the validity of his production.

The younger brother of high-flyer Dominique Wilkins, Gerald made clear that dunking ran in the family, showing out with hops that, while not on the same level as his brother, still led to some highlight-worthy jams.

Over the course of his first five seasons in the league, Wilkins was gifted plenty of opportunities to get shots for both himself and his teammates and took full advantage. He averaged 15.6 points per night, while dishing out 4.0 assists per game, attacking the basket with a purpose and able to finish through contact.

Once John Starks arrived in Summer 1990, Wilkins saw his shot attempts per game decrease. The pairing simply wasn’t working out. It wound up eventually leading to the organization releasing Wilkins in September 1992, where he would go on to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

His tenure in New York ended on a sour note, as it had the potential for more. When considering how little people expected from him coming out of some small college, it would’ve been great to see him continue to develop with the team that first showed a level of faith in him professionally.