The New York Knicks entered the 2017 NBA Draft with three selections, one of which landed in the top 10.
The 2016-17 NBA season continued the New York Knicks’ losing ways. They endured a fourth consecutive losing campaign and missed the postseason, which forced them into the lottery of the 2017 NBA Draft.
Landing at No. 8, the Knicks had the chance to select an impact player under president Phil Jackson. With two other picks in their arsenal, prospects to fill the roster were available for the taking.
However, this became Jackson’s final draft class, as the Knicks fired him days after making these three selections.
What happened to these players after Jackson’s dismissal in 2017? Let’s take a look:
Slash Line: .354/.305/.767
Career Averages: 5.9 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 2.8 APG. 0.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 0.7 3PM
It was a debate between Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr. at the time. The Knicks had their choice of these point guards at No. 8, and because the Frenchman had more triangle ability, he went ahead of the collegiate prospect the public was more familiar with.
Ntilikina’s first two seasons have garnered minimal success, however. There were some signs as a rookie, but the second year was disastrous, with multiple benchings from head coach David Fizdale due to scoring troubles.
Ntilikina shot just 33.7 percent in 43 games in 2018-19, and that was after he once seemingly intrigued Fizdale in the preseason. It led to a starting role early in the year, as he slipped into the lineup, despite Trey Burke handling the starting point guard job.
The third season may happen elsewhere, amid rumors of Ntilikina’s potential departure via trade. A change of scenery is arguably necessary at this point, so he can eye success elsewhere.
Slash Line: .421/.361/.736
Career Averages: 8.2 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 1.3 3PM
36 picks later, the Knicks found a player who became more successful than Ntilikina, even in just two seasons. That was with Damyean Dotson‘s promising-at-times rookie year and take-off as a second-year player.
In 73 games, in 2018-19, Dotson averaged 10.7 points on 36.8 percent from behind the arc. He became the prototypical “3-and-D” player teams covet off the bench, even though 40 starts accompanied him on a poor Knicks team.
A similar role should exist in the 2019-20 season, pending New York returns him on an unguaranteed contract. It can play off the superstars who will potentially arrive this summer.
Ognjen Jaramaz was the 58th pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, but he has yet to play stateside. Some second-rounders never play and stay overseas, which could become the case.
The next New York Knicks retrospective will evaluate the 2018 draft class and end the modern-day look-backs.