The New York Knicks are loaded with draft picks but with their recent draft history theres worry those valued picks could go to waste.
After the All Star break, the NBA is headed towards its final third of the season, and with 27 games to play, the New York Knicks need at least 24 wins in order to avoid their eighth consecutive losing season. It is more likely for the New York Knicks to get into the playoffs than ending on a 24-3 run. That might sound crazy, but if the season ended today, the eighth and the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference would finish the season with a losing record.
After almost a decade without a winning season, the New York Knicks have plenty of pieces in place to fix to change the reality of the franchise. After a failed 2019 free agency and 2020 free agency and with most of the big names around the league not interested in playing for the Knicks, looks like the only way to go is to build through of the draft.
The good news is this year the New York Knicks have two first round picks and one in the second round. The bad news is in the last 20 seasons their top draft selections hasn’t had the impact the team expected except Kristaps Porzingis. None of them stayed more than 5 seasons in the Big Apple, making it hard to put together a team that can compete in the long-term.
Since year 2000, the New York Knicks has had eight top 10 draft selections:
Mike Sweetney – 9th overall
2 seasons (2003-2005)
119 games played (29 as a starter)
7 pts | 4.8 reb | 0.5 ast | 0.4 stl | 0.3 blk.
Channing Frye – 8th overall
2 seasons (2005-2007)
137 games played (73 as a starter)
10.8 pts | 5.6 reb | 0.9 ast | 0.5 stl | 0.6 blk.
Danilo Gallinari – 6th overall
3 seasons (2008-2011)
157 games played (124 as a starter)
13.7 pts | 4.3 reb | 1.5 ast | 0.8 stl | 0.5 blk.
Jordan Hill – 8th overall
1 season (2009-2010)
24 games played (no starts)
4 pts | 2.5 reb | 0.3 ast | 0.4 stl | 0.4 blk.
Kristaps Porzingis – 4th overall
4 seasons (2015-2019)
186 games played (185 as a starter)
17.8 pts | 7.1 reb | 1.3 ast | 0.7 stl | 2 blk.
Frank Ntilikina – 8th overall
In his third season
170 games played (50 as a starter)
5.8 pts | 2.2 reb | 3 ast | 0.8 stl | 0.3 blk.
Kevin Knox – 9th overall
In his second season
129 games played (61 as a starter)
10.3 pts | 3.8 reb | 1 ast | 0.5 stl | 0.3 blk.
RJ Barrett – 3rd overall
45 games (44 as a starter)
13.6 pts | 5.1 reb | 2.4 ast | 1 stl | 0.4 blk.
Remembering the five players that are no longer with the team, and analyzing the performance of the three that are still in the Big Apple, just Porzingis, Gallinari, and Barrett can be considered as a good draft selection.
Gallinari was one of the most loved players, but went to Denver as a part of the Carmelo Anthony‘s trade and Porzingis asked to leave because he wasn’t happy with the present and the future of the team. So, the only top draft selection who can end up being the face of the franchise is RJ Barrett.
Going outside of the top 10, the New York Knicks have had another six first round selections since 2000, but the story isn’t different. Only David Lee can be considered a success.
David Lee – 30th overall
5 seasons (2005-2010)
368 games played (210 as a starter)
13 pts | 9.6 reb | 1.9 ast | 0.8 stl | 0.4 blk.
Renaldo Balkman – 20th overall
4 seasons (2006-2008 | 2010-2012)
150 games played (1 as a starter)
4 pts | 3.6 reb | 0.6 ast | 0.7 stl | 0.5 blk.
Mardy Collins – 29th overall
3 seasons (2006-2009)
107 games played (17 as a starter)
3.7 pts | 1.7 reb | 1.7 ast | 0.5 stl | 0.1 blk.
Wilson Chandler – 23th overall
4 seasons (2007-2011)
233 games played (180 as a starter)
14 pts | 5.2 reb | 1.8 ast | 0.7 stl | 0.9 blk.
Iman Shumpert – 17th overall
4 seasons (2011-2015)
202 games played (162 as a starter)
7.9 pts | 3.5 reb | 2.2 ast | 1.3 stl | 0.2 blk.
Tim Hardaway Jr. – 24th overall
4 seasons (2013-2015 | 2017-2019)
254 games played (131 as a starter)
13.8 pts | 2.6 reb | 1.9 ast | 0.7 stl | 0.1 blk.
But as the franchise have done for 20 years, they leave New York as a part of a plan that in most of the cases, had not satisfactory results to the team.
David Lee was trade to the Warriors (were he won a Championship) for Kelenna Azubuike, Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf and 2012 second draft pick wich ended up being Raymond Felton after a trade with Portland for Kostas Papanikolaou.
Wilson Chandler was part of the Carmelo Anthony‘s trade; Iman Shumpert was part of a three-team trade where the Knicks received Alex Kirk, Lou Amundson, Lance Thomas and the 2019 second round pick from the Cavs; and finally, Tim Hardaway Jr. leave the team as a part of the Kristaps Porzingis‘ trade.
In average, last 20 years first round picks for the New York Knicks spend no more than 4 years with the team, in fact, many of those picks never played together, and definitely that is not the way to rebuild a franchise that is urged to be a contender.
However, that does not mean than there is no hope for the Knickerbockers, they only need to learn for his mistakes and look at the way the most recent NBA dynasty was created.
The Golden State Warriors had just one playoffs appearance in 14 years before they drafted Stephen Curry, and he had to wait 5 years before his first playoff game, but in those 5 years, the Warriors did their homework.
Golden State drafted Klay Thompson in 2011, in 2012, they brought Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green. 2012 was the season they reach the playoffs for the first time since Stephen Curry was on the team, three years later, they won the Championship and the rest is history.
However, are the Knicks in a position like the 2009 Warriors?
It is hard to say it, but with RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson in the roster, seems like the Knicks already has the first to pieces of the puzzle. The only think they have to do now is work in his development, make the right decisions in the next two Drafts and to choose wisely who the veteran players will be, and maybe, in five years (hopefully less), we will be watching the New York Knicks fighting for the Championship.