5) Best 8th overall picks: Modern Honors
In order to be one of the greatest 8th overall picks, you need time to build a career, which partially explains why the majority of this list is filled with retired NBA players. As a preview: there are several Hall-of-Famers in this ranking.
But for fans thinking about how the 8th pick will help the Knicks relative to near-term scouting successes or failures, I thought I would include one slide with some honorable mentions from the lottery era (1985 – present day).
Vin Baker is the last 8th overall selection to make an All-Star team, and he was drafted in 1993, so that’s not exactly promising for people looking at modern history for examples of future stars identified with the 8th pick. That said, there are several examples of Hall-of-Famers picked 8th in earlier years, so perhaps it’s just a strange recent phenomena. Baker’s career reached an early peak, but what a peak it was, as he made the All-Star team in four of his first five seasons in the league. He later found his way to the Knicks, but long after his star had lost its shine.
Who doesn’t love them some Detlef Schrempf from their late eighties and nineties basketball timeline? Selected 8th overall in 1985, the German forward was one of the first “stretch” fours in the league, although he would later transition to the three position when NBA coaches thought his shooting was best served there. Schrempf won two Sixth Man of the Year Awards, made three All-Star appearances, and was selected to the 1994-95 All-NBA third team.
The ageless one. Crawford was the 8th pick in the 2000 NBA Draft (and he’s still playing!). The last player to retire from that draft class was Mike MIller, after the 2016-17 season! Ok, a lot of exclamation marks for Crawford’s longevity in the league, but it’s pretty amazing. The slick scoring guard has won three Sixth Man of the Year Awards while lighting up the scoresheet every so often with an off-the-charts night.
Remember when Andre Miller’s name always came up in trade rumors with the Knicks? The 8th overall pick from the 1999 NBA Draft built a nice career for himself, playing 16 years as a competent point guard for several NBA teams. He had success early in his career with Cleveland, with back-to-back seasons that saw his player efficiency rating (PER) reach above 20. His 109.5 wins above replacement (WAR) ranks third among players selected 8th overall.