Remembering draft night trades made by the New York Knicks
The New York Knicks have already made a trade ahead of the 2020 NBA Draft, acquiring the 23rd pick in exchange for the 27th and 38th picks. It seems they might not be done yet. But as we wait for more news to drop, we thought it would be fun to look back at trades from prior years.
As basketball fans, we know that sometimes it’s not just the actual prospects that are the central figures on draft day/draft night. Many times, the draft serves as a mechanism to facilitate trades for veteran players that can shake up the league for years to come. Fans are constantly probing the commissioner’s mannerisms to see whether they are pausing for longer than they should because before they announce the pick, they’re going to say “We have a trade to announce!”
As the 2020 NBA Draft beckons, let’s look back at the 5 most notable draft day trades the New York Knicks have been involved in since the start of the millennium.
2019: Traded The 55th Pick and cash considerations for Iggy Brazdeikis
We’ll start off with a transaction that is about as a recent as it gets when it comes to draft day history. Earlier in the night, the Knicks grabbed heralded prospect and Canada native R.J. Barrett with the third overall pick. Their night could have continued on as scripted after that, but they decided to move up to the 47th pick in the second round to nab someone they had their eye on.
The Knicks dealt the 55th pick (which ended up becoming University of Virginia guard Kyle Guy) and cash considerations to move up and acquire University of Michigan freshman Ignas Brazdeikis, who averaged just under 15 points a game against formidable Big Ten competition in his only college season. Brazdeikis, like Barrett, also grew up north of the border, but was born in Kaunas, Lithuania.
Brazdeikis was a versatile player for the Wolverines, who could step out and shoot the college three at a respectable level (39% from downtown), and also chipped in 5.4 rebounds per game as well. In the Sweet 16, Iggy put his best foot forward against Texas Tech. Despite the Michigan loss, he put up an impressive line of 17 points and 13 rebounds, showing that he could thrive as the lights shined that much brighter.
“They’re getting a kid that’s highly motivated to be successful at the next level,” said Saddi Washington, an assistant coach at Michigan. “Iggy is an Alpha Dog, and he’s really wired to score the ball. They’re getting a kid that’s willing to put in the sweat equity to be a great asset to the organization.” via SNY.TV
While Iggy only appeared in 9 games for the big club last season, he put up tremendous numbers for the Westchester Knicks in the G League. Brazdeikis played 24 games for Westchester, and averaged nearly 21 points a game to go with 7 rebounds. We’ve seen other NBA success stories start in the G League, and it will be interesting to see if the current administration of Knicks front office and coaches see value in his development.