Knicks: The crazy path of New York’s 2020 second round pick

How the New York Knicks ended up with Detroit’s 2023 second round pick.


Leon Rose’s first draft as president of the New York Knicks was a wild one. The Knicks ended up with the player they wanted in Obi Toppin with the 8th overall pick, even though most mocks leading into the draft believed there was very little chance he would be available that late.

New York also swung several draft day trades to move themselves up to the 25th pick to select Kentucky sharpshooter Immanuel Quickley and gain an additional second round pick in 2023.

But just how the Knicks ended up with the 2023 second round pick is what makes for an interesting story. Grab a pen and paper and follow along.

It all started back in 2015 when Phil Jackson was president of the team. He traded a 2020 second round pick to Philadelphia for the second round pick he used to select Willy Hernangomez.

Once a darling among Knicks Twitter, Hernangomez was eventually traded to the Charlotte Hornets for two second round picks in 2020 and 2021. The Hornet’s 2020 second round pick owed to the Knicks turned into the 38th overall pick. Still with me?

New York started wheeling-and-dealing ahead of the 2020 NBA Draft by packaging the 38th pick owed to them from Charlotte, along with the 27th pick, which they acquired from the Clippers in the Marcus Morris deal, in a trade with Utah to move up to the 23rd pick.

Later, the Knicks traded the 23rd pick to Minnesota for the 25th and 33rd picks.

Now, this is when Knicks fans started to feel really good about themselves. I mean, check out the math! Leon Rose and company somehow turned their 27th and 38th picks into the 25th and 33rd picks. It was like magic! Both picks got better!

But then the Knicks made one more trade. They moved the 33rd pick to the Clippers for a 2023 second round pick owed to them from Detroit.

Knicks fans were back to feeling not so great about themselves.

Why would the Knicks move the 33rd pick for a future pick three years down the road? It’s not certain at this time. Perhaps more information will come out in the next few days.

It’s possible, with nine players already on guaranteed contracts, including the two draft picks and Mitchell Robinson (who is technically non-guaranteed until the end of the week), they didn’t want to reserve a roster space for another rookie player. They do have a lot of cap space to spend this offseason.

Maybe they simply have their eyes on when high school players return to the draft. I don’t know. But what we do know is the path to figuring out the Knicks’ 2020 second round pick has been a roller coaster that began with Willy Hernangomez in 2015.

And it will take us into the future with Detroit’s 2023 second round pick en route from the Clippers.