New York Knicks fans may not think too highly of Tom Thibodeau, and that makes sense, but the coach has a good track record with players. Two fan favorites, RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley have spoken highly of Thibodeau.
And he left a lasting impression on 2022 NBA Draft prospect Johnny Davis. The six-foot-five guard could be New York’s pick at No. 11.
Davis had an interview with the Knicks last Thursday in Chicago, which is where the 2022 NBA Draft Combine took place, and his pro day was last Saturday. New York was also in attendance for that.
2022 NBA Draft prospect Johnny Davis had interview with New York Knicks.
When the 20-year-old was asked about how his interview with the Knicks went, he spoke about what it meant to get to talk with Thibodeau. Davis said:
“It went really well,’’ Davis said. “It was nice to see familiar face [in Thibodeau] and somebody who’s been part of the game for a while. It was amazing to talk to him after seeing what he’s done with a lot of teams. He’s a very recognized coach in the league.
“I heard from people he likes guys like [me],’’ Davis added. “So hopefully I can fit in with them and they’ll be invested in me enough to draft me.’’
Thibodeau does like guys who play tough and are versatile on defense and Davis fits that description.
The Wisconsin native averaged 19.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.2 steals in the 32 games he played for the Badgers as a sophomore in 2021-22. He shot 42.7% from the floor, 30.6% from the 3-point line, and 79.1% from the free-throw line.
Davis led Wisconsin to a regular-season title and was named the Big Ten Player of the Year. He also won the 2022 Jerry West Award, which is given to the top shooting guard in the nation. He won the award over Purdue’s Jaden Ivey and Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin, two names who have also been linked to New York.
In ESPN’s most recent mock draft (subscription required), Davis was slotted to go No. 9 to the San Antonio Spurs. He had an interview with that organization as well and showered praise upon Gregg Popovich, although the coach wasn’t in attendance.
If the Knicks keep their No. 11 pick and Davis is still on the board, he could very well end up calling New York his next home. He’s a good shot creator and rebounder, although he does need to work on his shot from behind the arc, and is an excellent defender.
It’s been a decade since the Knicks had a player on their roster who won the Defensive Player of the Year award, but Davis has the potential to be the DPOY one day.
So, Davis is probably right in what he’s heard about Thibodeau liking players like him. He’d fit in on the roster, but that’s only if a team like the Spurs don’t snag him first.