Once upon a time, the New York Knicks were close to having a lottery pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. Well, that was until Mark Cuban happened.
The Mavericks tanked at the very end of the 2022-23 season to purposely avoid the play-in tournament to keep their top-10 protected pick from the Kristaps Porzingis trade. Dallas stayed at No. 10 in the lottery, but when draft night rolled around, the organization made a trade with Oklahoma City for the No. 12 pick, which ended up being Dereck Lively II.
If the Knicks would’ve been able to miraculously pick in the lottery, they would’ve been one of two teams in the Atlantic Division to do so.
After a 41-41 finish, the Raptors had the No. 13 pick in the draft. Toronto managed to get one of the most exciting players of the night — Gradey Dick. The 19-year-old averaged 14.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.4 steals in 32.7 minutes per game in his lone season with Kansas. The number that jumps out the most is the 40.3% he shot from three on 5.7 attempts.
Will Gradey Dick live up to the draft hype with Knicks’ division rival?
Gradey Dick will struggle some on defense as he adjusts to playing in the NBA, but his shooting will give him the strongest chance to be part of new head coach Darko Rajakovic’s rotation.
He was projected to be a top-10 pick (subscription required) and was linked to the Magic, who had the No. 6 selection leading up to the draft. He fell a few spots down the board but could be one of the most prominent players in the Raptors’ rotation down the road, especially because three of Toronto’s key players could be free agents next summer (Siakam, Trent, Anunoby).
If Masai Ujiri decides to enter a rebuilding phase and offload a couple of players before the deadline, Toronto fans could see Gradey Dick have an increased role in his first season. Like every other rookie, he’ll go through a learning phase, but the potential’s there for him to develop into an impactful wing. It might pain Knicks fans to admit, but the guard was a solid pick by the Raptors.
New York has to wait until Dec. 1 to face Toronto for the first time in 2023-24, and on Dec. 11, Gradey Dick will make his MSG debut.