The New York Knicks had the No. 8 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, and the player they selected is no longer on the roster. Obi Toppin spent his first three seasons in New York before he was traded to Indiana in the 2023 offseason.
Toppin's rookie season lined up with Julius Randle's breakout All-NBA/All-Star season in 2020-21. The young forward's playing time was limited because of Randle, which ultimately led to the Knicks moving on from him rather than signing him to an extension.
Over the past couple of years, Knicks fans have thought about what it'd be like if the team drafted Tyrese Haliburton instead. The guard has emerged as a star in the league. Like Toppin, Haliburton was traded from the team that drafted him. He's thriving in Indiana. Ironically, so is Toppin.
Carmelo Anthony admitted that he was rooting for New York to draft Haliburton, although at the time, he was in Portland.
Carmelo Anthony wanted Knicks to draft Tyrese Haliburton in 2020
On Carmelo Anthony and The Kid Mero's new podcast, '7 pm in Brooklyn,' the former New York forward said he's always admired Tyrese Haliburton's game. Mero, who is a Knicks fan, said he also wanted the team to draft the Iowa State guard.
"[Tyrese] Haliburton will be someone I always like," Anthony said. "I was trying to get him with the Knicks years ago, saying 'Please draft him, please!' I wasn't even on the Knicks but I was like y'all better draft him. Y'all need him! He's really good man!- H/T Bleacher Report
Although Haliburton had a breakout sophomore season with the Cyclones, it's safe to say that not many people expected him to be as good as he's been. Not only has he taken the NBA In-Season Tournament by storm, but in 2023-24, he's averaging a career-high 26.9 points and 12.1 assists per game, shooting 52.5% from the field and 44.1% from three.
It's easy to look back on the draft and think about how things might've been if a team had selected another player (i.e.: Steph Curry), but the truth is, there's no way of knowing how things will play out. At least after years of waiting, Knicks fans finally have their point guard of the future in Jalen Brunson.