After going just 21-45 in a season that was cut short due to the COVID pandemic, the Knicks were in place to get the 6th pick in the draft. What happened was the Knicks did what the Knicks have been doing a lot recently — they got unlucky.
Having the 8th pick in the draft the Knicks had many options. Needing some help both on the wings and at the point guard position, I thought the clear selection was Tyrese Haliburton. Haliburton is a tall lengthy point guard out of Iowa State. He put up phenomenal numbers in college, but with question marks around his jump shot and inability to win he wasn’t even taken in the top-ten.
Instead the Knicks selected Obi Toppin, a stud high flyer out of Dayton. There aren’t many negatives when thinking about Toppin because he is such an incredible athlete. The Dayton forward was throwing down highlight worthy plays and flashy passes throughout the entire college season. He managed to carry Dayton to the third rank in the NCAA Official Rankings.
Still, leading up to the draft the only player I thought the Knicks would select is Tyrese Haliburton at the number 8 slot. But then rumors started flowing in on draft day about Toppin slipping because the Cavs were beginning to lose interest in him. Well, that is exactly what happened, and this caused him to slide to the Knicks.
As electrifying as Obi was in college I wasn’t totally sold; he didn’t have the nicest handle at Dayton and also had concerns about his perimeter shot. New York ended up picking Toppin with the 8th pick in the draft. I wouldn’t say this is necessarily a bad pick. I just preferred Haliburton personally over Toppin.
Moving on to New York’s late first round selection, there were plenty of options left and trading the pick was definitely one of them. There were a few prospects I liked on the board at this point, all of which I thought would last a few picks. This meant that trading down wasn’t such a bad idea. Honestly, the trade Leon Rose pulled off was fantastic and we acquired the 25th and 33rd pick; all we had to do was give up the 23rd.
In my opinion this pick should have been Tyrese Maxey, the quick guard out of Kentucky. Instead Rose decided to go the more risky route in selecting Immanuel Quickley, another guard out of Kentucky. These two played alongside each other for Coach Calipari, and have very similar frames with very different skill sets. Maxey is the more polished and NBA-ready guard while Quickley is much more of a raw talent. You couldn’t go wrong with either of these guys but once again my personal preference would have been Maxey.
The Knicks went ahead and traded their final two picks away in deals that I thought were solid trades. Overall, I would have to say the Knicks have a bright future ahead of them after seeing what Leon Rose can do. He took the draft and used it in ways the Knicks needed. There is plenty of room for development, and even stardom, down the line for the first picks of Leon Rose’s tenure in New York.
Image: Raj Mehta