Before we fully dive in, let’s summarize what the Knicks traded and got back in return. Frankly, it took quite a while to fully understand it all.
The first round of the draft was Armageddon for the Knicks to say the least. New York reportedly had multiple chances to trade for Jaden Ivey who was picked at five or could’ve stayed put and taken Ochai Agbaji from Kansas or Malaki Branham from Ohio State at pick 11.
Would either of those picks have been underwhelming compared to Ivey? Yes, but what the Knicks did instead made sticking at 11 look like taking Patrick Ewing all over again. Here is a summary of the first round for New York from Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
What the Knicks did tonight:
NYK trades 11th pick to OKC
OKC trades 3 firsts (23 DEN, DET, WASH) to NYK
NYK then trades 23 DEN, 4 seconds to CHA for 13th pick
NYK then trade 13th pick & Kemba Walker to DET for MKE’s 25 first
NYK trades 11, Kemba, 4 2nds & gets 3 future 1sts
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) June 24, 2022
It was all later confirmed by the Knicks on Twitter as well (via SNY’s Ian Begley).
Speechless. Absolutely stunned. If you want to hear my actual live reaction, listen to the Shock Jacques Knicks Podcast this week and you will not be disappointed.
At first, it appeared the Knicks were just trading down, but that was just the beginning of a crazy evening.
However, all hope wasn’t lost since there was reports the Knicks could pick and then trade Jalen Duren to the Pistons to potentially receive Jaden Ivey in return.
That hope didn’t last very long as despite the Knicks getting Duren and trading him to the Pistons, it became clear pretty quickly that the first round plan for the Knicks was reduced to getting future picks, getting rid of Kemba Walker’s contract and receiving cap space in return. Plus, there were some reports that the Pistons were officially not listening to deals for Ivey by the time Spurs selected their pick at 9.
So with this cap space, what will the Knicks use it on what you might be asking.
Alright, let’s come back to earth for a second.
The Knicks have dragged us down this road many times before over the last 12 years and have had nothing to show for it. It felt like New York was past this strategy.
New York had been building through the draft and adding on from there. If they had made the Ivey move happen, it could’ve really taken this team to the next level. It didn’t happen.
Instead, the Knicks decided to World Series of Poker, double bluff shove on the river after bluffing the turn and have put ALL of their chips in the middle here. The only way they get out of this corner they have backed themselves into is by signing Jalen Brunson.
Irving is a pipedream and Brogdon is as risky as they come at the moment when it comes to staying on the court. Brunson has been the Knicks prize for some time and now they have to get him at all costs.
If the Knicks don’t and fail again, which is likely based on their track record, this becomes the worst night in Knicks draft history.
Rock bottom wouldn’t be low enough.
The difficult part to swallow here will be the fact that the Knicks had a real shot at trading for Ivey and in the end might end up with nothing once again.
To be fair, many were hoping the Knicks would really go for it. I am among those people, especially when it comes to getting Ivey. This is different. This is risking it. Risking everything with the odds stacked against you and the more the Knicks do this the more it seems they have the NBA equivalent of a gambling problem.
Fans have no right to expect this to succeed for the Knicks when free agency begins on June 30. The track record is completely filled with failed attempts like this one. There is no reason to believe this will be any different.
Anyway, that was the first round.
The second round was much more mundane, and the Knicks actually selected a player that I had highlighted in my last article as a solid option.
New York selected Trevor Keels with the forty-second pick in the draft out of Duke. A player that has a good amount of upside and could be versatile enough to make the roster and possibly even make an impact. Keels needs to work on his consistency and has plenty to prove, but showed at the end of his time at Duke why he could be extremely valuable if he pans out for the Knicks.
Here are some highlights from his 2021-22 season at Duke that show the strength, skill and versatile parts of Keels’ game that make a potentially solid pick for the Knicks.
Keels added a slight silver lining onto a really rough night for the Knicks. We now have to wait a week to see if the front office completely blew this or possibly showed some nerve in taking this team to the next level.
However, deep down it’s almost like we know what will happen already and none of it is good for the future of the franchise.
This could be a very long offseason for the Knicks.
Here we go again.