Updated: Sep 15, 2020
This isn't a blog about the Knicks falling in the lottery for the bazillionth year in a row.
This isn't a blog about how the Knicks getting the 8th pick is getting 10x more coverage than the Timberwolves getting the first.
This isn't a blog about how James Dolan looks like an Ewok from Star Wars.
This is a blog about one thing.
"Lean On Me" Leon. The Rose that grew from concrete.
All Knicks fans are the man in that photo. The man who climbed a mountain of shit to pluck the Rose only to find out he'd lost his sense of smell. You think getting fucked over in the lottery is going to make Leon sweat? Try again, Richard Jefferson.
So now we know we're picking 8th. Good, Great, Grand, Wonderful. Best spot in the draft if you ask me. Let's take a look at the Knicks history of picking 8th overall:
1954 - Jack Turner from Western Kentucky. Jack had a shortlived 1-year career in the NBA, finishing the 54-55 season averaging 4.3 points. He retired after the season to pursue a better paying career as a mailman.
1972 - Tom Riker out of South Carolina. Certified Badass. Tom spent 3 years with the Knicks from 1972-1975, averaging 2.7 points over his career. Like Jack, Tom retired young to pursue a career with better benefits as a mail carrier.
2005 - Channing Frye from Arizona. Everyone knows Channing. While it feels like Channing was a Knick for longer, he did not last as long as Tom Riker did in orange and blue. After two seasons Frye was traded to Portland along with Steve Francis in return for Dan Dickau, Fred Jones, and Zach Randolph. Jesus Christ.
Bonus Note: The Knicks landed David Lee with the 30th pick of the 2005 draft. The Knicks also have a late first-round pick this year, courtesy of trading Marcus Morris to the Clippers. Will 2020 be the second coming of 2005, giving us our next Channing Frye and David Lee? Something to Christian Ponder.
2009 - Jordan Hill from Arizona. The infamous pick that catapulted the Knicks into a decade of misery. Sandwiched between Steph Curry (7) and Demar Derozan (9), Jordan Hill was probably the only bust in the entire 2009 draft that featured players like James Harden, Blake Griffin, Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holiday, Pat Beverly, AND the Taj Mahal Gibson. Just kidding. Memphis took Hasheem Thabeet 2nd overall in 2009. It's not always us, Knicks fans.
2017 - Frank Ntilkina. Just kidding again. It is always us.
(I'm not giving up frankie fingers aka the tittylicka. Yeah he has generally sucked in his first 3 seasons but he's only 22 and I'm still #withhim. If anyone on this team could complement his style by making shots then he could be an all star)
2020 - ????????
Who can the Knicks expect to fill the shoes of Tom Riker and Jordan Hill? Who will Leon go after in his first draft as team President? If I had his ear, here is who I'd be recommending.
My NYK BIG BOARD for 2020:
1 - James Wiseman, C, Memphis.
Wiseman is a 7-foot monster and has superstar potential as a big man in the NBA. Pairing Wiseman with Mitchell Robinson and sending the 4 horseman of PF play (Gibson, Portis, Randle, Morris) to hell in a handbasket would be a dream come true. Sadly Wiseman will likely not last beyond the top 3 picks.
2 - Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
It's a shame that Toppin didn't get his chance to shine on the big stage during March Madness. His athleticism is off the charts, standing 6'9" and routinely throwing down through the legs dunks in games. The Knicks can't pass up on Obi if he falls to 8, if only because I want to see this video on the jumbotron at MSG late in the 4th quarter.
3 - Deni Avdija, SF, Israel
A 6 foot 8 wing who played professionally in Israel for the last two years. Deni can make the three. Deni can handle the ball. Deni can do it all. He was named tournament MVP of the FIBA U20 European Championship after leading Israel to the gold medal. He was also the youngest person to ever play in an Israeli League game, the youngest to win the Israeli league MVP, and youngest to win an Israeli league title.
4 - Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
At 6'5", Ty Haliburton is a tall point guard who can make deep threes, although his shot doesn't look very natural. Considering the Knicks should NEVER mess with any of Lavar Ball's sons, I think Haliburton is the #1 option at guard for the Knicks in this draft. Closely followed by...
5 - Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
The son of Greg Anthony, who the Knicks drafted in the first round of the 1991 draft (12th overall), Cole Anthony is a 6'3" point guard with parking lot range. Anthony was the #1 ranked PG coming out of high school in 2019 and earned MVP honors at the 2019 McDonald's All-American game. He burst onto the scene in his first collegiate game, setting an ACC record for most points in a freshman season debut (previously held by one R.J. Barrett). He had 34 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists in an opening victory over Notre Dame and was the first freshman in UNC history to score over 20 points in each of his first three games. A torn meniscus sidelined Anthony in the middle of the season and he finished the year averaging 18.5 points with 5.4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. To be honest I like Cole Anthony more than Haliburton, but my editor won't let me rank them that way due to a sponsorship deal. My biggest blemish on Cole Anthony is that UNC suffered their first losing season (14-19) in Roy Williams' tenure.
6 - Jalen Smith, C, Maryland
A 6 foot 10 forward/center, Smith is a shot-blocking stretch big man. Aka the ideal twin to our current tower, Mitchell Robinson. Jalen Smith averaged 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game during his sophomore season in 2019-20, in which he shot 37% from 3. This is a guy who went from being nicknamed "Stix" to "Thix" with the muscle he put on between his freshman and sophomore seasons. I can only imagine what a Thibodeau workout plan + playing next to Mitchell Robinson could do for this kid.
Assuming Anthony Edwards (Georgia) and LaMelo Ball (Jupiter) are taken in the top 3, one of the guys above will be available for us to take at number 8. Which means one thing...
It's back! I've got Knicks Fever!!!!!!!!
And hold on... what's this? We just got word from Leon on who he's taking. CSB is about to drop a deuce bomb on Woj with this scoop.
The pick is in... and with the 8th pick in the 2020 NBA draft, the New York Knicks (should) select...
1 - He's from Israel
2 - He's from Israel
And a few more...
3 - James Wiseman and Obi Toppin were unavailable
4 - His game is perfect for today's ticky-tack foul NBA. He makes 3s and drives and finishes drawing cheap contact. We're seeing more and more players succeed in the NBA after playing professionally overseas as a teen. Deni Avdija is the Luka Doncic that was promised. No better place for an Israeli to call home than New York. Just ask Amar'e.
Or we trade the pick in a package to get Chris Paul and bring back Carmelo on a max deal. Six in one, half dozen in the other.