New York Knicks:
- No. 4: Kristaps Porzingis, Latvia, 7’1″, PF, 1995
- No. 19(via trade): Jerian Grant, Notre Dame, 6’5”, PG,
In a surprising move by Phil Jackson, the Knicks GM actually acted like a normal GM and drafted Kristaps Porzingis with the 4th pick in the draft. Porzingis was an unknown entity before the draft, but his value skyrocketed in the months leading up to Thursday. The Latvian forward is a boom-or-bust pick. At only 230lbs, Porzingis is a lightweight compared to other NBA big men, and he will need to do a lot of filling out before being considered suitable for the role. But his ability to hit threes with ease and his undeniable athleticism also makes him a can’t-miss-prospect. He’s a terrific athlete for a forward, powered by unique offensive versatility, but if his body develops, he could develop into one of the toughest frontcourt covers in the league. The Knicks also flipped struggling guard Tim Hardaway Jr. for the 19th pick, Jerian Grant. Grant is a very good passer with unteachable vision. His height(6’5”) also allows him to see and pass over defenses. Grant’s size and scoring ability also allow him to shift up to shooting guard when needed.
The Knicks made two good picks in this year’s draft. Porzingis’ shooting ability and athleticism will fit well in the Knicks triangle offense, which values mobility, shooting big men. Without an available option that could immediately help New York next season, the Knicks made the right choice drafting for the long term. Replacing Hardaway Jr. with Grant was also a good move for the Knicks. Hardaway struggled during his 2 year run in New York, where his shot selection and defense were major issues. Grant provides the Knicks with a point guard who will make his teammates better while also providing a lot of the offensive production they would’ve lost by dropping Hardaway. Overall, the Knicks made good decisions in the draft, grabbing a possible franchise player and a quality point guard for the future.