NY Knicks: Three Decades of Second Round Draft Futility

The New York Knicks are among the worst teams in NBA at getting it right in the NBA draft.

Three reasons why the Knicks struggle in the draft

  1. Pick was traded years earlier
  2. Pick doesn’t last more than two years with team
  3. Pick is good, but gets traded as he enters prime

With such an awful history of first round picks, there’s no way it could be worse in the second round could it? Ugh.

Most stars are born from lottery picks, or the first round in general but recent All Stars from round two include Paul Milsap, Nikola Jokic, Khris Middleton, Marc Gasol. These aren’t just throwaway picks, which is how the Knicks have treated them.

Some takeaways before reviewing the list:

  • Knicks second round picks since 1988 – 863 games played (247 starts), an average of 4.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 0.7 apg.
  • If you remove the Knicks’ last two second round picks, Mitchell Robinson and Damyean Dotson, the totals dip to 562 games (179 starts), averages of 2.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 0.5 apg
  • 12 players played at least 1 game for the Knicks
  • Only 4 players are currently active in the NBA
  • 16 years without a second round pick
  • 5 European players drafted, who never played a game for the Knicks
  • 2 players are active front office members who both worked for the Spurs (Fields, Marks)

Here is the full list of Knicks’ second round picks since 1988

2019 – Ignas Brazdeikis

The Knicks, who had the worst record in 2019, technically hold pick #31 to open round two, but in 2014 they traded that pick along with Travis Outlaw to 76ers for Arnett Moultrie. Following another trade, the Nets drafted Nicolas Claxton #31.

The Knicks made a trade with the Kings, giving them Brazdeikis with the #47 pick. Former Michigan star didn’t get a chance to shine, playing mostly in the G-League as a rookie. He is expected to be a role player in the future.

To make this deal, the Knicks drafted Kyle Guy at #55 and traded him to the Kings.

2018 – Mitchell Robinson

Robinson had a ton of success for a terrible Knicks team in 2018-19 as a rookie. After skipping college in 2018, Robinson fell to the second round, to pick 36 overall. He scored 7.3 ppg, grabbed 6.4 rpg and most importantly blocked 2.4 shots per game.

In year two, he played 61 games, scoring 9.7 ppg, grabbed 7.0 rpg and blocked 2.0 shots per game. Robinson’s trajectory is pointing upward as a building block for the Knicks moving forward.

2017 – Demyean Dotson, Ognjen Jaramaz

Dotson has had an inconsistent role in three seasons. He was buried on the depth chart as a rookie, played for an awful team in year two (but averaged 10.7 ppg) and played just 17.4 mpg in 2019-20 due to a glut of veteran guards on the roster vying for playing time.

Jaramaz will likely never play in the NBA. He is currently playing in Serbia

2016 – None

2015 – None

2014 – Cleanthony Early, Thanasis Antekokounmpo

Early has the exciting distinction of being Phil Jackson’s first draft pick. His NBA career lasted 56 games over two seasons. From 2016-2019 he was playing in the G-League and is currently part of the Saudi Arabian professional league.

Thanasis is the younger brother of Giannis. He appeared in only two games with the Knicks during the 2015-16 season. After winning back-to-back MVP awards in 2018 and 2019 in the Greek Basket League, Thanasis returned to the NBA and has played in 18 games off the bench for the Bucks.

2013 – None

2012 – Kostas Papanikolaou

Papanikolaou has been well traveled but never suited up for the Knicks. He was part of a trade package to Portland to acquire Raymond Felton and was later shipped to the Rockets for Thomas Robinson. He averaged 4 ppg in 42 games with the Rockets in 2014-15 and was traded to the Nuggets a year later and played 26 games in 2015-16. Following his 69 game NBA career, Kostas returned to Olympiacos where he has played since 2016

2011 – None

2010 – Andy Rautins, Landry Fields

Rautins was an exciting prospect when drafted because of his local ties having played for Syracuse. His Knicks career totaled 5 games. He was traded in December 2011 to Dallas and never played a game for the Mavs. He has recently bounced around different teams in Europe and has been playing in Turkey since 2017.

Fields is the Knicks most successful second round pick since 2010. As a rookie, he averaged 9.7 ppg and 6.4 rpg and played in all 82 games. Fields formed a strong bond with Jeremy Lin during his second season and left the Knicks in 2012 as a restricted free agent, signing a 3 year $20 million contract with the Raptors. Over the length of his three year deal, Fields played 101 games, where his points per game averaged out to 2.9 over that span.

A hip injury ended his career in 2015, and since 2016 has been a member of the Spurs front office since. He is currently the General Manager for the Austin Spurs of the G-League.

2009 – None

2008 – None

2007 – None

2006 – None

2005 – Dijon Thompson

Thompson’s career totaled 16 games. None with the Knicks. He was traded shortly after draft night in a package for Quentin Richardson and Nate Robinson. Thompson is currently playing in Europe.

2004 – Trevor Ariza

Ariza is by far the most successful second rounder and maybe draft pick period for the Knicks over the last three decades. Of course, most of his success has been elsewhere. Ariza played 80 games as a rookie and averaged just 5.9 ppg and 3 rpg during his age 19 season. Halfway through his second season, in 2006 Ariza was traded from the Knicks to the Magic for Steve Francis (that didn’t work out too well).

Ariza has bounced around a bit playing for the Magic, Lakers, Rockets, Hornets, Wizards, Rockets again, Suns, Wizards again, Kings and Blazers. He has career averages of 10.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg.

2003 – Maciej Lampe, Slavko Vranes

Full disclosure – I was at the Lampe draft in 2003 at MSG and Knicks fans were beside themselves. We had heard stories and fairy tales about this man and most every Knicks fan there was ecstatic by this pick (especially given the first round pick was Michael Sweetney).

Naturally, Lampe never played a game for the Knicks. He was part of a trade package to the Suns for Stephon Marbury in 2004. He was later traded to the Hornets and then the Rockets before his NBA career ended in 2006. His NBA career totaled 64 games (0 with Knicks despite all the hoopla in the Garden that evening). He is currently playing in Europe.

Vranes never played a game for the Knicks but apparently he did dress for one game in 2003-04 season for the Blazers, after he was waived by the Knicks in December 2003. In that game, he played three minutes. Did not score, rebound or assist but did commit one excellent foul that game.

2002 – Milos Vujanic

Vujanic is another myth. Another European “God” Knicks fans heard so many stories about. Like, Lampe, this was an exciting pick!

Until he too, like Lampe, was part of the famed Marbury trade in 2004. Vujanic never played in the NBA. He’s been retired from basketball since 2011.

2001 – Michael Wright, Eric Chenowith

Neither man ever played a game in the NBA. Moving on…

2000 – Lavor Postell

A fan favorite, given his local ties to St. John’s. My father used to make jokes about his relation to Aeropostale, the famous clothing store during this time. Postell’s career last three years and 61 total games with a career average of 3.2 ppg. Five years ago, Postell enlisted in the US Army

1999 – JR Koch

Never played a game in the NBA.

1998 – Demarco Johnson, Sean Marks

Johnson’s career consisted of 5 games with the Knicks that season. His NBA career was over quickly

Marks actually had a pretty lengthy 11 year NBA career. Not much stands out looking at stats, but he was always a bright guy and teams valued his leadership and high basketball IQ. That intelligence is being put to work today as he spent a lot of time in the Spurs front office, before being named the Nets General Manager in 2016. Oh and he never played a single game for the Knicks.

1997 – None

1996 – None

1995 – None

1994 – None

1993 – None

1992 – None

1991 – None

1990 – None

1989 – Brian Quinnet

Quinnet’s Knicks career lasted 123 games over two and a half years and he never averaged more than 4.7 ppg in a season. His career ended in 1992 with the Mavs.

1988 – Greg Butler, Phil Stinnie

Butler played just 46 games with the Knicks

Stinnie never played a game in the NBA

Mike is a member of the FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) and an alum of the University of Cincinnati.

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