New York Knicks finished the 2018-19 season 17-65. They are guaranteed to have a top 5 draft pick in 2019, and odds are 14% that they will pick #1. Getting the #1 pick means drafting Zion Williamson. Not getting the #1 pick, will be typical Knicks.
As this list shows, the Knicks suck at drafting. More than that, they suck at trading future draft picks and have a long history of trading their picks before their first contract is up.
The last Knicks first round draft pick to sign a multi-year contract with New York after his rookie deal was Charlie Ward, who was drafted in 1994. This is not a very exciting list…
2018 – Kevin Knox
- Draft details – 9th pick overall
- Player taken immediately prior – Collin Sexton
- Notable players taken after – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (11), Miles Bridge (12)
Knox was one of the youngest players in the NBA during his rookie season, in which he played 75 games (starting 57). He averaged 12.8 ppg and played 28.8 mpg. Future seems bright but is very much to be determined.
2017 – Frank Ntilikina
- Draft details – 8th pick overall
- Player taken immediately prior – Lauri Markkanen
- Notable players taken after – Dennis Smith Jr (9), Donovan Mitchell (13)
It’s been a rough start for Frank, who was Phil Jackson’s final official move as Knicks President. He has been subject to trade rumors since day one and was picked one spot ahead of Dennis Smith Jr, who is now a Knick and Donovan Mitchell. Frank only played 43 games in 2019, for various reasons and his career averages through his first two seasons are 5.9 ppg, 3.1 apg. But he is an excellent defender with a long wingspan and that doesn’t translate to the stat sheet. That also doesn’t translate to this new age of NBA styles, where defense is optional.
2016 – No pick
Raptors drafted Jakob Poltl 9th overall with the pick they acquired from Knicks in a deal for Andrea Bargnani.
2015 – Kristaps Porzingis
- Draft details – 4th pick overall
- Player taken immediately prior – Jahlil Okafor
- Notable players taken after – Myles Turner (11), Devin Booker (13)
Porzingis played 186 games in three years. He had a rocky relationship with the front office and despite being the Knicks best draft picks in three decades (and a 2018 All Star), he was traded in late January. He leaves NY with a 17.8 scoring average and never was part of a team that didn’t lose 50 or more games.
2014 – No pick
Dario Saric was picked 12th by the Magic and traded immediately on draft to the 76ers. Magic acquired this pick from Denver, who got it from New York as part of the Carmelo Anthony deal.
2013 – Tim Hardaway Jr
- Draft details – 24th pick overall
- Player taken immediately prior – Solomon Hill
- Notable players taken after – Andre Roberson (26), Rudy Gobert (27)
Hardaway averaged 10 ppg for two years before being traded to the Hawks for Jerian Grant. Hardaway returned in 2017 on a 4 year, $74 million contract. After averaging 19 ppg in 26 games in 2018-19, he was traded to the Mavs along with Porzingis in January.
2012 – No pick
Rockets drafted Royce White 16th, with a pick acquired from New York in Tracy McGrady deal.
2011 – Iman Shumpert
- Draft details – 17th pick overall
- Player taken immediately prior – Nikola Vucevic (Kawhi Leonard 2 picks before Shumpert)
- Notable player taken after – Tobias Harris (19)
In 2015, Shumpert was traded to Cleveland with JR Smith in return for Lance Thomas. Shumpert spent 3+ mostly uneventful years with the Knicks.
The most exciting part of his tenure was this song
2010 – No pick
Gordon Hayward was picked 9th by the Jazz, in a pick acquired from the Suns. This pick was part of the famous Stephon Marbury trade from 2004.
2009 – Jordan Hill
- Draft details – 8th pick overall
- Player taken immediately prior – Steph Curry
- Notable player taken after – Demar Derozan (10)
He is not Steph Curry. Curry was the 8th pick. In typical Knicks luck, they had the 9th pick. Hill only last 24 games with the Knicks. He was sent to Houston during his rookie year in a package for Tracy McGrady.
2008 – Danilo Gallinari
- Draft details – 6th pick overall
- Player taken immediately prior – Kevin Love (Russell Westbrook 2 picks before Gallinari)
- Notable player(s) taken after – Eric Gordon (7), Brook Lopez (10)
Gallo showed potential in three years with NY, averaging 16.2 ppg. But he was part of the trade package to Denver for Carmelo Anthony.
2007 – Wilson Chandler
- Draft details – 23rd pick overall
- Player taken immediately prior – Jared Dudley
- Notable player taken after – Marc Gasol (48)
2006 – Renaldo Balkman, Mardy Collins
- Draft details – Balkman was drafted 20th overall, Collins 29th overall
- Player taken immediately prior – Quincy Douby right before Balkman, Maurice Ager right before Collins
- Notable player(s) taken after – Rajon Rondo (21), Kyle Lowry (24), James White (31), Steve Novak (32), PJ Tucker (35)
Balkman’s Knicks career consisted of 150 games and a career 4.0 scoring average. He was traded to Nuggets in 2008 as part of a salary dump for Taurean Green and Bobby Jones.
Collins averaged 3.7 ppg over 3 years and 137 games with the Knicks. In 2008, he was traded, along with Zach Randolph, to the Clippers for Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley.
His best highlight was in 2006, Collins committed a hard foul and sparked a huge brawl, that resulted in Carmelo Anthony sucker punching Jared Jeffries
2005 – Channing Frye, David Lee
- Draft details – Frye was drafted 7th overall, Lee was 30th overall
- Player taken immediately prior – Charlie Villanueva was drafted right before Frye, Wayne Simien was drafted right before Lee
- Notable player(s) taken after – Andrew Bynum (10), Danny Granger (17); Ersan Ilyosva (36), Monta Ellis (40)
Channing Frye had a very nice career. Unfortunately only two years (137 games) were with the Knicks. He did average 10.8 ppg with the Knicks, which exceeds his career average (8.7). He was traded in 2007 along with Steve Francis to the Blazers for Zach Randolph, Fred Jones, and Dan Dickau.
David Lee has done something that only one other guy on this list has done (Porzingis) – he was an NBA All Star in 2009. In 2010, after striking out on Lebron James and settling for Amare Stoudemire, Lee was traded to the Warriors for Ronny Turiaf, Anthony Randolph, and Kelena Azubuike. Those three played a combined 81 games with the Knicks.
Worth noting, the Knicks had a third rookie – they acquired Nate Robinson, who was drafted by the Suns.
2004 – No pick
The Knicks pick was traded to Phoenix as part of the Stephon Marbury deal. The Suns re-routed the pick (along with Tom Gugliotta) to Utah, who drafted Nevada’s Kirk Snyder 16th overall.
2003 – Michael Sweetney
- Draft details – 9th pick overall
- Player taken immediately prior – TJ Ford
- Notable player(s) taken after – NA
Four of the top five picks in 2003 were Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade. The Knicks wound up with Michael Sweetney, who averaged a fat 7 ppg and 4.8 rpg over two years in 119 total games.
2002 – Nene
- Draft details – 7th pick overall
- Player taken immediately prior – Dajuan Wagner
- Notable players taken after – Amar’e Stoudemire (9), Caron Butler (10)
Nene never played for the Knicks, after being the #7 pick overall (2 picks ahead of future Knick Amare Stoudemire). Knicks traded Nene, Marcus Camby, and Mark Jackson to the Nuggets for Antonio McDyess and a first round pick (Frank Williams).
McDyess played just 18 games with the Knicks and was part of a trade to Phoenix for Stephon Marbury. Nene played 10 seasons in Denver, averaging 12.4 ppg and 7 rpg.
2001 – No pick
Rockets drafted Jason Collins 18th overall and immediately traded him to the Nets. How the pick got the Rockets is complicated, but the Knicks dealt away this pick as part of the Patrick Ewing-to-Seattle trade
2000 – Donnell Harvey
- Draft details – 22nd pick overall
- Player taken immediately prior – Morris Peterson
- Notable player(s) taken after – DeShawn Stevenson (23)
Harvey never played a game for the Knicks. He was traded with John Wallace to the Mavs for Erick Strickland and Pete Mickeal.
1999 – Frederic Weis
- Draft details – 15th pick overall
- Player taken immediately prior – William Avery
- Notable player(s) taken after – Ron Artest (16), James Posey (18), Andre Kirilenko (24)
No explanation needed. Just watch…
What about the Knicks second round picks? A look back at not one, not two, but three decades of futility in round two