Tonight (Thursday, June 21) is the night when National Basketball Association teams have the chance to replenish their rosters with promising young talent. Yes, my friends, it is NBA draft night! And while the first two picks appear to be no-brainers (Arizona man-child center Deandre Ayton to the Phoenix Suns, and Duke do-it-all power forward Marvin Bagley III to the Sacramento Kings), there does not seem to be a consensus as to how the rest of the lottery will shake out.
For instance at #3, do the Atlanta Hawks go with Real Madrid’s Luka Doncic or maybe Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr.? Inquiring minds want to know! There is also the possibility of teams wanting to move up or down in the top 10.
As a longtime suffering New York Knicks fan, choosing at #9 is not exactly fine. Let’s face it, the team has not had success in many years. In fact, since they lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Indiana Pacers in the 1999/2000 season, the Knicks have only qualified for the postseason five times, and won a grand total of one round! In the last five years alone, the team owns a record of 146-264. That folks is Knicksian! Despite those awful results, the team actually wasn’t wretched enough to be picking at the tippy top of the draft however. No, through bad trades which forfeited picks, to not sucking enough, their last five season picks have not exactly been very high:
2013 – #24, Tim Hardaway Jr.
2014 – 2nd round #34, Cleanthony Early (and who can forget his reign with the club – LOL)
Photo: Mid-Major Madness
2015 – #4, Kristaps Porzingis
2016 – no selections
2017 – #8, Frank Ntilikina
So as Scott Perry embarks on his inaugural draft as General Manager of the team, I would like to give him some advice.
Mr. Perry, rather than choosing someone who had an up and down season but a “great individual team workout”, someone who falls to you because of major injury concerns, or is an intriguing prospect who COULD BE the next – “Steph Curry”, I urge you to go with a known commodity. Please pick someone with a proven track record, instead of someone who has shown flashes and has tremendous “upside”. He doesn’t necessarily have to be a sexy pick, just a solid one that will not embarrass the franchise, you, or himself.
Therefore, when Adam Silver approaches the dais, and utters the words: “with the number nine pick in 2018 NBA draft, the New York Knicks select…I hope the name is Mikal Bridges, from Villanova University.
The 6’7”, 215 pound small forward redshirted his freshman year, and just completed his junior season. Along the way, he won two national championships with the Wildcats. Last season on the Main Line, Bridges averaged: 18.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, shot 44% from 3-point land, and 85% at the charity stripe. To coin a phrase from CBS Sports analyst Clark Kellogg, Mikal is a “stat sheet stuffer”! I had the pleasure (or was it displeasure), of watching him come up big against my Providence College Friars. Invariably he would make a winning play to break my/our heart, game in and game out. But don’t take my word for it, here are some endorsements I found on him from the “experts” who are plugged into all things draft related:
” He is the prototypical NBA player of today: long, athletic and with ability to make shots consistently from behind the arc.”
“Bridges will be able to knock down open threes, play in transition and defend a variety of opponents on the perimeter.”
“A prototypical 3-and-D prospect who has made steady progress over his three college seasons and may have untapped upside.”
The Knickerbockers are by no means just one player away from contending again. They need as many “solid” pieces as they can find. Mikal Bridges played and succeeded on the college game’s biggest stage, not to mention played a million games at Madison Square Garden during his time at Nova.
At the end of the day, this is a very important decision for team President Steve Mills and the aforementioned Scott Perry. I hope it is one made following an exhaustive process, not just trying to force that “next big thing” onto their roster.
And that is My 2 Sense for this week.
(Rumors were swirling this afternoon (take them with a grain of salt if you will) that the Knicks may have a chance at trading up to #4 (Memphis) to draft New York native and Texas center, Mo Bamba.)
Feature Photo: vuhoops.com