No one would mistake the Knicks’ front office for one of the NBA’s best, but during Wednesday night’s draft, a couple of New York trades resulted in a small bit of magic.
Among the Knicks’ available picks in the 2020 NBA Draft on Wednesday morning were the 27th and 38th overall selections. By the end of the first round, New York had reportedly acquired the 25th and 33rd overall picks. All it took was one move in between, and no additional assets sent away, for the Knicks to wind up with two picks better than what they started with.
The key to New York’s maneuvering was trading for the No. 23 pick mid-day Wednesday. The Jazz took the Knicks’ 27th and 38th picks in exchange for the 23rd. Reports at the time of the trade suggested New York was hoping that getting No. 23 would help it create a package with its No. 8 pick to move up higher in the first round, but that never materialized as one of the reported main targets for the Knicks, Obi Toppin, fell to them at No. 8.
At that point, New York and general manager Scott Perry were playing with a bit of house money. They chose Leandro Bolmaro (Barcelona) at No. 23, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski quickly reported that Bolmaro would head to the Timberwolves in exchange for picks 25 and 33. It just goes to show how values can shift just hours apart on draft day.
The Knicks went on to reportedly trade away pick No. 33 to the Clippers for a 2023 second-round pick that originally belonged to the rebuilding Pistons, so to do the full math on this trade will require at least seeing what that selection turns into.
Just taking into account the picks the Knicks began the day with (27 and 38) and the ones they acquired during some draft wheeling-and-dealing (25 and 33), this is the scorecard:
- Pick 25: Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickly
- Pick 27: Kansas center Udoka Azubuike
- Pick 33: Minnesota center Daniel Oturu
- Pick 38: Vanderbilt guard Saben Lee
Based on trades that have been reported so far, Quickly is the only one of that quartet going to the Knicks, while Utah gets Azubuike, the Clippers get Oturu and the Pistons get Lee. That leaves the Knicks’ draft-day haul as Toppin and Quickley to join a young roster.
More so, the Knicks proved that, occasionally, even their much-maligned front office can come away with an obvious win.