New York Knicks: What to Expect from the 2018 Draft Class

Going into last month’s draft, nobody had any clue what the Knicks would do. Would they trade up for Mo Bamba? Or would they trade down? Well, they did neither.

The Knicks had two picks in the draft, the ninth and 36th, respectively. Both picks the Knicks addressed two significant needs, but were the players they chose the correct fit?

Kevin Knox was not the guy a lot of Knick fans wanted. When fans, as well as NBA analysts, saw Michael Porter Jr.’s name still on the big board, it was thought that they should have taken a chance on the Mizzou wing. But the Knicks were dead set on Knox at nine.

The 18-year-old combo forward will take some time to mature for sure, but the raw talent is there. During his time at Kentucky, he averaged 15.6 points per game, as well as 5.4 rebounds per game. Now if you look at those numbers, it would seem that he was a run of the mill college player, but there are attributes that put Knox over the edge as the player of the future. Kevin Knox can jump out of the gym on a nightly basis. His dunking and rebounding abilities have really shown that, although only standing at 6-foot-9, Knox can play at a level that succeeds his physical height.

Knox can also spread the floor very well. He knows when to give up the ball to find the open man, although he did hit six consecutive threes in a recent summer league game. His consistency from behind the arch will be a significant factor to his success.

The most prominent gripe people had with Knox is his age. Although the Knicks are not necessarily looking to win now, the hope was for the Knicks to take a more polished player. As the team rebuilds, Knox will continue to produce. With a young core of Knox and Porzingis soon to be established, the Knicks seem to be locked in for the long run.

During his time in the Summer League, the ninth overall pick was top five in scoring, averaging 21.3 points per game. He also showed that he could fight in the paint, averaging 6.5 rebounds per game.

Yes, we saw what he could do on the court, and yes it was awe-inspiring, but can he duplicate that success over an 82 game span against better competition? This season for Knox is all about growth. There are going to periods where he is cold, but it is going to come. He is a guy the Knicks can build around for years to come.

With their second-round pick, the Knicks selected Mitchell Robinson, the definition of a wild card. A center who was said to be chosen out of the United States of America. Long story short, Robinson decided not to go to college. He was initially committed to Texas A&M, then to Western Kentucky, but withdrew last summer choosing to train for the draft.

His talent is not in question. The seven-foot center is a shot blocking machine who has a strong presence in the paint on both sides of the ball. His height adds to his catching ability in the air, making a lob pass his primary source of offense. If he continues to progress, he will be a great addition to a young Knicks team.

During his time in the Summer League, Robinson averaged 13.2 points per game. He was very strong around the rim, converting on many different second chance opportunities. He was also a prolific shot blocker, averaging four blocks per game, which was a Summer League record. Mitchell Robinson solidified that he is ready to make an impact in this league right away.

What is in question, however, is his willingness to work. Robinson leaving college speaks volumes about his character. The NBA will be a huge reality check for him, forcing him to face adversity. As long as Robinson can put his attitude to the side, he has the potential to be a good player in the league for a long time.

This season, expect Robinson to be thrown into the fire right away. With the departure of center Kyle O’Quinn, the disappearance of Joakim Noah, and the inexperience of Luke Kornet, there is a good chance Robinson could be the first big man off the bench. If he can keep his attitude in check, Mitchell Robinson will be a great piece off the bench.

The Knicks went into the draft with a plan. They wanted to address their most significant needs and did so with their two picks. Although the Knicks may not have the name value, Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson have the potential of being the two biggest surprises in the draft.

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