New York Knicks Rookie Praised by College Coach

Kevin McCullar Jr., New York Knicks, NBA News
Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

New York Knicks general manager Leon Rose did a wonderful job of navigating the 2024 NBA Draft. Strapped for cash, he maneuvered around, saving money whenever he could while also adding high-upside talent to the roster.

Overall, New York ended up making one pick in the first round and three in the second. One of those second-round picks was Kevin McCullar Jr. out of Kansas.

To get on the court for head coach Tom Thibodeau, you need certain attributes. He loves bigger wings who aren’t afraid to mix it up on the defensive end of the court.

In the opinion of Kansas assistant coach Norm Roberts, McCullar is the perfect fit for the New York Knicks. Roberts, a former head coach at St. John’s, knows a little about what it takes to find success at Madison Square Garden.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Kevin McCullar Jr., Norm Roberts, New York Knicks Updates

“He’ll fit in perfectly with the Knicks,” Roberts said, via a recent phone interview with Peter Botte of the New York Post. “He’s a versatile player who can play on the ball or off the ball offensively, and he’s a multiple defensive player who can guard 1 through 4.

“He probably has as high of a defensive IQ as any player I’ve ever been around in my life. And he’s tough as nails, so he’ll go guard a 6-foot-9 guy or guard a 5-foot-11 guy. So that, to me, is a guy that will fit right in with who they are and what they do.”

Listed at 6’6” with a 6’9” wingspan, McCullar has the size and length to defend several positions on the court. Wing defense is key to finding success in the NBA and the New York Knicks are adding that in spades.

Along with McCullar, the team acquired Mikal Bridges from the Brooklyn Nets this offseason. Combined with OG Anunoby, Donte DiVincenzo and Josh Hart, New York has a deep stable of defensive-minded wings.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Kevin McCullar Jr., Norm Roberts, New York Knicks Updates

Speaking of Hart, he is someone that Roberts believes McCullar is similar to. Given the experience McCullar has garnered in college, Roberts also believes McCullar is a plug-and-play guy who should have gone in the first round, similar to another former Jayhawk, Christian Braun.

“I actually think he’s a plug-and-play guy right now if they were to need him to be,” Roberts said of McCullar. “I think you can play Kevin right away. We had Christian Braun, too, and they are very similar in that regard. Christian Braun may be more athletic, jumping-wise, but I would say Kevin McCullar has better ball skills than Christian had while he was here.

“But they are cut out of the same cloth. Christian goes to Denver and plays like 15 minutes per game his first year, they win the championship. Now he’s playing 24 per game, and who knows, maybe he’ll have a chance to start there next year. I believe Kevin can be that type of guy in the right situation.”

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Kevin McCullar Jr., Norm Roberts, New York Knicks Updates

In an ideal world, the New York Knicks aren’t relying on McCullar to play 15 minutes a night right off the bat. That likely means something disastrous has occurred with the depth in front of him.

But, during the marathon NBA season, it is nice knowing there is a player at the end of the bench capable of filling a role. That was a major issue for the New York Knicks during the 2023-24 season, as too many end-of-bench guys did not earn Thibodeau’s trust to play when injuries struck the team.

Want the latest NBA analysis, breaking news, and insider information? Click Here. Follow NBA Analysis Network on Twitter and Facebook.

Interested in reading the latest storylines and analysis in the NFL? Check out our partner NFL Analysis Network.

JJ Redick Rounds Out Lakers Staff With Experienced Coaches

The Los Angeles Lakers have had a quiet NBA offseason. Apart from most of their 2023-24 roster picking up their player options, the team is

Injury Woes Continue For Bucks: Khris Middleton’s Status Unclear

The Milwaukee Bucks are in a weird position as the year begins. After their 2021 NBA championship run, the team has been stagnant. Multiple playoff

Steve Ballmer Reveals He ‘Hated’ Paul George Leaving Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers’ five-year experience is officially over. The spectacular trade for Paul George, which was among the largest of its time, had a