After much speculation, the Knicks ultimately decided to select French point guard Frank Ntilikina with the eight pick in the NBA Draft. Names like Dennis Smith Jr. and Malik Monk — both of whom were still available when the Knicks were on the clock — were bypassed in favor of the athletic guard.
As Ian Begley of ESPN writes, team president Phil Jackson spoke about New York’s highly-debated selection and the ability that made the 18-year-old a must-have prospect.
“We like the size of this young man, we like his aptitude for the game, athleticism, actually the ability to incorporate himself in a winning type of a situation,” Jackson said.
New York used its 44th pick on Houston’s Damyean Dotson and its 58th pick on Serbian guard Ognjen Jaramaz. Under Jackson, the Knicks have emphasized selecting European talent and college seniors; with the team looking to build aorund young talent, it’s likely that the 2017 draft picks — particularly Ntilikina — get decent looks next season.
Here are additional notes from around the Atlantic Division:
- Per Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports (via Twitter), the Raptors tried trading up in the draft to select OG Anunoby but were pleasantly surprised when he was still available come the 23rd pick.
- On a similar note, the Nets liked Michigan’s D.J. Wilson and tried trading up, but did not have the assets to do so, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk (via Twitter). Wilson was taken 17th overall by the Bucks.
- Despite rumors linking the Celtics to Jimmy Butler, general manager Danny Ainge told reporters, including ESPN’s Chris Forsberg, that no recent discussions to acquire the former Bulls All-Star happened.
- Per Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly (via Twitter), all of the Sixers‘ international picks are expected to stay overseas next season.
- After drafting Markelle Fultz this year, Ben Simmons last year, and assembling a drove of young talent, now is the time for Sixers head coach Brett Brown to put together a winning product, Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bob Cooney writes.