The New York Knicks have four picks coming up in the 2021 NBA Draft. There’s virtually no chance the organization will have all four rooks on the regular-season roster next season, so it could make sense for the front office to target overseas players in the second round to draft-and-stash for a year or so.
Unfortunately, not all international players are interested in going the draft-and-stash route, so several intriguing youngsters pulled their names out of the draft before Monday’s deadline. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported on who is staying in and who is pulling out.
Summary of a busy NBA Draft withdrawal deadline day:— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) July 19, 2021
OUT: Roko Prkacin, Ariel Hukporti, Ibou Badji, Hugo Besson, Malcolm Cazalon, Gabriele Procida, Carlos Alocen
IN: Josh Giddey, Usman Garuba, Alperen Sengun, Juhann Begarin, Rokas Jokubaitis, Vrenz Bleijenbergh, Amar Sylla
The biggest name among the out crowd is Roko Prkacin, a precocious Croatian big man who has been getting some buzz, though not enough to climb into nab himself a frist-round guarantee. He would have been a steal for the Knicks at No. 32 overall.
As for the in group, Josh Giddey and Alperen Sengun will likely be gone by the time the Knicks make their first pick. Usman Garuba has a fan in our own Professoer, Matt Miranda. And then there is the young Belgian Vrenz Bleijenbergh, who describes himself as a 6’11” guard. Vrenz worked out for the Knicks in recent weeks, and is a known ‘Melo fan, per Alder Almo:
“When I was a young kid, I’m really a New York Knicks fan because of Carmelo Anthony. I really liked the Garden. My best friend is also a die-hard Knicks fan,” Bleijenbergh said. “I watched them last year. They had like a bad year before and this year seemed better. And I hope for them to keep going and do better.”
Belgium is historically known more for its waffle irons than its basketball, so perhaps the neophyte could slip to the Knicks at 32. We can dream, right?