Later this month, barring a trade, the Knicks will pick 11th in the NBA Draft. There’s been much speculation over who they could or should select. Entirely too much speculation, really, given what history has already taught us concerning the Knicks’ history picking 11th, as well as the rest of the league the past 20 years. The first lesson we learn: the Knicks have been awful picking at #11.
To be fair, it’s been a while since the Knicks picked 11. The last time was 1969, a nice draft that landed them John Warren. Warren played fewer minutes his lone year in New York than Quentin Grimes did last year. Other Knicks picked 11th: Don “Buddy” Ackerman, Kelly “King” Coleman, Henry Akin and John “The Reckless Russian” Rudometkin. Only Rudometkin, a Knick for parts of three seasons, lasted beyond his rookie year in New York.
And yet this is not a case of “LOL Knicks.” The league’s come a loooong way since 50+ years ago. When Ackerman went 11th in 1953, that was a second-round pick. Coleman was selected in 1960, a draft now famous for three Hall of Famers going top-seven (Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Lenny Wilkens) while seven of the first 16 selected played one year or none in the pros.
You’d think by the 21st century and its Jetsonian advances in domestic and international scouting, teams would fare better with the 11th pick. You thunk wrong. Over the past 20 drafts, guess how many 11th picks went on the become All-Stars. You don’t have to guess. I’ll tell you. It’s two. Just two: Klay Thompson and Damontas Sabonis. Know how many players taken after 11 became All-Stars? I’ll give you a hint: it’s the Knicks’ GOAT’s number.
So to refresh: of the last 20 players taken 11, two became All-Stars; of the nearly 1000 taken later, 33 did (Al Jefferson was never an All-Star, but was named to an All-NBA team). The math tells us two things we probably already knew: the odds are much better to land an All-Star at 11 (1 out of 10) then all the picks after (1 out of 30), and the odds to land an All-Star at 11 stink.
But we’re not here to talk about what we already know. Using a rhetorically advanced analysis tool, I’ve been able to deduce who the Knicks will take in this year’s draft. Apologies to Bennedict Mathurin, Shaedon Sharpe, Jeremy Sochan and Malaki Branham, but history says none of them make the cut. Every 11th pick the Knicks have ever drafted had one or two syllables in their first names, then two or three in their last. The quartet above fail that litmus test.
That leaves us with Jalen Duren, A.J. Griffin, Dyson Daniels, Johnny Davis. Of the Knicks prior #11 picks, none were 7-footers; the 6-foot-11 Duren, still only 18, figures to grow another inch, so let’s rule him out. Daniels was born overseas, which none of the old-school 11s were, so he’s gone. That leaves Griffin and Davis.
The Knicks have never had a player with the last name of Griffin. They’ve had a handful of Davises: Antonio, Baron, Ben, Hubert, Mel and Mike. Ergo, the Knicks will select Johnny Davis. It’s scientific.