clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Know the Draft Pick: Trevor Keels

The Knicks pick a brick out of Duke.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

2022 NBA Draft Combine Circuit Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images

Last night, the New York Knicks used their 42nd pick in the 2022 NBA Draft to select Trevor Keels. To be honest, I had to think a moment before placing the name. Maybe you did, too?

As a freshman at Duke, he averaged 11.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in 30.2 minutes per game on 42% shooting from the floor and 31% from deep.

At the 2022 Draft Combine, the 18-year-old from Clinton, MD measured 6’3.25” barefoot, 6’4.75” in sneakers, weighed 223.8 lbs, and had a 6’7.25” wingspan. He’s a brick. Check it out:

The 2021-22 ACC All-Freshman finished the season with a respectable 103.2 defensive rating. He’s not a great finisher yet, but he’s able to use his physicality to penetrate the paint. He took 35% of his shots at the rim, where he cashed in 60% of the time.

Keels was third on the Blue Devils with 351 field goal attempts, behind Paolo Banchero (513) and Wendell Moore, Jr. (376), and ahead of AJ Griffin (296).

In last night’s draft, Banchero (Magic) was selected first, Moore 26nd (Timberwolves), and Griffin 16th (Hawks). Good company.

Fred Katz wrote at today (behind paywall):

From the day Keels got to Durham, the staff quickly learned what a talent they had landed. It wasn’t like Keels was some undiscovered gem — he was a five-star recruit and the No. 23 overall prospect in the class, per the 247Sports Composite — but the 6-foot-4, 221-pound guard certainly imposed his will more than maybe was expected. Behind closed doors, the buzz started growing. And from there, it didn’t take long for the rest of the country to see in public what Duke’s coaches had privately been raving about.

Keels had six games of 18 or more points, including a career-high 27 points against Pitt in March. The Kentucky game in November was his coming out party, though, with Keels collecting 25 points, three assists, and three steals, and shooting 10-for-18 from the field (skipping over the 1-for-4 from three).

The problem, as Katz observed in today’s article, was that Duke had too many talented mouths to feed: “A performance like that creates expectations — ones that Keels realistically couldn’t keep up with, given the sheer number of star teammates he had.”

Physicality is his calling card. With the ball, Keels imposed his will on smaller, collegiate competition and showed the potential to improve as a spot-up shooter. He handles the ball well enough, though he’s better suited for limited usage in that regard. On defense, he showed the ability to be a true dawg (sorry, Frank) on defense. If he stays focused, he can really stand out on that end.

Positionally, he’s kind of a limbo player. His average ball-handling skills plus lackluster court vision and speed make him unideal for running the point. He needs to keep his head up when driving and avoid getting boxed into traps. And, although he’s reported to have shot well in high school and practice, he made only 42% overall and 31% from long at Duke, which is a liability at shooting guard. He’s not only a brick, but he shoots them, too! I keed, I keed… but, work on the shooting, Trev.

Other points of concern: Despite his strength, he doesn’t grab many boards per game; he can seem to lose interest and focus at times; and he’d better be in a gym right now getting free throws up because he only made 67% from the stripe in college.

The dude is still young and will benefit from pro-level training and coaching. He’d have to REALLY impress in practice and summer league to be considered for the rotation, however, especially with the notoriously stingy Tom Thibodeau clutching the clipboard. More likely, look for him to get plenty of reps with the Westchester Knicks while Deuce McBride spends more time with the big league club.

Welcome to New York, Trevor. Now go kill it in Summer League!