New York Knicks: 10 Greatest Draft Picks in Knicks History

Kenneth KluskaContributor INovember 12, 2011

New York Knicks: 10 Greatest Draft Picks in Knicks History

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    The Knicks have had some bad draft picks during their tenure in the NBA.

    What is Frederic Weis remembered for? Getting dunked on by Vince Carter, but not in an NBA game because Weis never played in an NBA game.

    Other more recent first round picks such as Renaldo Balkman, Jordan Hill, and Michael Sweetney also did nothing on the court as Knicks that satisfied their fans satisfied with their selections.

    Not every selection has gone wrong for the Knicks though.

    Here are the ten greatest draft-picks in Knicks history. This is not an order of the ten greatest players the Knicks ever drafted. I also looked at when they got drafted, meaning if a guy was drafted 35th, and he was only slightly worse than a guy who was drafted 18th, the guy who was drafted 35th would be ranked higher.

    Note: Bill Bradley was a territorial draft pick, so I did not include him. Also, the player had to spend a decent amount of time on the team, so even though Rod Strickland and Trevor Ariza were great picks in the slot they were taken in, neither lasted two full seasons with the team.

10. Charlie Ward

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    Charlie Ward was the 26th pick of the 1994 NBA Draft.

    I was debating between Ward and Wilson Chandler (23rd pick, 2007) at #10 , but I went with Ward as he was a starting point guard on playoff teams, while Chandler never came close to sniffing the playoffs.

    While Ward didn't put up spectular numbers, he was a hard-nosed point guard who may have gotten his penchant for being hard-nosed from his college football quarterback days at Florida State, where he even won a Heisman.

    Ward spent 9.5 seasons with the Knicks, and in his 11-year career, he averaged 6.3 points per game and 4 assists.

9. Ray Williams

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    Ray Williams was the 10th pick of the 1977 NBA Draft.

    He spent his first four seasons with the Knicks (also played for them in the 1983-84 season), and his best season with them was during the 1979-80 season in which he averaged 20.9 points per game and 6.2 assists.

    He had an 11-year career in the NBA with career averages of 15.5 points per game, and 5.8 assists.

8. Landry Fields

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    Landry Fields was the 39th overall pick drafted in the second round in the 2010 NBA Draft.

    I know Fields has only played one season. But, for a guy who wasn't even drafted in the first round who started 81 games in his rookie season for a playoff team, he had to be included at least in the lower half of the list.

    Fields averaged 9.7 points per game, 6.4 rebounds, and a steal a game in his rookie season. He nearly shot 50 percent from the field and was just below 40 percent from 3-point range.

    He was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month twice, and made the All-Rookie First Team.

    While his play tailed off a bit at the end of the season, Fields showed enough to make people believe that he will be a capable NBA player for some time to come. Knicks fans hope Fields can move up this list as his career goes on.

7. David Lee

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    David Lee was the last pick in the first round (30th overall) in the 2005 NBA Draft.

    He played five seasons with the Knicks, and was an NBA All-Star for the 2009-10 season. Lee became the first Knick to make the All-Star team since Latrell Sprewell and Allan Houston made it in 2001. He averaged 20.2 points per game, and 11.7 rebounds in that season.

    Even though Lee moved on to the Golden State Warriors last season, the Knicks got great value from the guy who lasted until the last pick of the first round in the 2005 draft.

6. Gerald Wilkins

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    Gerald Wilkins was the last pick in the second round (47th overall) in the 1985 NBA Draft.

    This pick was of great value to the Knicks as he spent his first seven seasons with the Knicks—with the majority of these seasons seeing him in the starting lineup.

    While he may be in the shadow of Hall of Fame brother Dominique and fellow 1985 Knicks draft pick, Patrick Ewing, Wilkins enjoyed a solid career.

    His best season as a Knick came during the 1986-87 season, where he averaged 19.1 points per game, 4.4 assists, and 3.7 rebounds.

    In his 13-year career, Wilkins averaged 13 points per game. Not too shabby for a late second round pick.

5. Mark Jackson

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    Mark Jackson was drafted in 1987 by the Knicks with the 17th pick in the first round.

    He started off his career strong by winning Rookie of the Year, posting averages of 12.3 points, 9.6 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.3 steals per game

    His best statistical season with the Knicks came in his second season where he averaged 17.7 points, 9.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds, and 2 steals per game.

    Jackson played his first five seasons with the Knicks before he moved on to the ClippersPacers, Nuggets, and Raptors. "Action" Jackson then rejoined the Knicks midway through the 2000-01 season where he played another season and a half for the Knicks, before ending his career with the Jazz and Rockets.

    Jackson was one of the most prolific passers in NBA history, as he finished in the top 10 in assists per game in 12 different seasons and is currently third all-time in career assists.

4. Richie Guerin

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    Guerin was the 8th pick of the 2nd round (17th overall) in the 1954 NBA Draft.

    He played seven full seasons for the Knicks before getting traded two games into his eighth season. His best season for the Knicks was in 1961-62 when he averaged 29.5 points per game, 6.4 rebounds, and 6.9 assists.

    One of the first true stars in Knicks history, Guerin was a six-time All-Star and he finished with career averages of 17.3 points per game, 5.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists in 13 seasons with the Knicks and Hawks.

3. Patrick Ewing

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    Patrick Ewing was the first overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft by the Knicks.

    Ewing won Rookie of the Year despite playing in only 50 games as he averaged 20 points per game, 9 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks.

    Ewing went on to becoming one of the greatest (in my opinion, the greatest), Knicks of all-time. The reason Ewing is not #1 on this list is because the two men ahead of him are right there with him on all-time Knick greats, and they weren't drafted first overall.

    He made the All-Star game 11 times as a Knick, and finished top 5 in MVP voting six times.

    Currently, he is seventh all-time in blocked shots, 16th all-time in points, and 24th all-time in rebounds in NBA history.

    While people point out the lack of a championship ring, one also has to remember that Ewing never had the greatest supporting cast. Try imagining a Knicks team with Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony with Ewing in the middle.

    Sigh, if only he was born 20 years later.

2. Walt Frazier

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    The man dubbed as "Clyde" was drafted 5th overall in the 1967 NBA Draft by the Knicks.

    Frazier was point guard on both of the Knicks championship teams, and enjoyed a Hall of Fame career.

    Frazier played the first ten of his 13 seasons with the Knicks, and made the All-Star team seven times as a member of the Knicks. Four times he was 1st team All-NBA, and seven times he was on the NBA 1st team All-Defensive.

    Frazier retired with career averages of 18.1 points per game, 6.1 assists, and 5.9 rebounds.

1. Willis Reed

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    Willis Reed was the first pick of the second round (8th overall) in the 1964 NBA Draft.

    He won Rookie of the Year in his first season, in which he averaged 19.5 points per game and 14.7 rebounds.

    He spent his entire 10-year career as a member of the Knicks, two of which ended in the Knicks winning the championship.

    He won the 1969-70 MVP with averages of 21.7 points per game, and 13.9 rebounds. He also won Finals MVP that season and was also Finals MVP for the Knicks other championship in 1973.

    He was a 7-time All-Star with career averages of 19 points per game, and 13.1 rebounds.