What If… With the 4th Pick The Knicks Draft: Emmanuel Mudiay

With the order of the draft being settled, the writers of KnickerBlogger thought we’d go over the possible outcomes. But since we were whipping out the ol’ Crystal Ball, we decided to go a little past June & see what fate possibly has to offer…

A stopped clock...
A stopped clock…

2015 Draft Order
1 MIN Jahlil Okafor
2 LAL Karl-Anthony Towns
3 PHI D’Angelo Russell
4 NYK Emmanuel Mudiay

What happened on Draft Day 2015
There were no surprises with the first 4 picks of this draft. After the draft, Phil Jackson gave an interview that turned to be one of this oddest. When Howard Beck asked about the risks of Mudiay given the few numbers of games he played, Jackson became uncharacteristically hostile. He belittled Beck as “one of those equation loving fools” and that Jackson “didn’t ask his Casio [calculator] if Jordan could lead the Bulls to a title.” The Knicks President followed by admitting that “he didn’t see much of Mudiay’s games” and that his scouting only consisted of “meeting the young man and see how he handled himself” to know what kind of basketball player he was.

Jackson’s comments made the New York headlines for a day, but summer was a time for the Yankees and Mets. Eventually the back pages turned to the summer classic, and then on to football. Jackson’s admission of failing to scout properly wasn’t forgotten, but no one bothered to poke the bear with follow-up questions about his methods of acquiring players. No one dared take the coach to task. The only thing that mattered was whether or not the Knicks would win in 2016.

What will be written on draft day in 2018
The good news is that Mudiay made his first All Star Game this season. Emmanuel is on a meteoric rise, much like AMC’s Mad-Men spinoff sitcom comedy Peggy & Stan, and is slowly becoming one of the East’s best points. The Knick guard was always able to score at the rim, and is their best distributor since Mark Jackson. In his third year his three point shot has finally come around, and opposing team were no longer able to leave him unchecked on the perimeter. His back-to-back game winning three point shots against Miami and Toronto made ESPN headlines, but also proved to the league that the book on him had to be rewritten.

Which brings us to the bad news. Even with Mudiay making his first All Star Game, the Knicks still landed the 14th pick in the draft. Cap-wise they are strapped with the contracts of the now hobbled Carmelo Anthony who missed 62 games last year, and the mediocre Greg Monroe who unfortunately played in 79 games. New York will be stuck with ‘Melo’s contract for only one more year, and any production he gives the team next year will be a bonus.

Let's dot this!

While a healthy Anthony could be a boost to the offense, the Knicks have a number of problems to address. They still need a shooting guard, competency on the bench, and the defense is still a joke. New York is stuck in the NBA’s middle ground, not good enough to be among the league’s best teams and not bad enough to help themselves in the draft. Jackson hasn’t made a single good decision since selecting Mudiay, and New York has enough holes that they can do well with a number of players that could be available at the 14th pick. The only catch is that they need to grab one that will succeed at the NBA level, something Jackson has failed to do in the last 2 drafts.

On twitter today, Jim Cavan mused “What do Reggie Jackson and Phil Jackson have in common? They both have struck out a lot in New York!” Jackson hasn’t changed his approach much, eschewing modern methods and strategies, and the team has suffered in acquiring any kind of talent. New York needs a solid player today, or they could alienate their budding star, and risk losing him in free agency to a more competent franchise.

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