This is the eleventh in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of examinations into different games, events and decisions that impacted Knicks history in some way, shape or form. Stories that are not as famous as, say, “The Dunk” or Willis Reed playing Game 7, but still have a place in Knicks history, especially for die-hard fans. Here is an archive of all the stories featured so far.
So many people have written in to me to suggest that I feature a story on the Knicks’ 1996 draft that I almost wonder if that inherently disqualifies it from being considered “unsung,” but then I figure, “Hey, if the people want to hear about, let’s talk about it!”
In June of 1996, the New York Knicks were getting ready for a Summer shopping spree. The team had cleared out significant salary cap space during the 1995-96 season through trading Charles Smith and Doug Christie. Once they renounced their free agent point guard, Derek Harper (and six other players, including J.R. Reid, who they had received for Smith) the Knicks were far enough under the cap to make a number of aggressive moves to re-shape their roster for the 1996-97 season.
Before that happened, the Knicks would have to participate in the 1996 NBA Draft, which was one of the most talent-rich NBA drafts in recent memory. This draft was notable for the Knicks in that they had three first round draft picks, numbers 18, 19 and 21. The top end of the draft was remarkable, with a top five of Allen Iverson, Marcus Camby, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Stephon Marbury and Ray Allen. However, the players drafted from #10-21 have combined for thirty All Star appearances (and counting)! And the Knicks had three picks in that #10-21 section.
And yet somehow, they ended up with effectively nothing.
Read on to find out what happened!