New York Knicks fans in attendance at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey for the NBA Draft were left in confusion as their team made their only selection. With the 48th overall pick the Knicks selected a young and talented Greek prospect, Konstantinos “Kostas” Papanikolaou.
There is not much information on Kostas but his resume speaks for itself. He plays for the well known international club Olympiacos in Greece. He is a 2-time Euroleague Champion, voted best young Greek Player in both 2009 and 2012 and also voted to the Greek League Best Five Team in 2012. While these are all impressive accolades it is important to note that Knicks fans will not see him in a Knicks uniform for a few years at the earliest.
There are a few reasons why I don’t like this pick. First of all, the Knicks are in their prime for contending for a title even if they aren’t necessarily top tier title contenders. That sounds a little confusing but what I mean by that is that the best players on the team are either in their prime or about to leave their prime. The Knicks window to compete for a championship will not be open for much longer than three or four years with the current roster.
This is why I felt that the Knicks should’ve made a pick that could contribute to the team right away. The pick that I would’ve loved is 6’10 and 240lb Norfolk State center and Queens native Kyle O’Quinn. O’Quinn would have given the Knicks an instant contributor, a hard worker and a proven rebounder. O’Quinn would also give the Knicks much needed size off their bench. One thing that always translates to the NBA from college is rebounding and O’Quinn has averaged double digit rebounds in each of the past two years. O’Quinn has also gotten increasingly better in all four of his seasons at Norfolk State.
With all that said you can’t evaluate a draft in one day or one year and in the case of Kostas, a few years. We will need to see if Kostas can be a “first round caliber talent” as Fran Fraschilla indicated on the draft broadcast. I and most Knicks fans would have liked to see a player picked that would suit up this coming season.
On a side note I think the Knicks should look at undrafted point guard Scott Machado. He showed great court vision in his career at Iona and even led the nation in assists this past season. With the appeal of the arbitration case and free agency coming in the next few days, the Knicks will have bigger issues to focus on.