The Knicks have known for more than a month they will be picking fourth in tomorrow’s NBA draft at Barclays Center, although rumors say the team could trade down for the right package of players and picks.
Assuming the Knicks stay put at No. 4, this would mark the 13th time since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976 that the team selects a player in the top 10 of the draft. Not all have been winners, but here’s a look at the most successful players selected in the top 10 by the Knicks over the past 39 years.
The original NBA lottery pick, Ewing was the prized top choice of the 1985 draft. He lived up to expectations as he led the Knicks’ push to a deciding Game 7 of the 1994 NBA Finals, coming up short against the Rockets. While an NBA title eluded him, he stands as a symbol of the Knicks’ 1990s resurgence as an Eastern Conference power. He spent 15 of 17 seasons with the Knicks, earned 11 All-Star selections and was honored with a spot in the Hall of Fame.
An All-Star his rookie year after being selected third overall in 1979, the 7-1 center averaged 20.9 points and 8.2 rebounds over his first two seasons with the Knicks. His production dipped in subsequent seasons — and multiple foot injuries forced him to miss nearly two full seasons around the time of Ewing’s arrival. In 1988, he was dealt to the Bulls for Charles Oakley and later helped Michael Jordan win three championships as Chicago’s starting center.
Micheal Ray Richardson
Once hailed as “the next Walt Frazier,” the No. 4 pick in 1978’s first four seasons as the Knicks’ point guard put him on course to nearly fulfill that prophecy as he averaged 14.8 points, seven assists and 2.6 steals. His Knicks tenure was cut shot in 1982 when he was traded to the Warriors for Bernard King, then dealt to the New Jersey Nets less than four months later. The four-time All-Star’s eight-year career came to a sudden end when he was suspended in 1986 for violations of the NBA’s drug policy.
OK, so he never wore a Knicks uniform after the franchise selected the Brazilian prospect with the seventh overall pick in 2002. But 14 years into his career and the big man continues to play a key role on a Wizards team that reached the Eastern Conference semifinals this spring. He spent the bulk of his career with the Nuggets after the Knicks sent him there on draft night in the trade that brought Antonio McDyess (briefly) to the Knicks.