Comparisons are often unfair. But they offer even real NBA scouts a shorthand way to try and project what a prospect might become.
So… Duke’s Trevor Keels, who was picked up by the New York Knicks with the 42nd pick in the second round of the 2022 NBA draft, could become Marcus Smart.
“He’s competitive, man,” Duke assistant coach Chris Carrawell said (via the New York Post. Trevor really has the potential to be a really good defender once he learns the NBA game. He can really protect the ball. If When he’s locked In, he’s doing a good job of putting pressure on the ball and he’s not bad on the ball either.
“If he sticks with it, gets a chance and improves, I’ll compare him to Marcus Smart.”
Scroll to Next
That’s high praise for a second-round rookie (Carrawell notes that he thinks the Knicks have first-round talent with the 6-4, 220-pounder), but there’s a lot of “if’s.”
There’s no particular reason why Keels won’t be “sticking around”. There could be a few reasons for him not to “get an opportunity” as the Knicks suddenly have a crowded backcourt, now equipped with prize free-agent signee Jalen Brunson.
But that can happen in small increments — maybe not to the point where Keels can truly rival the Boston Celtics standout who’s a consistent contender for Defensive Player of the Year … but maybe to the point where Keels is a ”Hustle Guy” (as Smart surely is).
When does coach Tom Thibodeau give a second-round rookie guard a real chance? This may take some time. But if the Duke coaches are right, Keels deserves a look from the New York coaching staff.