Later this month, barring one trade, the Knicks will pick 11th overall in the NBA draft. There has been much speculation as to who they might or should choose. Totally too much speculation, really, given what history has already taught us about the Knicks’ 11th pick and the rest of the league over the past 20 years. The first lesson we learn: The Knicks picked terribly at No. 11.
To be fair, it’s been a while since the Knicks picked 11. The last time was in 1969, a beautiful draft that earned them John Warren. Warren played fewer minutes in his lonely year in New York than Quentin Grimes did last year. Other Knicks tied for 11th place: Don “Buddy” Ackerman, Kelly “King” Coleman, Henry Akin, and John “The Reckless Russian” Rudometkin. Only Rudometkin, a kink for parts of three seasons, lasted past his rookie year in New York.
And yet, this isn’t a case of “LOL Knicks.” The league has come a long way in over 50 years. When Ackerman finished 11th in 1953, that was a second-round pick. Coleman was selected in 1960, a draft now famous for three Hall of Famers who finished in the top seven (Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Lenny Wilkens), while seven of the first 16 selected played one or no years in the pros.
One would think that in the 21st century and its Jetsonian advances in national and international scouting, teams would do better with the 11th pick. You think wrong. Guess how many 11th picks have gone to the All-Stars in the last 20 drafts. You don’t have to guess. I will tell you. it’s two Just two: Klay Thompson and Damontas Sabonis. Do you know how many players were taken after 11 became All-Stars? I’ll give you a tip: it’s the Knicks’ GOAT number.
So for a refresher, out of the last 20 players, 11 were taken, two became All-Stars; of the nearly 1,000 later inducted, 33 did (Al Jefferson was never an All-Star but was named to an All-NBA team). The math tells us two things we probably already knew: the odds of landing an all-star on 11 (1 in 10) are much better than any picks after that (1 in 30), and the odds of landing an all- Landing Star are much better. Star at 11 stink.
But we’re not here to talk about what we already know. Using a rhetorically advanced analysis tool, I was able to deduce who the Knicks will pick in this year’s draft. Apologies to Bennedict Mathurin, Shaedon Sharpe, Jeremy Sochan and Malaki Branham, but history says none of them make the cut. Every 11th pick the Knicks ever drafted had one or two syllables in their first name, then two or three in their last name. The above quartet fails this litmus test.
That leaves us with Jalen Duren, AJ Griffin, Dyson Daniels and Johnny Davis. None of the Knicks’ previous No. 11 picks were 7-foot; the 6-foot-11 major, still only 18, is supposed to grow an inch, so we’re ruling him out. Daniels was born abroad, which wasn’t one of the old-school 11s, so he’s gone. That leaves Griffin and Davis.
The Knicks have never had a player with the surname Griffin. They had a handful of Davises: Antonio, Baron, Ben, Hubert, Mel and Mike. Ergo, the Knicks will pick Johnny Davis. It’s scientific.