Four-hours into the 2012 NBA Draft, the Knicks’ name was finally called. With the 48th overall pick, the New York Knicks selected Kostas Papanikolaou.
This was a head-scratching pick for many Knicks fans, as Scott Machado and Darius Johnson-Odom were both still on the board. Machado and Johnson-Odom both filled immediate needs in back-up point guard and shooting guard, but the Knicks’ greek scout had his way.
Papanikolaou has spent the last two years playing for Olympiacos in the Euroleague along with Giorgos Printezis, another European the Knicks possess the rights to. While many people have said wonderful things about Papanikolaou, you won’t see him in the United States anytime soon. If the Knicks buyout his contract, he can come for the 2013-2014 season, or if they wait, he can come for the 2014-2015 season, aka, after Melo and Stoudemire’s deals are up.
Papanikolaou stands at 6’8″ and weighs 230 pounds. He’s 21 years old and will likely be 23 by the time he joins the NBA. He’s a small forward and was projected to go 40th in Draft Express’ mock draft. Draft Express has also listed him as the #1 international prospect for players born in 1990.
Papanikolaou is an average athlete, but has superb fundamentals and feel for the game. He works hard on defense and has a nice shot on offense. Last season, Papanikolaou knocked down 39% of his catch-and-shoot opportunities. Aside from aggressive defense and good shooting, Papanikolaou also brings great leadership.
Luka Bassin, International Scout and Coach, said that Papanikolaou “could be the steal of the draft.”
John Hollinger, who seemingly has never said anything positive relating to the Knicks, is a “big fan of Knicks taking Papanikolau at 48.”
Kostas Papanikolaou seems to be a talented player, but because of the fact that he cannot immediately come to the United States and help out the Knicks make me a bit weary of the pick. Time will tell.
Here’s some video: