The Knicks left the 2024 Draft with some lesser-known names and a whole lot of transactions under their belt. What does it all mean?

The only thing we could predict with the 2024 NBA draft was that Leon Rose was going to wheel and deal with the three picks he started the draft with. That is exactly what he did to the point where even the expert news-breakers were confused about what exactly the Knicks were doing. The Knicks owned nine different draft picks at some point throughout the two days of the draft. There was not a more active team, except maybe the Thunder who were involved with multiple trades with Leon Rose and Company.

Of course, you cannot look at the draft as an isolated incident. The Knicks trading for Mikal Bridges changed the way the Knicks had to view the draft, with the OG Anunoby signing complicating things even more. After those two moves, the Knicks could no longer look at the draft simply as an opportunity to add depth and talent, but they also had to be hyper-specific about the cap ramifications that came with those picks.

While we were waiting with bated breath to find out where Isaiah Hartenstein will be playing basketball next year, Leon Rose did everything he could to give the Knicks a fighting chance to retain the big man. The draft was an important part of that as it provided an opportunity to shed cap without trading a member of the rotation. Depending on if first-round pick Pacome Dadiet does indeed stash for the year or not, the Knicks could save up to 5.5 million dollars on the books this season; if not, 2.3 million dollars off the books is not a bad night at the office.

I know, it is not the most exciting thing to get into when discussing the draft. I have oftentimes complained about Leon Rose’s propensity for “kicking the can down the road” and moving out of the draft by collecting future assets. What was different this year, however, was the additional draft picks along with the draft capital.

The Knicks started the night with three draft picks, they left the night with four draft picks as well as three future second-round picks. While the second-round picks do not completely make up for the first-round picks traded to the Brooklyn Nets, it is certainly a nice start to refill the draft capital and certainly provides useful trade chips in the future.

So, before even getting into the players that the Knicks selected, the Knicks saved five million dollars to pursue Isaiah Hartenstein and added three picks to the arsenal which is just a downright good process all around for what continues to be one of the smarter front offices in the NBA.

Pick 24: Traded to Washington for 26 and 51

Pick 25: Pacome Dadiet

Pacome Dadiet is an interesting player; you can read a little bit about him in my international prospects article.  Later this week, I will deep dive into what makes Dadiet a unique prospect at his age and go into some of his film. For now, let’s keep it simple: Pacome Dadiet can shoot the basketball. I believe wholeheartedly in his jump shot being a very valuable weapon sooner rather than later. He has shown flashes of offensive creation and has plenty of room to develop on-ball, as well as on defense. It remains to be seen if Dadiet will be in the United States this season, and if he is, he will likely be in Westchester. The 18-year-old Frenchman was one of the younger prospects in the draft and will need time to develop but does show some nice upside. There was a divisive reaction to the draft pick, but let me remind you that just because you have not heard of a player or watched them play, that does not mean it is a bad pick.

Pick 26: Traded to OKC for 2025 BOS/MEM 2nd, 2026 GSW 2nd, 2027 OKC/HOU/MIA/IND 2nd, 2027 MIN 2nd

Pick 34: Tyler Kolek (Traded  2027 MIN 2nd, 2029 IND/WAS 2nd (least favorable), 2030 NYK 2nd)

Tyler Kolek was a very commonly mocked name to the Knickerbockers at 24/25, so trading out and getting him with additional assets is good business. The Marquette point guard is going to get comparisons to Jalen Brunson as a lefty uber-effective Big East guard who was underrated due to size even after an awesome amount of production at the collegiate level. However, the better comparison is probably Deuce McBride, the 36th pick of the draft, who Leon Rose loved and got after similarly trading back. Unlike McBride, who took some time in Westchester, Kolek should be ready to come run the second unit immediately.

Pick 38: Traded to OKC for 40 and $500,000

Pick 40: Traded to Phoenix for 51, 56 and 2028 BOS 2nd (Top 45 Protected)

Pick 51: Traded to Dallas for 58 and 1,000,000

Pick 56: Kevin McCullar Jr

McCullar was another player that was mocked at 24/25 throughout the pre-draft cycle which makes getting him at 56 pretty insane value. The Kansas Jayhawk was one of the best players in college basketball prior to his injury and a potential lottery pick at that time. While at 23 years of age, McCullar is on the older side for a prospect and we saw that be a reason for players to slide. What that does mean, however, is that if McCullar is healthy, he should be able to contribute immediately as an athletic scoring wing.

Pick 58: Ariel Hukporti

The NBA’s Mr. Irrelevant is an interesting prospect with an even more interesting story. The 22-year-old German big man just finished a season with Melbourne United after tearing his ACL the year prior. While Hukporti is a bit of an unknown in most circles, he has some NBA-ready skills and is an older prospect who may surprise some people if he comes over. He may be a stash candidate, but he sets screens and finishes around the rim at an NBA level, so you never know what to expect.

The Knicks wrapped up the first-ever two-day NBA draft in a better position than they started, which is all you can ever ask for. They got great value on their second-round picks and added a combination of international potential stash players and experienced college players who should be able to contribute as a rookie. If the rumors are true and the Knicks liked McCullar and Kolek as first-round grades, the draft was truly a home run. Even if not, coming away with four draft picks increases your chances that one of them will be a contributor and increase his value to the organization.

Thank you to everybody who followed along with all of The Knicks Wall coverage this Draft Szn. It was a blast and this class was one of the most interesting that I have seen, I couldn’t be more excited to see how the four Knicks draft picks develop. Remember, to check back in later this week for an in-depth look at what Pacome Dadiet brings to the table.

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