NEW YORK — The New York Knicks on Wednesday night went with a Brooklyn-native and sharp shooter with their first selection in the 2020 NBA Draft, while they and the Brooklyn Nets dealt picks.
With the eighth overall pick in the draft, the Knicks selected Obi Toppin. Toppin spent two years as a power forward at Dayton University. Last season, he was a consensus First Team All-American selection and was named National Player of the Year.
Toppin is projected to be a top-tier scorer, particularly when cutting to the rim as the screener in a pick and roll. He also shot 39% from three-point range last season, which potentially bolds well for his ability to stretch the floor as a shooter. However, a small sample size of just 2.6 field goal attempts per game makes it difficult to predict exactly how he will fare in the NBA.
Additionally, at 22 years old, Toppin is already two years older than last season's NBA Rookie of the Year, the Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant. Scouts also cite high, inflexible hips as a sign that Toppin may struggle defensively at in the league.
Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets reportedly traded their first-round pick, the 19th overall, in a three-way deal with the Los Angeles Clippers and the Detroit Pistons. Brooklyn will get shooting guard Landry Shamet and send their pick to Detroit, and Los Angeles will get Luke Kennard from the Pistons.
Shamet was drafted with the 26th pick of the 2018 draft by the Philadelphia 76ers before he was traded to the Clippers in a deal for Long Island-native Tobias Harris. Last season, Shamet averaged 9.3 points per game on 40.4% from the floor and 37.5% from three-point land.
With superstars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant already on the roster, Shamet can be plugged into Brooklyn's lineup on day one of the season, whereas the 19th overall pick would likely need time to get acclimated. Shamet could also potentially be included in a trade for Houston Rockets' star James Harden, who, according to multiple outlets, has expressed interest in forcing a move to the Nets to join Irving and Durant.
The Knicks were also involved in first-round draft swaps. They traded the 27th pick — which they acquired from the Clippers for Marcus Morris at the trade deadline earlier this year — and the 38th pick to the Utah Jazz to move up to the 23rd spot. Then, while on the clock, they flipped that pick to Minnesota in exchange for the 25th and 33rd picks.
Point guard Immanuel Quickley was the Knicks' choice at 25. Quickley spent two seasons at the University of Kentucky, where he averaged 16.1 points per game and shot 42.8% from three during his sophomore season. Knicks’ Assistant Coach Kenny Payne coached Quickley at Kentucky this past season.
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