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New York Knicks: 2022 NBA Draft Grades For Every Pick, Trade

Knicks, RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Leon Rose, 2022 NBA Draft

The New York Knicks had themselves an extremely busy 2022 NBA Draft. With so many trades happening at once, it was very tough to keep track of what they actually got done. Dishing out draft grades is possible now that they have completed all their trades.

The Knicks made three trades on draft night that reshuffled their chest of assets and led to a statement from team president Leon Rose reassuring the fan base that everything is fine. When the dust settled, they left the draft with three future draft picks and one prospect, Trevor Keels, while giving up their own 2022 first-round pick, four future second-round picks and Kemba Walker.

In the end, New York freed up cap space and added more first-rounders at the cost of their first-rounder this year and many future second-round picks.

What the Knicks plan to do with those picks remains unknown. What we do know is that, after a massively disappointing season, they punted on the chance to add a highly touted prospect to help them right the ship. They opted for more wiggle room in free agency and adding more future picks.

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Knicks 2022 NBA Draft Grades

Knicks-Thunder trade involving Ousmane Dieng: C-

The first trade the Knicks made involved their own 11th overall selection. They sent Ousmane Dieng to the Oklahoma City Thunder for three first-round picks next year. They belong, respectively, to the Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards.

There are a few reasons why flipping one first-rounder for three earns such a low grade. First off, the picks are unlikely to convey next season. Each one of them has protection that goes at least through the lottery. Although the Nuggets’ pick will probably convey because they will make the playoffs, the Pistons and Wizards could still easily fall into the lottery again.

If the picks aren’t conveyed during the time they are protected, they turn into second-round picks. As both trade chips and picks to use in next year’s draft, having those protections over several years devalues them significantly.

In a vacuum, trading one first-rounder for three is decent business. Even if those picks don’t end up being as high as the originally traded pick, they can still hold decent value.

Knicks-Hornets trade involving Jalen Duren: B-

In a deal with the Charlotte Hornets, New York traded the one pick that was most likely to coney next year, along with four second-rounders, to re-enter the draft two spots after their original pick. They ended up with Jalen Duren, a very talented center from Memphis.

Since this pick was made in the context of another trade, the Duren selection might have to be taken with a grain of salt. With Mitchell Robinson likely coming back, adding Duren doesn’t seem like the best use of the pick. If New York planned to keep this pick, they could have gone with someone else and made the trade work extremely well.

The Knicks had the chance to add two first-round picks at the cost of moving down two spots while still ending up with a pretty good prospect. AJ Griffin, Malaki Branham and Ochai Agbaji were each available and could have given the Knicks a boost on offense. Giving up four second-rounders is a tough look but if they had chosen the right guy, it wouldn’t have been terrible.

But even if the Knicks decided to roll with Duren, it would have been a solid trade. If the front office had made the trade thinking they added the best prospect available while adding more first-rounders, it’s hard to be too mad at that. That’s not what happened, though. You see…

Knicks-Pistons trade involving Kemba Walker: F

This is the trade where everything goes horribly wrong. After adding one of the better prospects in the draft, the Knicks traded him to Detroit for Kemba Walker and a 2025 first-round pick that belongs to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Although moving Walker helps them in their pursuit of Jalen Brunson, they still have work to do. They will have to convince him not to be Luka Doncic’s running mate after the Dallas Mavericks finally broke through to the Western Conference Finals. Even if they successfully do that, they will have to grapple with the fact that they gave up a lottery pick for someone who may not even get them back to the playoffs.

So, basically, the Knicks traded the 13th pick for some cap space and a pick in three years that belongs to one of the best teams in the league. The other picks they added may not convey for another few seasons.

Drafting Trevor Keels: C

After all that wheeling and dealing, the Knicks finally made a pick! They held onto their 42nd overall pick to add Duke’s Trevor Keels.

Playing alongside the likes of first-round picks Paolo Banchero, Mark Williams, Griffin and Wendell Moore Jr., Keels averaged 11.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting 41.9 percent from the field. His two-way impact could allow him to break into the Knicks’ future plans.

RJ Barrett is excited for Keels coming to New York but Knicks fans should remember how often (read: rarely) second-round picks get chances to play regularly under Tom Thibodeau.

What is the end game for New York here? Although they have plenty of picks to trade in a potential blockbuster, they didn’t make their team any better. If the picks don’t convey or end up not being used for a star, Knicks fans will remember the 2022 NBA Draft with a feeling of sickness.