Leon Rose’s success in the NBA Draft may be the Knicks’ saving grace

Knicks president Leon Rose has not done much right lately and spoiled last summer’s free agency. But his draft from 2020 and 2021 could be his salvation.

In the midst of the wreck of the 2021-22 season, Rose has clung to the positive by her two draft classes showing promise. That’s all he has.

Rose underlined the draft success during his edited interview, which aired Sunday on James Dolan’s MSG Network, noting the abundance of draft picks he has on the way.

“These [young] guys have been given an opportunity and taken advantage of it, ” Rose said. “And for us, it’s very exciting.”

Rose noted that nine players on the list are 24 years old and under, and that the Knicks own 13 draft picks over the next three drafts, including four first-rounders.

Rose gets another crack at making a lottery pick on June 23rd. The Knicks are seeded 12th in the May 17 lottery with a 7.2 percent chance of jumping to the top four.

Rose goes into the lottery knowing that Obi Toppin no longer looks like a bust, while second 2020 first baseman Immanuel Quickley (25th) has shown glimpses of being a potential starting point guard.

Obi Toppin
AP

Meanwhile, Rose’s rookie class Quentin Grimes (25th), Miles McBride (36th) and Jericho Sims (58th) each had their potential.

“Our young guys all stepped in this year and played well at different times,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “But we know we have to take a big step this summer. So we need everyone to be in there and commit.”

After Julius Randle shut it down with his sore quad over the last five games, Toppin had an intoxicating finish. As a starter on power forward, Toppin went on a career-high scoring binge that started with a few 20-point games before finishing with 35 and 42 points in the final two games. Most importantly, Toppin shot 46 percent from 3-point range in those five games, even though it’s a small sample size.

Rose said Toppin “took it to another level ”, adding that Quickley on point guard” showed some signs. “

“Great, just his all-around game,” Thibodeau said of Toppin. “It’s nice to see, because behind the scenes I see how hard he works. And it’s a result of the work he has put in. ”

Quickley also finished in style, wearing sunglasses after his two triple-double performances last week. The connection Quickley and Toppin have outside the field translates into the field. The two often run together for matches and hung out Christmas and the Super Bowl on Sunday.

NBA
Jericho Sims
AP

Thibodeau said the duo has “amazing chemistry.” But overall, he likes best that both the 2020 and 2021 draft classes have an impeccable work ethic.

“You saw early the commitment from the summer,” Thibodeau said. “You saw how competitive they were. The three things you look at the most are the talent / ability, but the toughness and the basketball IQ and the competitiveness. That kind of young guys are always getting better and better. I love the way these guys working on.”

Toppin has finally opened Thibodeus’ eyes as he has become a wiser player and exudes an enthusiasm that enlivens his teammates.

Although the Knicks went on to Tyrese Haliburton, Tyrese Maxey, Saddiq Bey and Cole Anthony when they took Toppin as No. 8, it now hardly looks like a fierce choice.

Asked if Toppin is ready for an increased role next season, Thibodeau said: “When a player goes in and plays well, he wants to play more. It really is that simple.”

Leon Rose
Leon Rose
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The optimism surrounding Grimes, Sims and McBride is also evident, and they will each reappear in three weeks for volunteer work and for the summer league in July.

Thibodeau pushed for the preparation of Grimes, who is the type of fighter and 3-point shooter the coach aspires to. While Grimes disappeared after the All-Star break after jerking his knee, Sims emerged as a rotating player – probably on orders from the front office who needed to see what he had with Mitchell Robinson’s uncertain free-agent future.

Rose was impressed with Sims, who went against starting centers and feels that McBride, a defensive first point guard, did well in the modest number of minutes he was given.

“We are not in the playoffs,” Rose said. “That was our goal. We wanted to take a step. But I feel since the All-Star break that the team has shown some momentum and good signs.”

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