The Knicks entered the 2014 NBA Draft without any draft picks and with little hope. As the night ended, however, Phil Jackson and his front office maneuvered their way into the mix and received two players from the draft. The team's second selection was used on Thanasis Antetokounmpo - best known as the older brother of Bucks sensation Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The swingman, who was selected as the No. 51 overall pick, is certainly a wild card. The Greek did not take the traditional route to the NBA. He did not play high school ball or in the NCAA - where so many happen to receive their fame -instead, he played professionally in Greece before coming to the States and suiting up for the Delaware 87ers in the NBA D-League.
Still, the 21-year-old did not stuff the stat sheets while in the minor league. He did not dazzle with his scoring prowess nor was he much of a talker - he simply performed well at his job of being a quality basketball player.
But this begs the question - where, if at all, does he fit within the Knicks' organization? Let's try to answer it.
Antetokounmpo is raw. He averaged 12 points in 50 D-League games; unable to ever reach 30 points while failing to reach the double-digit scoring mark on 21 separate occasions.
Antetokounmpo converted on just 39.8 percent of his layup attempts this season and 25.9 percent of his jumpers. When the 6-6 wingman is not running the transition game, he simply struggles to score the basketball. Aside from scoring, Antetokounmpo is a below-average rebounder for his size and needs to work on his handles.
One of the Knicks' prime issues is a lack of defensive stoppers. Outside of Iman Shumpert, there is not a player in whom Derek Fisher and his coaching staff can be confident on a nightly basis to lock up opponents. Antetokounmpo can change that.
His athleticism allows him to have the ability to effect every defensive possession which he is part of during the game. Despite his offensive troubles, his game on the other end kept him on the court in the D-League and may very well be the key to finding an NBA roster spot. He averaged 1.3 blocks and 1.2 steals last season, earning his way onto the D-League's All Defensive Third Team.
The Knicks did not draft Antetokounmpo for his production next season, but in two-or-three years down the line. The draft is essentially all about potential - and Antetokounmpo shines through in this regard. He is young, raw, and full of energy. For the 51st selection, it was certainly a pick worth making.
If he can vastly improve his game on offense and fine-tune his defense, whether that happens overseas or in the D-League, he can very well make an impact when he is ready. But for now? Antetokounmpo's dreams remain just that - dreams.