The NBA Draft is tomorrow, it’s the start of a professional athlete’s journey. 60 players will hear their names called, while many players will go another route; whether it’s a two-way contract, sign as an undrafted free agent, or join the NBA G League.
Teams will look to sign players to a two-way contract hours after the No. 60 pick is announced. The Knicks signed Luke Kornet in 2017 a few hours after the draft, while Allonzo Trier inked a deal early the next day.
Both Kornet and Trier went down different paths during their rookie seasons, but both showed that they could have role in New York’s future.
Kornet started out his rookie season with the Westchester Knicks then played in 20 games in the final two months. He was in a good position to improve and progress his game in Westchester. From the beginning to the end of his rookie season, Kornet felt like his game grew the most by learning to operate offensively, being able to read pick-and-rolls and read handoffs.
Kornet showed he could be a stretch big who could block shots and knock down an outside shot. His passing ability is a underrated skill he possess, which was a facet of his game he showed during his time in Westchester.
The Knicks’ big man felt the two-way contract helped prepare him for his NBA future since it gave him the opportunity to improve in the G League.
“I think it kind of gave me some security and the opportunity to be able to improve in the G League, which is something a lot of people are doing now with players,” Kornet said in June of 2018. “But then also to still have that connection in the NBA when we did have that opportunity to just come up and play without like it being of a 10-day contract or just for the other ways that require more of an opening and an opportunity.”
“I think the ability to slide in and play in the NBA was great because you’re able to get the opportunity to play in those games, which I feel there a lot harder to come by so I think that was a big part of it,” he continued. “Just the availability to be able to practice and to play with the NBA team, which in prior years, you wouldn’t really have the opportunity to do that as easily.”
Trier took a different path under his two-way contract. He made a strong impression in the organization and showed that he add value to the Knicks. The 6’5” guard has shown he can score in bunches, can create his own shot, and shot nearly 40 percent from deep. Trier had many bright moments during his rookie season.
While the Knicks have two selections in the 2019 NBA Draft, it’s worth following who the Knicks sign to a two-way contract. New York has shown to find players under the two-way deal who can make an impact at the NBA level.