Knicks touted first-round pick RJ Barrett could have asked for a better NBA debut down in San Antonio on Wednesday night. He dropped 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting with five rebounds, two assists, and two steals to go along with it.
The Knicks may have lost the contest to the Spurs, but seeing Barrett come out and show his poised, confident nature he was drafted for along with his skill set was certainly a win for the organization. Barrett's point total alone also made him the second-youngest player behind LeBron James to collected 20 or more points in his rookie debut.
But how did it compare to other first rounders the Knicks have drafted in the past? Here are the most recent first-rounders from the Knicks, and how they fared in their much-anticipated debuts...
2018: PF Kevin Knox
Knox, who had 13 points last night for the Knicks, was at The Garden for his debut after going ninth overall out of Kentucky. And he wasn't shy with letting it fly. The results, though, weren't really there.
Knox went 4-of-16 from the field for 10 points with no rebounds and no assists against the Hawks. However, he did have two steals and a block on the defensive end. He'd have a much better second game on the road, going 7-of-14 including three three-pointers for 17 points.
2017: PG Frank Ntilikina
Former team president Phil Jackson infamously took the French product eighth overall, one pick before Dennis Smith Jr. (we'll get to him) who many fans wanted to see in a Knicks jersey. His debut was definitely one to forget, though.
Ntilikina played in just seven minutes, scoring no points after missing two shots in a blowout loss to the Thunder. He would miss the next two games, but fared much better against the Nets at home with nine points, five assists and one steal over 22 minutes of work.
2017: PG Dennis Smith Jr.
No, he wasn't drafted by the Knicks. But since he's on the team now, think it's fair to drop him in the conversation as well.
Smith went ninth overall to the Mavericks, one pick after Ntilikina. And he had a much better debut than his now teammate after dropping 16 points on 6-of-12 from the field as well as 10 assists for a double-double in 29 minutes on the court. Smith would find a groove throughout that season, dropping double-digit points on most nights.
2015: PF Kristaps Porzingis
A 20-year-old Porzingis was another foreign draft pick out of Latvia by Jackson, and like Ntilikina, no one believed this would pan out. Oh, how Knicks fans were wrong.
Porzingis shut the haters up during his debut with 16 points, five rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block over 24 minutes of work. He didn't shoot too well with 3-of-11 from the field, but he got to the free throw line and hit nine of his 12 shots there.
But after three seasons riddled with injuries and tension between him and the front office, he was traded to the Mavericks last season before the NBA trade deadline in a blockbuster deal.
2013: Tim Hardaway Jr.
Coming out of Michigan 24th overall to New York, the 20-year-old Hardaway didn't do too much on Opening Night. He had just five points and two assists, though hitting both of his shot attempts over 15 minutes of play.
Hardaway wasn't the Hardaway he is now during his first two seasons with the Knicks. He was tentative, and when he was traded to the Hawks, Atlanta thought he needed some time in the G-League to work on his overall game. He came back strong and was a main scorer for the Knicks over the last two season before being traded to Dallas.