GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Wendell Carter Jr. may not last until the Knicks pick at No. 9 in the NBA Draft on June 21, but the one-and-done forward from Duke wanted to work out for the franchise anyway.
The 6-foot-10 Carter Jr. is projected to go to Orlando at No. 6, per the latest ESPN.com mock draft, but he's well aware of the Knicks' storied history.
"The Garden is a very historic place," he said Friday after his workout with the Knicks. "A lot of different things have happened there. Playing for Duke, Coach K got his 1,000th win [there]. I already have a few memories there so to come here and play in the Garden, that would just be an honor."
Carter Jr. met with the Knicks' brass at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago and was persuaded to work out for the Knicks, who have the lowest pick of any team for whom he has planned workouts.
"After meeting with them in Chicago, they seemed like really genuine people, people who cared about me and cared about what I brought to the table," he said. "And it's the Knicks. Like I said, they have a lot of background, a lot of positive things that have happened in the past and they're just working on trying to rebuild and be that old Knicks team that was really great."
Carter Jr. averaged 13.5 points and 9.1 rebounds on a Duke team loaded with one-and-dones, including projected top-3 pick Marvin Bagley III.
Carter believes playing alongside other stars like Bagley prepared him for life in the NBA. He's especially keen to potentially play with injured Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis.
"He's a phenomenal player," Carter Jr. said. "It would be an honor play alongside him, learning from him. He's been in the league for a while now, so learn things from him and go out and win."
It remains unclear when Porzingis might return from ACL surgery -- he could potentially miss all of the 2018-19 season -- but Carter Jr. loves the idea of pairing with him in the front court.
"He can stretch the floor," he said. "He runs the floor very well and I think I run the floor very well so we can interchange in that aspect. I don't always have to have the ball in my hands to affect the game, so I let him do his thing. I'm just there to clean up rebounds so we can easily compliment each other's game."
Carter Jr. said playing alongside the 6-11 Bagley showed that he can do similar things alongside NBA stars.
"It was great playing alongside Marvin," he said. "Marvin's a phenomenal player and we were able to complement each other's game. We looked for each other in high-low action. Both ran the floor well, both were good defenders, so it was a lot of fun playing with him.
"And I think that showcased that I'm able to play with other great players and still be able to do what I have to do on the offensive and defensive end."
Carter Jr. has already worked out for Chicago (No. 7) and Cleveland (No. 8) and still has workouts with Memphis (No. 4), Dallas (No. 5) and Orlando (No. 6) planned. Carter Jr. admitted to being a huge LeBron James fan growing up, but said he'd be happy whether he's picked by the Cavs or not. "Playing alongside him or playing against him, I'm quite OK with," he joked when told James might not be in Cleveland next year after free agency.
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said Carter Jr., 19, will only get better, which bodes well for whoever picks him.
"It was such an honor to coach Wendell," Krzyzewski said when Carter Jr. declared. "He and his family were a true joy to have in our program and they'll always be in our program. He had a sensational freshman year-a double-double guy-and he has so much more potential. He's going to keep getting better, because he's talented and he has the best attitude. He really represented himself, his family and Duke in a first-class manner, and whoever gets him is going to be very lucky."
The Knicks stressed defense and team-building with Carter Jr., something to which he responded. "They're going to be a defensive-minded team, stopping teams from scoring and just being that great Knicks team," he said.
If he falls to No. 9, Carter Jr. would be disappointed, but would also be happy to join the Knicks.
"As I went through the workout," he said, "we talked about the things they're looking forward to doing next year, and they complement my game very well so I think they would be a great fit for me."
BIG GROUP COMING SATURDAY
The Knicks have another group of players coming in Saturday, including Michigan State's Miles Bridges, Kentucky's Kevin Knox and Hamidou Diallo, according to ESPN's Ian Begley. Diallo's date was first reported by the Sporting News and Bridges' workout date was earlier reported by the NY Post. The Knicks this week have already worked out Oklahoma's Trae Young, Villanova's Mikal Bridges, and Alabama's Collin Sexton, among others. Michigan State assistant Dwayne Stephens told SNY.tv that Miles Bridges would be a great fit with the Knicks.
The Knicks were also represented at Michael Porter Jr.'s Pro Day Friday in Chicago, per a league source.