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The Knicks picked small forward Kevin Knox with the No. 9 pick in Thursday's NBA Draft. The pick didn't make too many Knicks fans (at least at Barclays Center) very happy. One Knicks legend was optimistic.
"I remember seeing him play. He didn't have a particularly good game, but I see that he had a lot of confidence in his ability. I'm glad they took a forward," Knicks legend and NBA Hall of Famer Earl 'The Pearl' Monroe told me Thursday at the "A Night Among The Legends" charity event in Manhattan. "I really didn't like the idea of them going for a guard. I think you went for a guard last year, but even (Trey) Burke this past year, I think he really proved himself of what he can be and do. I thought they should have showcased his game from the beginning of the year as opposed to just the end of the year."
Monroe, who was on a panel with former Knick Len Elmore and former Knick and NBRPA President Tom Hoover, said he understood why the Knicks went with Knox over a more polished player like Mikal Bridges.
"Mikal is more seasoned and polished and understands the game a little bit better," Monroe said. "I think they were going with youth and exuberance, and the upside I guess they felt, he's got a high upside."
It's too early to truly tell whether Knox will be the right pick or not. He fills a need that the Knicks had, and now they hope he can be an impact player for them, because anything less would be a disappointment. What isn't too early to tell though is that LeBron James to the Knicks is probably a pipe dream this summer.
"I really don't think so," Monroe said. "I saw something that Shaquille O'Neal said about him 'shouldn't be chasing championships at this stage of his life.' When you play basketball, that's what you do. You play to win a championship. I'm quite sure that wherever he might end up will have a chance to at least go to the championship round."
Monroe was one of the best guards to ever play the game. His style was so unique that we may never see anything like it. He played alongside fellow Hall of Famer Walt 'Clyde' Frazier in a backcourt that may never be topped. In fact, Monroe doesn't see that dynamic duo ever being beaten.
"It'll stay true forever, baby," Monroe said. "I love these guys. But these guys haven't played with hand-checking. Hand-checking changed a lot of things and you had to do different things. The game is wide open. Fortunately, these guys, I'm not going to take anything from them, they are tremendous players ... we did what we did in our era. This is their era. We were the Rolls-Royce backcourt, you can't get any much better than that."