According to ESPN analyst Jay Williams, a prospect told him that Knicks president Phil Jackson could barely stay awake during a pre-draft workout.
— Bob Ley (@BobLeyESPN) June 22, 2017
New York ended up selecting Frank Ntilikina with the No. 8 pick Thursday night.
Jackson spoke highly of the 18-year-old shooting guard.
“We like the size of this young man, we like his aptitude for the game, athleticism, actually the ability to incorporate himself in a winning type of a situation,” Jackson said shortly after the Knicks took Ntilikina with their first-round pick.
Ntilikina, an 18-year-old 6-foot-5 guard, averaged 5.7 points and 1.6 assists this season for Strasbourg. Jackson said he hoped Ntilikina would be able to contribute right away but acknowledged that it might take the young guard time to get acclimated to the NBA game, which is expected for any 18-year-old not named LeBron James.
“Top-10 picks are all really young guys,” Jackson said. “You have to understand that when you go in the draft these particular years. … We know this is a project-type of atmosphere where we have to build a player that is going to develop. We hope he jumps out and helps our team this year.”