Someone needs to check in on Stephen A. Smith.
The ESPN host and lifelong New York Knicks fan went through all the emotions during the 2022 NBA Draft.
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Before coverage of the event began, Smith’s glass half-empty mentality was evident.
“I’m here at the draft,” Smith said.
“Everybody’s excited, everybody’s looking forward to the draft.
“But why the hell should I look forward to the draft? The New York Knicks have the 11th pick, am I supposed to believe they’re going to get that right? Am I supposed to believe that we’re going to get some sort of impact player? Am I supposed to believe that the New York Knicks are going to be better next season than they were this season?
“Maybe they might be. But that would be because they couldn’t get much worse.”
With the 11th pick of the draft, the Knicks took French star Ousmane Dieng.
Smith’s immediate reaction was exactly what we’ve come to expect from him: “No! I’ve never heard anything about him!”
Smith might have been tipped over the edge when it was almost immediately revealed that the Knicks had traded Dieng to the Oklahoma City Thunder, with New York to receive multiple first round picks in return which was later revealed to be three future first rounders.
But there was to be another twist just two picks later.
Mass hysteria broke out on Twitter after Duren was drafted at No. 13 by the Hornets – with reports simultaneously linking him to the Knicks and Pistons.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Hornets “traded Jalen Duren to the Knicks,” while ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote “the Pistons are acquiring” the Memphis University centre.
It turned out to be both. Duren was traded to New York and then dealt to Detroit, along with point guard Kemba Walker.
As the draft continued and more players were picked, the hope clearly drained from Smith’s face.
With the Spurs making a pick at No. 20, Smith had had enough.
“We’ve seen everything drafted, but the Knicks didn’t draft anybody,” Smith said.
“Let’s put that into proper perspective. We got picks all over the place… it doesn’t matter.
“Everybody got something but one team, and that’s the New York Knicks. Three conditional draft picks, what conditions? You could have drafted everybody that’s been picked thus far outside the top ten.
“And somehow, some way, one team, one, walks away with not a player.”
However, Marc Stein then reported the move would help the Knicks free up salary cap space in their pursuit of Jalen Brunson.