Reviewing Leon Rose’s Masterful Draft Trades

The Knicks finally had a draft to feel good about

As Leon Rose, the first-year President of the New York Knicks, navigated his way through the 2020 NBA Draft; he showed composure and even magical finesse. 

For the first time in a long time, the Knicks came out of the draft as winners. He turned what is usually a dreadful night for fans into a night that gave hope for a bright future. Free agency has always been an area of high expectations for Knicks fans. But the organization never seems to capitalize on signing the player they need or the player the fans desperately want. On the other hand, the organization has been notoriously bad with drafting players, so the expectations are never high. With Rose’s masterful moves this year, he removed at least part of this stigma and pleasantly surprised Knicks fans in drafting Obi Toppin, as well as making trades.

The Knicks trade their 27th and 38th picks for the 23rd pick.

The magic started a few hours before the draft. The Knicks dealt their 27th and 38th overall picks to the Utah Jazz in exchange for the 23rd overall pick. The hope was that this would help the Knicks create a more attractive package with their 8th overall pick to move up higher in the first round. While a deal never transpired, this was a high potential, a low-risk move that Leon made, which set him up for his next brilliant move.

Leon Rose trades Bolmaro for two later picks

With the 23rd pick, Rose elected to draft Leonardo Bolmaro, an overseas player from Barcelona. This pick was a little scary, given a handful of well known and proven college guards still on the board. While there was some disappointment, that quickly turned into relief. Within minutes of drafting Bolmaro, he was on his way to Minnesota for the 25th and 33rd overall picks. Rose may have known before drafting Bolmaro that the Timberwolves had an interest in the guard and used him as bait to create leverage in a trade. Or, maybe the Timberwolves just called Rose after drafting Bolmaro, and Rose discovered the Timberwolves’ interest then. Whatever the case may be, the trade was an impressive display of the President’s strong and quick communications skills. More than that, it showed his overall shrewdness.

The Knicks obtain a 2023 second-round pick

The Knicks did not stop there. Rose quickly dealt the 33rd pick to the Clippers for a 2023 second-round pick. He was able to flip the 27th, and 38th picks for the 25th and 33rd picks. The Knicks ended up with two better picks than they started with without giving up any additional assets. Looking at this situation, it seems almost impossible to explain, and paints Rose as a wizard-esque figure.

Leon Rose shows real initiative

Rose’s genius moves allowed the Knicks to draft more talented players than they otherwise would have. But the success and main takeaway of the draft does not relate to the players themselves. Instead, it has to do with what we learned about Leon Rose and the Knicks front office.

Over the last few years, it’s becoming more apparent that the NBA is business. It’s not a slow-moving, lagging business that allows for dillydallying. It’s a fast-paced business where you can only succeed if you take the initiative and are willing to take risks. 

In this year’s draft, Rose and the Knick organization finally showed they are capable of keeping up in the NBA’s business. Rose’s masterful draft moves demonstrate that the front office is serious about creating a team’s future. The fact that the organization made four trades the night of the draft shows Rose’s eagerness to continually look for ways to improve and put the team in the best position to win. Rose’s moves are the sort of display of leadership the Knicks needed – not only to give the team the chance to succeed but also for the front office to earn the league’s recognition as a respectable organization.

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