Knicks had prime opportunity to first light Villanova flame in 2018 draft

It isn’t worth thinking about what could’ve been, especially when it comes to the New York Knicks, but in this case, that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

The Knicks have three players from the 2016 Villanova championship team, and fans would love to see New York find a way to acquire Mikal Bridges. The 26-year-old was traded to Brooklyn as part of the Kevin Durant deal in February and has three full seasons left on the four-year, $90 million extension that he signed when he was still in Phoenix.

After trading for Bridges, the Nets didn’t accept the Grizzlies’ offer of four first-round picks for the wing. It goes without saying that Brooklyn would never trade Bridges to New York.

The Knicks had a chance to select Bridges in the 2018 NBA Draft and in a recent guest appearance on the Tidal League podcast, he revealed that he wanted New York to draft him.

Former Villanova star Mikal Bridges wanted Knicks to select him in 2018 NBA Draft

In case you needed a reminder, the Knicks selected Kevin Knox with the No. 9 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. The 76ers took Mikal Bridges off the board at No. 10 and he was acquired by the Suns in a draft night trade. Two division rivals, New York and Philadelphia, both had the chance to get Bridges.

Bridges obviously would’ve been a better selection for the Knicks than Knox, who has played for four teams (including New York) since being a lottery pick. Portland declined Knox’s team option for 2023-24, so the former Knick is currently a free agent.

Bridges’ journey in the NBA has fared a lot better than Knox’s has, and the best is still yet to come for Bridges. He proved in the 27 games that he played for the Nets to close out the regular season that he can be a star. He averaged 26.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.0 steal while shooting 47.5% from the field and 37.6% from three.

As much as the Knicks, especially Josh Hart, would like to see Bridges call Madison Square Garden his home floor, it likely isn’t going to happen anytime soon (if it ever does).