Dennis Smith Jr. was in play for the Knicks at no. 8 on draft night. New York ended up passing on Smith Jr. to select Frank Ntilikina, a French prospect who plays the same position as Smith Jr. Many NBA teams ask unorthodox questions to players in pre-draft meetings in order to better understand who they are. Could the Knicks’ decision to pass on Smith Jr. have something to do with… his reluctance to eat a strange delicacy? From Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:
“We went out to some restaurant and they had me eat some octopus, like an actual octopus tentacle,” Smith Jr. told the Daily News. “First time ever. I wasn’t going to try it, honestly. They kind of put the pressure on me to do it.”
Was this just something that happened and doesn’t mean anything? Or were the Knicks trying to gauge Smith Jr.’s willingness to try new things? We may never know, unless perhaps somebody asks Phil Jackson.
Ntilikina, who didn’t play in Summer League due to an injury, remains a question mark. He’s an enticing prospect, but Smith Jr. dropped jaws in his Summer League run, astounding fans with his agility and explosiveness. To say that the Knicks will regret passing on Smith Jr. is premature, but not out of the realm of possibility.