Last year, the Knicks found an undrafted gem in Allonzo Trier. The Arizona guard fell through the Draft, and New York quickly scooped him up knowing he had a shot to make the team out of Summer League.
What ensued was a player who averaged 10.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 22.8 minutes per game off the bench last season. A two-year, $6.9 million contract with a team option came his way in return this offseason.
This season, that undrafted story could have a new chapter with Oregon big man Kenny Wooten.
Wooten fell through the Draft as well, and the Knicks were swift once again in their pickup. Known for his defensive prowess rather than his offensive skill, the Knicks figured he would fit into David Fizdale's system of having stout, aggressive defenders in his roster.
In fact, Wooten was told by New York that they were considering him at No. 55 before they eventually traded up to nab Ignas Brazdeikis at No. 47. That seems to be another steal at the moment after his 30-point night against the Suns in Las Vegas.
"They told me about that," Wooten told The Post's Marc Berman. "But I'm glad they got Iggy. You saw what he did right now. I'm proud of him. I have no complaints. [Trading up] was a really smart choice."
It worked out for both parties in the end. The Knicks still got their man, and Wooten has been pretty impressive early on. That shot-blocking skill has been on full display with four through two games. His natural athleticism and 6-foot-9 frame helps him raise above the rim to throw down thunderous blocks like he has already.
But that isn't the only aspect of the game Wooten is trying to show the Knicks. He also wants to show them he can be a solid rebounder that can also make the right plays with the ball in his hands.
"I'm trying to show the coaching staff I'm a hard-working guy who can rebound the ball," Wooten explained. "That I'm able to make passes to my players really well, I'm able to defend really well and be able to provide a lot of rim protection."
Notice Wooten didn't mention scoring at all. He only averaged 6.4 points over two seasons with the Ducks, and have five total points over his first two games.
But that isn't Wooten's game. The points will come, but defense is his top priority.
"My whole goal is to just defend as well as I can," he said. "I really don't focus too much on my offensive numbers. I'm able to shoot it. But if they don't want me to, I have no complaints."
Though Trier was the opposite type of player heading into his Summer League debut last season, he shared the same goal as Wooten this season: Make the team. Wooten thinks he has been making a good first impression, and getting an invite to training camp is the first box he wants to check off.
He'll get another chance to impress tonight against the Raptors.
"I've maximized my time on the floor but I still feel I can bring a lot more to the table," he said. "I definitely think my chances are really good."