After 158 games in the development league, the Westchester Knicks are in the midst of their fourth season in the NBA G League. Over the course of the past three-plus years, 71 players have suited up in orange and blue. The organization has experienced success as a team, highlighted by a playoff appearance during the 2015-16 season, and players have experienced individual success as well. It’s easy to reflect, as November 16 is a memorable date in the minor league club’s history.
On this day in 2014, Westchester played its first game as the affiliate to the New York Knicks.
Over the course of the Knicks’ three seasons in the NBA G League, the team has seen four players earn NBA call-ups. In year two, Westchester made their first appearance in the NBAGL playoffs and had one of the top defenses in the development league. In year four, Trey Burke recorded a franchise-record 43 points against the Delaware 87ers.
With so many positive memories, what are the top four games in the franchise’s history?
Honorable Mention: An Offensive Outing
Who doesn’t like a strong offensive outing? Probably the team that isn’t victorious. In the case of the Westchester Knicks, the 143 points the team put up in an Apr. 3, 2015 meeting against the Delaware 87ers would have been enough to earn a victory in any other game. That wasn’t the case here, however. Not only were the Knicks in the midst of a ten-game losing streak, but Westchester gave up 156 points to the 87ers.
Durrell Summers recorded a career-high 39 points on 17-of-29 from the field. Walker Russell chipped in 29 points. Ben Strong (17 points and 13 rebounds) and Trey Gilder (12 points and 11 rebounds) recorded a double-double for the Dub Knicks.
4. Westchester Players Become All-Stars
There were many firsts that happened during the 2015-16 season. It was the first season in which two players went on to earn a call-up. It was the first time Westchester secured a playoff berth. It also marked the first time a Knick appeared in an NBA G League All-Star Game. Jimmer Fredette made the Eastern Conference team, while Jordan Bachynski was named as a replacement for Lorenzo Brown.
Fredette displayed his shooting prowess as soon as he arrived in Westchester. Not only did he maintain his offensive dominance throughout the season, but Fredette carried that into the 2016 G League All-Star Game. He couldn’t be stopped. The former Knicks guard dropped 35 points, eight assists, and six rebounds in the G League All-Star Game and was awarded the MVP.
Bachynski, who played a huge role in Westchester’s defense, joined Fredette in the NBA G League All-Star Game. Even though Bachynski was named as a replacement player, he made his presence felt. He contributed on the offensive end, while also reminding his home crowd why they call him “BLOCKchynski.” He recorded one block in the game. The big man added 10 points, as the Eastern Conference picked up a victory over the Western Conference.
3. Blast From The Past
On the second possession of the 2014-15 season opener, Thanasis Antetokounmpo fed Darnell Jackson on the low block, who nailed a turn around jumper. This was more than just your average bucket. It was the beginning of something special. Not only were the Westchester Knicks the 18th team in the development league, but gave the Knicks a platform to develop their young players.
After being selected with the No. 51 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Antetokounmpo joined Westchester for the team’s inaugural season and had an opportunity to develop his game. He became the third Dub Knicks alumni to earn a call-up. On January 29, 2016, the Greek native received a 10-day contract with big league club.
Another former Dub Knick, Langston Galloway, made his mark during the first season. Galloway recorded 21 points, six steals, four rebounds, and three steals in the team’s game against the Oklahoma City Blue. After turning down offers from Europe, he knew he could make his dream come true. His stint in the NBA G League was all he needed. The St. Joseph’s product suited up in 19 games for the Dub Knicks before earning a call-up.
Even though Westchester didn’t walk out with a win in their first-ever game, it was the start of something special, as the New York Knicks began utilizing their affiliate with the hopes of developing their own players.
2. History Making Performances
Before Nov. 6, 2017, the record for most points scored in a game in Westchester Knicks history was 40. Doron Lamb set that mark during the 2014-15 season, while John Jenkins matched that performance in the 2016-17 season.
Early in the 2017-18 campaign, Westchester rode Trey Burke’s record-setting night en route to a victory over Delaware. Burke was driving to the basket and showed why he is one the top penetrating guards in the G League. He was very efficient with his shot, as the Michigan product connected on 17 of his 29 shots. Burke also made two of his five threes.
The 43 points were huge, but Burke also displayed versatility in this game. He grabbed six rebounds, and recorded three assists and three steals. When you break a record that two players accomplished before, that gets recognized as one of the top games in franchise history.
1. Second Season, First Playoff Appearance
During the 2014-15 season, the Dub Knicks didn’t have much success. The team finished with a 10-40 record, which was the third worst record in NBA G League history (tied with the 2010-11 Sioux Falls Skyforce). After that season, the team added many talented players who contributed to their first playoff appearance.
The Knicks selected Fredette with the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NBA G League Draft. Travis Trice joined the team as an affiliate player and played a significant role with the team as a facilitator and as a shooter alongside Fredette. Antetokounmpo returned to the team and was a huge part of the top defense in the development league during 2015-16 season, alongside Bachynski, Jordon Crawford, Darion Atkins and Keith Wright.
For the team’s first postseason game, several members of the 2015-16 New York Knicks supported the Dub Knicks at the Westchester County Center. Game one didn’t end how the Dub Knicks wanted it to. But the postseason experience was great for the team and the Knicks added excitement to the Westchester County Center throughout the season.