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Knicks add pair of small forwards in NBA Draft

The Knicks selected Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo on Thursday
06/27/2014 12:15 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Cleanthony Early during an NCAA Tournament game for Wichita St.(AP)
The New York Knicks added a pair of small forwards in the second round of Thursday's NBA Draft, selecting Wichita State's Cleanthony Early at No. 34 overall and former NBA Development Leaguer Thanasis Antetokounmpo at No. 51 overall.

They reportedly were set to add a third at the end of the draft, with Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reporting that the team will also acquire the rights to the No. 57 overall pick, French forward Louis Labeyrie, from the Indiana Pacers.

Early was a two-time All-MVC selection while at Wichita State, and he was a consensus second-team All-American in his senior season after averaging 16.4 points and 5.9 rebounds over 36 games for the Shockers.

As a junior, Early had averaged 13.9 points and 5.4 boards per game, and he was named to the All-Final Four Team in 2013 after scoring 24 points and pulling down 10 rebounds in the Shockers' 72-68 loss to eventual national champion Louisville in the semifinals.

Prior to transferring to Wichita State, the 6-foot-8 native of Middletown, N.Y. spent two seasons at Sullivan County CC in upstate New York, where he was a two-time NJCAA All-American and the NJCAA Division III Player of the Year in both 2010-11 and 2011-12.

Antetokounmpo, a 6-foot-7, 21-year-old Greek national of Nigerian descent, played in the D-League with the Delaware 87ers last season, and he is the first D-League draft eligible player of international descent to be selected in the NBA Draft.

The older brother of Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thanasis averaged 12 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game for the 87ers last year and was an NBDL All-Defensive third team selection.

Antetokounmpo began his pro career in his native Greece in 2012-13, averaging 12.2 points and 4.9 rebounds for Filathlitikos in the Greek Second Division. He originally declared for the 2013 NBA Draft along with his younger brother, but withdrew and was later selected by the 87ers with the ninth overall pick in the 2013 D-League Draft.

Labeyrie, a 6-foot-10 power forward, played for Paris-Levallois in the French Pro A League last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

The Knicks, who did not own a pick in the 2014 draft until earlier in the week, had acquired both the No. 34 and No. 51 picks in a six-player trade that sent center Tyson Chandler and guard Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks.

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