Knicks get undrafted steal after signing Jean Montero to Exhibit 10 deal

The New York Knicks might not have gotten their point guard of the future in the 2022 NBA Draft, but after all was said and done, New York did sign a point guard to an Exhibit 10 deal. Jean Montero, an 18-year-old from the Dominican Republic, inked his name to a one-year, minimum-salary contract that could be converted to a two-way before the start of next season.

The six-foot-three guard played for Team Overtime of Overtime Elite in 2021-22, making history as the first NBA player from the program.

There are no set statistics for Montero’s time with Overtime Elite, but according to The Season Ticket, he averaged 17.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 5 assists while shooting 39.8% from the field and 27.5% from the 3-point line in 12 games.

Montero was expected to be a second-round prospect, so he could end up being a big steal for the Knicks. After the No. 58 pick was announced and the night came to an end, Montero was listed as one of the top undrafted players.

Jean Montero’s signing should give Knicks fans hope after the 2022 NBA Draft

Montero has a reputation as a shooter, although as you can see, the numbers that he posted with Overtime Elite aren’t exactly staggering. That could’ve been what sent him from a second-round prospect to an undrafted free agent (along with a minor combine injury).

New York didn’t have to take a chance on selecting Montero at No. 42, and given everything else that happened on draft night, that should be a relief to fans.

The Athletic’s John Hollinger listed Montero as the No. 43 prospect in the draft. He wrote (subscription required):

Montero had a solid Hoop Summit game, but was injured early in the draft combine on-court portion and therefore couldn’t raise his stock there. Measuring 6-1 without shoes, he has to play point guard, and has refined his instincts to play more as a passer and less of a scorer. However, concerns remain about his ability to defend and to finish in traffic, and for a guy with a rep as a shooter, he didn’t shoot all that well this year.

Overall, it’s possible the draft world turned too negative on him, considering he was perceived as a top-20 pick a year ago. He’s a pretty good athlete, he tore up the Spanish second division as a 17-year-old in 2020-21, and he won’t turn 19 until a week after the draft. He’s a good second-round flier.

The draft world did turn too negative on Montero. The young point guard isn’t going to immediately step in and solve all of the Knicks’ problems, as his development is going to be key. He’s going to need to work on getting his shot back and becoming an NBA-level defender, which is an aspect of Montero’s game that Tom Thibodeau is likely ready to drastically improve.

Many fans assumed that if New York was going to take a gamble on Thursday night, it’d involve trading up into the top five for Jaden Ivey. That didn’t happen, but at least there can be some solace found in Montero’s signing.

With great risk often comes great reward, right? Yes, except the Knicks didn’t have to go out on a limb to snag Montero. Be sure to keep an eye on him.