The Cleveland Cavaliers had high hopes for Dylan Windler when they drafted him in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft. He had the skillset of a modern wing, a player who could shoot, create for others and defend at a solid level. Many draft pundits (and amateurs like myself) had Windler as a Top-20 player in that draft class.
Unfortunately for Windler and the Cavaliers, injuries completely destroyed Windler’s chance at becoming a key rotation player for the Cavs or realizing that two-way potential. He missed his entire rookie season due to injury, then was limited to only 81 games over the next two seasons and couldn’t find his rhythm. By last season he was too far out of the rotation to get playing time on a 51-win team.
The Cavaliers let Windler walk in free agency this summer, and he signed a two-way contract with the New York Knicks. The early returns have been very positive for Windler, who looks healthy and the most comfortable he has ever been on an NBA court. He’s not in the Knicks’ rotation, but he looks like he fits when he has seen the court for minutes at the end of games.
Windler made his debut for the Westchester Knicks, New York’s G League affiliate, and dropped 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field and 2-for-5 from 3-point range. If he is truly healthy, this season can be a strong year of development for Windler, one that he can parlay into a full roster spot with the Knicks or another team next year.