*(ED’s NOTE: This article was written before the Knicks traded up with the Utah Jazz for the 23rd pick. Keep in mind, while the opinion still stands on the prospects I’ve watched things are always subject to change.)
It is finally the NBA Draft!
Basketball hasn’t been gone for too long. The NBA Finals was a month ago and since then it has been relatively quiet with noises here and there such as teams doing their due diligence on the draft prospects, determining when the 2020–2021 NBA season should start, when the trade period should open, and how soon can free agency begin. While those kinks are still being handled, tomorrow is the NBA Draft and all eyes are on who “got next” in the league.
The New York Knicks have the eighth overall pick in this year’s lottery draft while also having the 27th and 38th picks. While it may seem like it is a big detriment to the team most scouts believe that this is one of the worst drafts in NBA history since there are very little players in the lottery with superstar potential. At best, the Knicks could find high value rotational players who could have a positive impact on the team.
There are several players of interest that I believe would be best fit for the Knicks based on scouting reports I read. Keep in there is no such thing as a perfect prospect. Plus the Knicks need EVERYTHING. They need a true lead guard, a complimentary shooting guard, a stretch big, wing defenders, etc. As far as this list goes, I am only highlighting the players the Knicks should keep in mind before they hand (email?) their prospect to Adam Silver. For all we know, that pick could be traded in an instant.
2020 NBA Draft — Ranking the Power Forwards
Obi Toppin was the best player in college basketball in 2020. But is he the top power forward prospect in the NBA…
2020 NBA Draft — Ranking the Point Guards
LaMelo Ball, Killian Hayes, Tyrese Haliburton, and Cole Anthony lead one of the deepest point guard classes in NBA…
2020 NBA Draft — Ranking the Shooting Guards
Anthony Edwards tops the SG rankings, but could Devin Vassell and Tyrese Maxey end up as more valuable players?
2020 NBA Draft — Ranking the Small Forwards
How good can Isaac Okoro be, and do Deni Avdija or any of the other small forwards in the draft stack up?
2020 NBA Draft — Ranking the Centers
Is James Wiseman really the best center in the 2020 NBA Draft, or is Onyeka Okongwu the better play on draft day?
Anyways here are the list of players I believe the Knicks should draft if they are available:
AND WITH THE EIGHTH PICK, THE NEW YORK KNICKS SELECT…UH…ANY OF THESE GUYS
1. ) Killian Hayes
- Strengths: can score off the dribble, excellent free throw shooter, good playmaker, solid defender, has a good feel for the game
- Weaknesses: not very athletic, not an efficient shooter, can rush his shots at times, overly reliant on his left hand
2.) Kira Lewis Jr.
- Strengths: extremely quick for his size, thrives at making plays in transition, solid handles, plays hard, can shoot at an elite level, solid defender
- Weaknesses: can get too reckless at times, a bit of a ball hog, too undersized to be a true point guard or shooting guard
3.) Issac Okoro
- Strengths: scan score off the dribble, extremely athletic, hard-nosed defender, can use his strength to “slash” his way to the rim and breaking down the defense, high motor, strong rebounder
- Weaknesses: terrible shooter, has moments of lapses on defense, hesitates with his jump shot, turnover prone
4.) Devin Vassell
- Strengths: prototypical 3-D wing, excellent shooter from deep, adequate scorer, solid rebounder, good motor, very good defender
- Weaknesses: can’t really create his own shot, can struggle to score in traffic, can get risky on defense and leading to foul trouble, rushes his shots at times
5.) Obi Toppin
- Strengths: stretch big that can space the floor, very high motor, solid scorer off the dribble, solid playmaker, can score in the low post, very good athlete
- Weaknesses: not a good rebounder which is strange for a big man, can be hesitant with his jumpers, poor defender that might be due to his body type more so than effort, struggles to guard quicker players in space, not an elite ball handler
6.) Patrick Williams
- Strengths: high athleticism (practically can jump out of the gym), solid free throw shooter, good defender and shot blocker, solid rebounder, can score off the dribble, can play off ball
- Weaknesses: extremely raw and undisciplined, needs to improve as a shooter, can be passive at times, not a good playmaker
7.) Deni Avdijia
- Strengths: good scorer off the dribble, solid shooter, solid rebounder, excellent playmaker, solid athlete, okay defender
- Weaknesses: not a consistent shooter, lacks an elite first step, needs to be a better free throw shooter, still raw defensively
8.) Onyeka Okongwu
- Strengths: strong motor, very good low post scorer, gifted athlete, very good defender, solid shot blocker
- Weaknesses: no definitive offensive game outside pick and roll dunks, not a playmaker, a bit undersize to play inside, a bit raw defensively
9.) Tyrese Maxey
- Strengths: good scorer, extremely coachable, solid playmaker, very good athlete, can play off ball, strong rebounder for his size
- Weaknesses: needs to improve as a shooter, not a true point guard and too small to play shooting guard, can be inconsistent, turnover prone, plays undisciplined and wildly at times
10.) Tyrese Haliburton
- Strengths: high IQ player, excellent playmaker, has a good size as a combo guard, decent defender
- Weaknesses: not very athletic, can be too passive, unselfish to a fault, lacks a first step, streaky shooter, can be undisciplined on defense
AND WITH THE 27TH PICK, THE NEW YORK KNICKS SELECT…SOMEBODY
11.) Desmond Bane
- Strengths: elite shooter from deep, strong motor, solid defender, physically strong, excellent free throw shooter
- Weaknesses: can be passive on offense at times, not an elite athlete, can struggle to guard quicker players, not strong enough handles
12.) Tyrell Terry
- Strengths: very good shooter, solid playmaker, above average athlete, can be a good rebounder for his size, solid defender
- Weaknesses: can have tunnel vision on scoring, undersized point guard, not quick enough, can be careless with the ball
13.) Theo Maledon
- Strengths: has a good feel for the game, solid shooter, solid playmaker, decent athlete
- Weaknesses: can be too unselfish, lapses on the defense a lot, rushes his shots at times
AND WITH THE 38TH PICK, THE NEW YORK KNICKS SELECT…SOMEBODY DECENT WE HOPE
14.) Nico Mannion
- Strengths: crafty scorer, solid playmaker, can play off ball, decent defender, has a good feel for the game
- Weaknesses: not very athletic, inconsistent shooter, struggles to defend quicker players, has a bit of a slow release, not very strong
15.) Grant Riller
- Strengths: athletic combo guard, solid shooter, solid playmaker, can be a good rebounder for his size, okay defender
- Weaknesses: has tunnel vision at times, didn’t face top competition in college, older player with limited upside, inconsistent long range shooter
That’s pretty much it for players I have believe the Knicks should take a look at. I personally can’t say that any of these players will stay on the team long term but they can be instant contributors if they are handled correctly by the coaching staff. This is Leon Rose’s first pick so it will be interesting to see what his front office does from here on out. Let’s see if Rose can finally turn this team around.
*additional information from Tankathon, The Steipen, The Ringer, NBA Scouting Live