It’s the most wonderful tiiiiiiime of the yeaaaaar.
(If you’re a Knicks fan in a year where they actually have draft picks.)
Yes, I’m talking about #NBADraftSZN. Now that the big, dumb NFL Draft is over, websites can start focusing on the real issues, like who the Knicks (and I guess everyone else) will be taking at the end of June, after the dumb, boring NBA playoffs are over with.
So, without further adieu, here’s a smattering of some mock drafts. Just bear in mind that, until the draft lottery on May 16, the Knicks’ and every other team’s draft spot is not set in stone. But as it stands, if nothing changes in the lottery, the Knicks will pick at the No. 7 spot.
Also, the Knicks have two second round picks from the Rockets and the Bulls, which will fall around the middle and the end of the second round. I’m only going to highlight the players the Knicks are projected to select in the first round, but some of the mocks do have second round prospects as well.
On to the mocks:
HoopsHype: The Knicks take Dennis Smith, Jr., freshman PG, NC State, at 7. In this mock, Kentucky’s Malik Monk and Frenchman Frank Ntilikina are other potential Knicks targets still available at their spot.
Smith showed flashes of supreme talent, but just as he had developed a reputation for in high school, he struggled with bouts of inconsistency and lack of effort. He has the tools to be among the game’s elite point guards on the next level, but staying hungry will be the key.
Bleacher Report: The Knicks take De’Aaron Fox, freshman PG, Kentucky, at 7. This one rings the bell. B/R’s Joseph Zucker actually mocks Smith to the Magic at pick 5, leaving Fox, Monk and Ntilikina available at the Knicks’ spot.
The 2017 draft boasts a quartet of talented point guards. Markelle Fultz is widely considered the best player available, and Lonzo Ball is a possibility at No. 2. Dennis Smith and De'Aaron Fox, meanwhile, may not slip outside the top 10.
After those four, the quality drops off a bit. Teams will basically hope to find a point guard who can be a solid rotation option rather than run the offense for 30-plus minutes a night.
ESPN: The Knicks take De’Aaron Fox, freshman PG, Kentucky, at 7. ESPN Draft guru Chad Ford — who soon will no longer be ESPN draft guru Chad Ford due to layoffs, interested to see where he ends up after this year’s draft — has the Knicks taking Fox as well. I’m a fan of Fox coming to the Knicks, but I do worry that he might be gone by their pick. Time will tell. In this mock, the Knicks pass over Smith, Ntilikina and Florida State freshman forward Jonathan Isaac. This is an Insider story, but I’ve got you guys covered with the Knicks blurb:
The Knicks will take a close look at Fox, Smith and Frank Ntilikina if they're all available. With Derrick Rose likely to leave the Knicks via free agency this summer, landing a young point guard to play next to Kristaps Porzingis looks like a strong option for New York.
Fox isn't a great perimeter shooter, but he has every other attribute you want in point guard. If he ever gets a solid jumper, he could be a star.
FanRag Sports: The Knicks take Frank Ntilikina, PG, Strasbourg (FR), at 7. This mock is interesting, because if it would go down as FanRag’s Daniel O’Bryan predicts, the Knicks would pass Smith and Isaac to draft Ntilikina, who by and large comes up under those two in most rankings.
The New York Knicks are one big question mark right now, and one draft pick isn’t going to quickly resurrect the organization. But a quality two-way point guard is an important foundational component, and that’s exactly what French prodigy Frank Ntilikina is.
DraftExpress: The Knicks take Malik Monk, freshman G, Kentucky, at 7. DraftExpress is one of the foremost authorities on the draft, with early-2000s hip-hop beats backing their in-depth scouting videos. But I believe they’re still basically just going best player available with their mock drafts until the lottery is sorted out. Still, in this scenario, Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen jumps into the top six picks to Minnesota, and the Knicks have their choice of Monk, Smith, Ntilikina or Isaac at seven.
NBADraft.net: The Knicks take Dennis Smith, Jr., freshman PG, NC State, at 7. Smith shows up for a second time, as he and Fox seem to be fairly popular targets for the Knicks. The Knicks pass over Monk and Ntilikina in this scenario.
Heavy: The Knicks take De’Aaron Fox, freshman PG, Kentucky, at 7. Another for Fox, who is the most popular guy being mocked to the Knicks currently. I sure hope they’re right. In this mock the Knicks pass over Smith and Ntilikina.
For now, we'll go with Fox, an electrifying player who has the quickness to get to the rim at will. He would be an easy top-five pick if he had a more consistent jumper, but even without one, he has the rest of the tools to be the Knicks' long-term answer at point guard and a dangerous pick-and-roll partner with Kristaps Porzingis. (Getty)
SB Nation: The Knicks take Lonzo Ball, freshman PG, UCLA, at 2.
....wait, what? OK, have fun with that one, but understand that the dude writing it (Ricky O’Donnell) “randomly” had the No. 2 team (Suns, who trade the rights to the Bulls for Jimmy Butler), No. 7 team (Knicks) and No. 3 team (Lakers) picking 1-2-3 in the draft. Which he allegedly got from randomizing the lotto results on the ESPN lottery machine. But his last mock had the Sixers (No. 4), Pelicans (No. 10) and Knicks (No. 7) picking in the top three (with the Knicks selecting Josh Jackson). So take that mock with an asteroid-sized grain of salt, because I think it has about a .0001% chance of happening. I think Ricky’s just a secret Knicks fan.
Best-case scenario: A special passer like Ball helps make Kristaps Porzingis one of the best players of his generation. Worst case? LaVar Ball gets into a high stakes showdown with Jackson and James Dolan that makes for great theater. Either way, we’re all winners.
Sports Illustrated: The good folks at SI haven’t put out a mock draft in a while, probably because they’re waiting for the draft lottery. At any rate, if we just go by BPA on their Big Board rankings, the Knicks end up with Monk at pick 7.
Monk is the most polished perimeter scorer in this class, and his ability to get hot, stay hot and alter a game from three is as rare as it comes. His top-end athletic ability gives him an extra element of growth potential, and he’s got a more diverse skill set than what he was able to show at Kentucky. The issue remains how he helps you when he isn’t scoring, and as the season went on, we got a better idea of what Monk’s average nights look like. His lack of ideal size limits his ability to impact the game defensively, and that counts for something. It seems preordained that he’ll be fun to watch, but whether that’s as someone’s leading scorer or as a crucial bench player the question.
That’s all of the more or less recent NBA Drafts I’ve come across, but if I missed any feel free to let me know in the comments. More to come in the weeks ahead!