With the Draft Lottery officially over with, and the Knicks officially dropping a spot to No. 8 in the Draft (of course), things have changed quite a bit in the mock-draft-o-sphere. If you were pulling really hard for De’Aaron Fox to be a Knick, well, maybe look away. This ain’t gonna be pretty.
Note: I’m removing Bleacher Report from here going forward, because they have no fewer than four different guys writing mock drafts for them on an almost daily basis, so it’s hard to keep tabs on who their “consensus” pick would be.
Sporting News: The Knicks take Frank Ntilikina, PG, Strasbourg (FR). Interesting mock here, as freshman guards Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox of Kentucky and Dennis Smith, Jr. of NC State are all off the board, leaving the Knicks’ realistic options as Ntilikina and Florida State forward Jonathan Isaac. (Last update: 5/21)
Ntilikina averaged only about 18 minutes per game for Strausbourg in the French League, but he has the makings of a solid combo guard, able to make plays when needed but also adept at stretching the floor. Sounds triangle-ish.
USA Today: The Knicks take Malik Monk, freshman G, Kentucky. Monk goes to the Knicks here, and his scoring punch could certainly override his size concerns at this spot. The Knicks pass on Ntilikina here. (Last update: 5/17)
If Phil Jackson wants to remain committed to the triangle offense, Monk makes more sense than any of the traditional point guards who might be available. He’s a natural scorer with dynamic athleticism who could play on or off ball in a triangle setting. He’s also one of the least efficient players being discussed in this range.
NBA.com: The Knicks take Jonathan Isaac, freshman F, Florida State. Props to the guys at NBA.com for being a little different here. Isaac doesn’t fill the Knicks’ need for a lead guard, but he’s a lengthy prospect with great defensive potential and some offensive talent that was probably suppressed a bit at Florida State. The Knicks pass on Ntilikina in this scenario. (Last update: 5/17)
So much of what happens in New York depends on whether Carmelo Anthony takes Phil Jackson’s suggestion to accept a trade, but small forward will soon be a need one way or another. Isaac’s height plus a nine-foot reach creates a lot of possibilities on both sides of the ball, along with rebounding even while obviously needing to put on weight. It’s the ability to handle the ball and create that makes small forward an option. Isaac has already shown the quickness to play there, making the potential versatility as a combo forward an obvious plus.
Fox Sports: The Knicks take Jayson Tatum, freshman F, Duke. Interesting result here, as most drafts have Tatum being taken in the top five. Tatum’s skills seem to overlap a lot with Carmelo Anthony, so this pick would probably mean Melo’s as good as gone. The Knicks pass on Ntilikina and Smith here. (Last update: 5/17)
Tatum's 3-point shooting will determine his long-term stock in NBA, as he made just 34 percent of his attempts in college.
That was a marked improvement from his time as a prep player, however; if he can keep getting better from deep and develop his nascent defensive skills, Tatum will be a force for years to come, because consistency from downtown is the only hole in his game.
If he falls to the Knicks, New York should thank the basketball gods. Yes, this team needs a point guard, but do you really want Phil Jackson, the guy who insists on the Triangle Offense, drafting a point guard for that system?
NBC Sports: The Knicks take Frank Ntilikina, PG, Strasbourg (FR). Another vote for Frank the Franc, as the Knicks pass on Isaac and Smith. The Knicks’ scouting record in Europe is pretty good as of late, so I’d be inclined to trust their judgement if they think Ntilikina is the guy. He’s long for his position and plays good defense. (Last update: 5/16)
Sports Illustrated: The Knicks take Malik Monk, freshman G, Kentucky. SI previously only had a Big Board up, which had Monk as the seventh-rated prospect in the class. So at this spot, according to them, he represents a bargain for the Knicks. Cool! The Knicks pass up Ntilikina in this scenario, and Smith is noticeably off the board to the Magic at No. 6 (a very real potential situation, with the PG-needy Kings moving into the top five, and being mocked to take Fox quite a bit). (Last update: 5/17. Previous pick: Malik Monk)
It would be pretty hard for the Knicks to pass on Monk’s starry upside in this scenario. He’s one of the best pure shooters in the draft and presents a ton of possibilities despite measurables that leave a bit to be desired. If Melo’s headed out of town, New York will need someone else to score the ball and would be justified in turning to Monk in hopes that he evolves into a lethal one-two punch alongside Kristaps Porzingis. Monk won’t be ready from day one, but would make an electrifying fit in the Garden if all breaks correctly.
ESPN: The Knicks take Dennis Smith, Jr., freshman PG, NC State. Bye bye, De’Aaron Fox. This is a very common trend in this latest round of mocks. Unless some teams ahead of the Knicks fall in love with Smith, Ntilikina and/or Monk, Fox is likely going to be gone by the time the Knicks get to select. That said, thankfully this a deep draft class! In this case, the Knicks pass on Ntilikina. (Last update: 5/16. Previous pick: De’Aaron Fox)
The Knicks are intent on finding a point guard to pair with Kristaps Porzingis.
In some drafts, Smith would be a top-three pick. He's super athletic, he can score from anywhere on the floor and he's an above-average playmaker. His team was terrible last season and that hurt his stock, but he has the tools NBA teams are looking for in a modern point guard.
Frank Ntilikina will also get a long look here. The Knicks have scouted him heavily.
HoopsHype: The Knicks take Malik Monk, freshman G, Kentucky. Another vote for Monk. It would definitely be wise to get used to the idea of Monk, Smith or Ntilikina being a Knick next season. And that’s not a bad thing, all of them seem pretty solid. (Last update: 5/17. Previous pick: Dennis Smith, Jr.)
The Knicks could use a dynamic young guard to groom for the future to play alongside Kristaps Porzingis. While GM Phil Jackson hasn’t done the greatest job of signing free agents or hiring head coaches, his selection of KP at 4 was a magnificent one. Whether he can duplicate that draft magic at 8 remains to be seen.
CBS Sports: The Knicks take Dennis Smith, Jr., freshman PG, NC State. Smith is the pick again, and he seems to have a pretty high ceiling that could perhaps be predicated on what type of effort he gives at the next level. Both CBS Sports draft writers had Smith to the Knicks, passing over Ntilikina, and in one case, Isaac.
Smith is an unfinished, inconsistent product -- his sole college season swung wildly from remarkable to disastrous depending on the game -- but when he's good, he's good, as his career-high 32-point outburst to beat Duke on the road will attest. The Knicks didn't win the lottery, but Smith falling this low could give the Knicks a helluva consolation prize in a stacked point guard draft.
DraftExpress/The Vertical: The Knicks take Dennis Smith, Jr., freshman PG, NC State. Another vote for Smith. Here’s a nice piece from The Ringer about Smith from a little over a week ago. The Knicks pass over Ntilikina in this scenario. (Last update: 5/16. Previous pick: Malik Monk)
Regardless of whether Derrick Rose stays in New York, the Knicks could absolutely benefit from adding their point guard of the future. Smith might not be a prototypical fit in the triangle – and he has some question marks after a very uneven season at N.C. State – but he brings star power to a team that desperately needs firepower on the perimeter.
Heavy: The Knicks take Malik Monk, freshman G, Kentucky. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. But I’m not complaining. He shot .397 from 3 and averaged almost 20 points per game last year at UK. The Knicks take Monk over Isaac and Ntilikina in this mock. (Last update: 5/17. Previous pick: De’Aaron Fox)
The Knicks have done their part in providing the media with plenty of material to discuss for the offseason. Amidst the drama, the good news is New York has some talent to build around, namely Kristaps Porzingis. The Knicks need more young pieces to pair with Porzingis rather than signing aging veterans with bloated contracts. Monk would be a great fit alongside the Unicorn in Madison Square Garden.
SB Nation: The Knicks take Frank Ntilikina, PG, Strasbourg (FR). This mock cites Ntilikina’s triangle fit, and the Knicks take him over Smith. (Last update: 5/22. Last pick: De’Aaron Fox)
Phil Jackson has been adamant about bringing back the triangle offense, which is why the Knicks’ reported interest in Ntilikina makes a lot of sense. A point guard in the triangle needs to be big and have shooting ability, and Ntilikina checks both boxes. Still only 18 years old, the Knicks would be wise to give him plenty of time to grow into the job. Surely that will go well.
FanRag Sports: The Knicks take Dennis Smith, Jr., freshman PG, NC State. I told you to be ready for basically three names, right? Smith averaged 18 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists per game for NC State last year. Some would definitely consider him a bargain at the eighth pick. The Knicks pass on Ntilikina in this mock. (Last update: 5/16. Previous pick: Malik Monk)
The Knickerbockers are actually getting a gifted playmaker. Smith not only weaves to the basket for his own scores, but he has great timing and touch on pick-and-roll passes and dimes to cutters. He made the most of the Wolfpack’s inconsistent lineup and lack of spacing last year.
His acceleration, scoring instincts and quarterback skills will give New York’s offense a new dimension for years. Smith will be a work in progress on defense because of a lack of length and lapses in effort, but perhaps Jeff Hornacek can maximize his physical tools.
NBADraft.net: The Knicks take Malik Monk, freshman G, Kentucky. And, again, Malik Monk. Here’s a nice story on Monk and his football/basketball player brother Marcus. The Knicks pass on Ntilikina in this scenario. (Last update: 5/16. Previous pick: Dennis Smith, Jr.)
Basketball Insiders: The Knicks take Malik Monk, freshman G, Kentucky. “Like calling a priest a ‘Father’, the correct form of address for a monk is ‘Dom’. This name comes from the Latin term ‘Domnus’, meaning sir or master.” Get to work on a nickname, P&T. (Last update: 5/23. Previous pick: Malik Monk)
Knicks Mock Draft Power Rankings 2.0
1. Malik Monk, freshman G, Kentucky (6 mocks)
2. Dennis Smith, Jr., freshman PG, NC State (4 mocks)
3. Frank Ntilikina, PG, Strasbourg (FR) (3 mocks)
4A. Jonathan Isaac, freshman F, Florida State (1 mock)
4B. Jayson Tatum, freshman F, Duke (1 mock)
Out: De’Aaron Fox, freshman PG, Kentucky (previous: 1A, 4 mocks)
As usual, if I missed any mocks that you find, let me know in the comments and I’ll add them in!