The draft is almost here! Sometime between 7:30-8:00 p.m. today, the Knicks will be drafting either a future cornerstone, a monumental bust, or maybe someone in between. But whom exactly should New York draft?
Leave that to your favorite team of Knicks bloggers!
In the interest of not making this exercise a 20,000 word behemoth where we all figure out what circumstances could send Luka Doncic to the Knicks, nine P&T writers completed a mock draft to deliver us a consensus on who should be available when the Knicks pick at nine. All of the writers were instructed to respond with their brains, and not their hearts. So before we get into the fun(ner) stuff, here’s the P&T staff mock draft:
With that data in hand, I compiled a chart detailing all of the drafted players’ average draft position based on our mock (if a player wasn’t drafted by any given writer they were given a value of 15 for that spot):
Based on our data, Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marvin Bagley III, Mohamed Bamba, Trae Young, Michael Porter Jr. and Wendell Carter Jr. are all off the board for this exercise. That leaves us able to pick from some players that have been commonly linked to the Knicks lately: Miles Bridges, Mikal Bridges, Kevin Knox, Lonnie Walker IV and Collin Sexton, among others.
So with that, let’s get to picking!
Generally speaking, New York is in a good position to draft a good prospect. Outside of two players that I prefer they not draft, The Bridges Boys, Kevin Knox, Lonnie Walker, Wendell Carter and Trae Young (if he falls) are all good picks. It reminds me of the 2017 Draft where selecting any of the available guards would have been a smart pick.
There is this weird feeling in my gut that Miles Bridges is going to be a Donovan Mitchell-esque type of pick for any of the teams that select him. Do I expect Bridges to be as good as Mitchell or have Mitchell’s ceiling? Not at all, but I believe the cramped spacing and the change of role in the Michigan State offense affected his surface efficiency numbers. There was a drop in his composite zTS% from 58.5 to 56 year-over-year, but Bridges did have impressive playtype figures during his sophomore campaign. M. Bridges, with an “i” and an “l” in his name, was in the 93rd percentile in pick-and-roll points per possession, 79th percentile in transition points per possession, and 66th percentile in off-screen points per possession. Furthermore, Bridges improved his hPPR from -5.82 in his first year to -1.78 in his second.
Bridges has the frame, athleticism, rebounding, shooting stroke, and improved scoring versatility and playmaking to be a better pro than college player. It’s crazy to me that he’s projected in a number of mock drafts outside the top 10. He’s the guy.
Jon “Stingy” Schulman
Good day familay, let us consecrate this occasion by pouring one out for Luka Doncic. I’m also vaguely annoyed at not getting a crack at Jontay Porter (the only Porter of note, no disrespect to Terry). Thankfully the infusion of new blood will help us come together in lockstep quite soon enough. I’m no advocate for trading this pick. There is talent to be had and talent is being needed.
For my part, I’m looking at a grand total of five guys in play here. That makes me love and hate this spot. I know I can splash the pot if there was just one guy I was truly after but I don’t mind letting the cream rise to the top of our consensus.
In play (Stingy Big Board Rank):
Miles Bridges (4)
Kevin Knox (6)
Zhaire Smith (7)
Mikal Bridges (8)
Lonnie Walker (11)
That’s all well and good. The Knicks have plenty of options in my eyes. But allow me to come in lukewarm. It’s Miles Bridges all the way, folks. Still quite young, Bridges just turned 20 in March and has made small, smart hops forward with his well-rounded game. This came despite, in my eyes, playing out of position. I see Miles as a power forward who can snare rebounds and get the ball rumbling downhill a little bit. That comes in conjunction with being a willing and decisive passer. This should help keep things open and humming for a team that needs to attack quickly and from all angles to keep their biggest threat (Porzingis, adoy!) attacking on the go. Bridges can bang the three, especially in catch-and-shoot situations, and his combination of slashing and athleticism should menace opponents who surely can’t leave Kristaps unattended.
This is a smart play for a team that could really benefit from a high boom/low bust potential type of player. Certainly there’s a strong case to be made for the riskier, friskier folks. Who wouldn’t lust over betting on one of the younger targets reaching their highest height. It’s just the bottoms that scare me. For now, if the Knicks can connect on smart picks for the next year or two, they may be setting themselves up to finally be a tantalizing free agent and trade destination with a strong core.
In the great BBC comedy Coupling, the shamelessly promiscuous Jane meets a man at work she’s got the hots for and agrees to attend a meeting with him. It turns out the meeting consists of socially conservative British Christians, who seem a lot like socially conservative American Christians except they speak better and dress worse. Jane is shocked to discover everyone in the meeting except her is a virgin.
“A number of us feel that premarital sex is a very bad thing,” an elderly woman says.
“But you’re so wrong!” Jane answers. “Shagging’s brilliant! Take it when you can get it is what I say.”
Mikal Bridges is a good shooter and a good defender. He doesn’t project to be these things. He already is. Let’s review every current Knick who is both a good shooter and defender:
I’ll take the guy who can do things for a team that needs guys who do things. Take it when you can get it.
I’ve never been completely enamored with Mikal Bridges. He’ll be 22 when the Knicks’ next march to the lottery commences and doesn’t have the ever sexy “upside” or “potential” other candidates possess.
In fact what he’s good at is very unsexy.
He’s an excellent defender who excels at fundamentally boring things like making rotations and tagging the roll man in a pick-and-roll before getting back out to his man. Bridges projects to be an excellent perimeter shooter able to couple efficiency with volume from beyond the arc. He can leverage this into attacking closeouts on line drives to the rim where he finishes at a super clip.
It’s all very basic and solid. He’s not going to be an elite playmaker or shot creator. It doesn’t get your blood pumping like the attraction of the unknown with guys like Kevin Knox, Miles Bridges, Lonnie Walker, etc. Those guys all have way better highlight reels.
But games aren’t highlight reels. You need to be really good at all the boring, basic shit for the cool shit to matter. A lot of guys that do cool shit in college often fail to translate that to the NBA with similar impact.
Will Miles Bridges thunder dunks matter when he’s reportedly getting worked by Kevin Knox in a workout?
Can Kevin Knox develop into a guy able to do anything other than score?
Is Lonnie Walker somebody whose natural talent can be molded into a consistent force instead of always leaving you wanting more than inconsistent brilliance?
I suspect Wendell Carter Jr. will be on the board when the Knicks pick, but in this exercise he’s not an option. Assuming the board breaks this way I would be fine with Miles and Knox being the picks. If it’s up to me though, with all the information we have at this point, safety seems prudent and nothing is safer than Mikal Bridges.
I was the black sheep in last year’s roundtable, and gosh darn it, I think I’m going to be again this year. It’s happened — the New York sports MSM has brainwashed my incredibly susceptible liberal mind and made me believe that Kevin Knox is the right pick.
There’s a lot to love about Knox: the offensive versatility, the lengthy 6-foot-9 frame seemingly made for being a forward in today’s NBA, the silky shooting stroke. Couple that with the fact that Knox won’t turn 19 until August, and you’d have two hopeful franchise cornerstones in Frank Ntilikina and Knox that both aren’t even old enough to drink yet.
Knox isn’t without warts: he needs to bulk up, he showed some lackadaisical tendencies at times last year on Kentucky, and despite his long frame, he hasn’t shown himself to be a lockdown defender to this point. But if reports are to be believed and he really did son Miles Bridges in their workout, I’m inclined to believe that he at least has the tools to put it together at the NBA level.
While there’s definitely something to be said for just drafting the near-guaranteed production of Mikal Bridges or the bulldog-like zeal of Miles Bridges, I’ve come around to thinking that Knox represents the greatest chance of nabbing a future star at the Knicks’ draft position (if everything goes chalk, which it almost certainly won’t). My biggest question is: when do we get him on that Frank Ntilikina workout plan?
Mikal Bridges is my guy. I’ll let P&T grandpappy Seth Rosenthal explain via this video:
I like defense, and Bridges figures to be the guy to deliver the most.