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5 draft prospects who have met with the Knicks and what they are saying about New York

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Who will the Knicks take with the 8th pick? Frank Ntilikina again?

NBL Rd 9 - New Zealand v Illawarra
One of these two could be Knicks next year. Or both! Or neither!!
Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

The Knicks have the eighth pick in the upcoming draft, which is scheduled to take place roughly in roughly a month and a half, and the team has been doing due diligence via virtual meetings with some of the presumed lottery selections.

Let’s explore what five of the prospects who have thus far met with the Knicks are saying about their discussions with Leon Rose and his front office cohorts. New York has met with more than just these five. We’ll feature some of the others in a later piece.

LaMelo Ball

LaMelo, the 19-year-old brother of New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball and son of old-timey carnival promoter Lavar Ball, played for Illawarra Hawks of Australia’s National Basketball League last season.

He was named Rookie of the Year, averaging 17 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game, not to mention 1.6 steals. Though his stats look nice, he shot poorly (37.5% from the field and 25% from three).

He’s expected to go very early in the draft, so the Knicks would most likely have to trade up to pick him.

Oddly enough, the Knicks are the only team that Ball confirmed he has spoken with thus far. Is that because he hasn’t met with other teams yet? Does he just enjoy being coy? Could it have anything to do with his father, who has spoken out multiple times about wanting LaMelo on the Knicks? No one knows!

As you mull the mystery, here’s what Ball said on a recent Zoom call with reporters, according to this piece from Marc Berman of the New York Post:

“Like I’ve said, I feel like any team I go to is a perfect fit, or a good fit,” Ball said Monday on a Zoom call.

Ball also described his meeting with the Knicks, as “pretty much just a meeting.” And when asked if he thought they might trade up for his rights, he replied, “That I don’t know, maybe, maybe not.”

Killian Hayes

Hayes, like Ball, is a 19-year-old point guard. Like Frank Ntilikina, he hails from France. In 10 Eurocup games for a team called ratiopharm Ulm in 2019-20, Hayes posted 12.8 points (50% from the field, 39% from deep), plus 6.2 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals.

Depending where you look, he could be selected anywhere in the top 10. It’s possible he’ll still be on the board when the Knicks pick, but it’s also possible he won’t be.

Hayes has met with multiple teams, including the Knicks, the San Antonio Spurs, the Washington Wizards, the Chicago Bulls and the Golden State Warriors.

He told reporters that he would be pleased to pair with his fellow Frenchman on the Knicks. More specifically, he said it would be “dope,” noting that the two could form a dynamic duo.

“I’ve known Frank (Ntilikina) for a long time now, he’s told me a lot about the NBA and what it takes to stay in the NBA,” Hayes said, according to this story from the New York Post. “So I’m listening to these guys, because they’ve been through it.”

Tyrell Terry

Terry is older than both Ball and Hayes. He’s 20. The 6’2” point guard played one year at Stanford, averaging 14.6 points, 4.5 boards, 3.2 dimes and 1.4 steals per contest.

He could be drafted late in the lottery, or he could fall and be picked later in the first round. Could the Knicks snag him with the 27th pick, which was obtained from the Los Angeles Clippers in the Marcus Morris trade? Probably not, but also we don’t know. And that’s the beauty of the NBA draft. We barely know anything!

Apparently, Terry has put on some muscle and even grew an inch in recent months. Cool! Now grow another foot.

Terry has met with as many as 10 or more teams, and he’s been mostly mum on the details.

Precious Achiuwa

The 6’9” power forward out of the University of Memphis averaged 15.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks as a Freshman. Although he was born in Nigeria, Achiuwa knows New York, having lived in the Bronx for a few years and played at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark.

He’s been training in New York for the draft, according to this story from Forbes. He’s projected as a mid first round pick, which means he might be too much of a reach at number eight but won’t be available at number 27.

He would be down to play for the Knicks. In fact, he said it would be a “blessing.”

RJ Hampton

Well looky here, another 19-year-old guard! Hampton, a 6’5” combo guard, played professionally in Australia’s NBL last year, where he was only okay.

He met with the Knicks via video call a few weeks back, and attempted to get the front office to understand the following, according to this story from SNY:

“I was a projected Top 5 pick last year. I went overseas, I learned a lot, I didn’t have superior numbers and I was kind of forgotten about,” Hampton said in an interview with SNY. “The message that I was trying to get across is, ‘I’m still that same player. I’m still that player that can get you 20-25 points, 6-7 assists, be that lead guard and a franchise changer.’”

Hampton has been working on his shot with Mike Miller — not the Mike Miller who coached the Knicks to respectability on an interim basis last year, the other Mike Miller — which is necessary, considering Hampton shot under 30% from three last season. Miller apparently believes that Hampton’s deep ball will improve.

“With him and the way he plays, if he shoots — which I’m pretty confident in — in the next two-three years he’ll be a high 30s, low 40s percent 3-point shooter, he’ll be one of the best guards in the league,” Miller said in an interview with SNY.