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3 Potential Knicks Draft Pick Scenarios



The Knicks Picks

The Knicks find themselves in a very favorable position for this year’s NBA Draft. They hold two first round picks and an early second round pick from the Charlotte Hornets. For a team that is supposed to be rebuilding like the New York Knicks, having the opportunity to add 3 of the top collegiate/world talents eligible for the NBA 2020-2021 season represents a perfect opportunity to continue developing a team that can have sustainable success for the long-term future. A disgruntled star is not coming to save the Knicks so it is paramount that this team maximizes its potential to add quality players who can contribute to winning basketball and the culture they are trying to build.

We have entered yet another era in Knicks basketball with Leon Rose as president and I am oddly optimistic about the future that lies ahead. There are plenty of reasons to be excited about the future of the Knicks. The Knicks hold a plethora of future first and second round picks, and most importantly RJ Barret, Mitchell Robinson, and Frank Ntilikina are on the team. The kids represent what the future of the Knicks can be. Right now, they hold the keys to this franchise and the 2020 draft is an opportunity for Leon Rose and company (whoever that might be) to build around these three young stars the way that they need to be. Now, let’s take a look at three potential draft pick combinations for the New York Knicks this season.

Group #1 Lamelo Ball, Desmond Bane, Killian Tillie

With a little bit of draft day luck, the Knicks get their point guard of the future. Lamelo Ball may have the most star potential in this draft at the position the Knicks need to address the most. His passing and shot creating abilities are a cut above the rest and should he be available when the Knicks are on the clock, they should not hesitate to grab him. The next 2 lesser known picks represent players that could improve the Knicks right now with their plus shooting abilities from deep and their high IQ defensive play. Desmond Bane shot 43.3% on an average of 4.1 attempts from deep per game for his three-year career at TCU. This past season he shot 44.2% from deep on 6.5 attempts per game. Couple high-quality 3PT shooting on decent volume with solid individual and team defensive instincts, play, and switchability and you’ll get someone who the Knicks should be eager to target with the first round pick they acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers. On the other end, Killian Tillie is a 6-10 forward capable of spreading the floor (44.4% career shooter from 3 at Gonzaga) and playing defense. These two players would make for great additions to a team void of intelligent players who can play on both sides of the ball and I would be excited to see what this trio can do.

*I encourage everyone to take a look at the in-depth analysis done on Desmond Bane and Killian Tillie by Spencer Pearlman as his analysis was fantastic and the inspiration for these picks for the Knicks.

https://www.thestepien.com/2020/04/06/desmond-bane-scouting-report/

https://www.thestepien.com/2020/03/30/killian-tillie-scouting-report/

Group #2 Anthony Edwards, Kira Lewis Jr, Tyler Bey

Anthony Edwards falls to the Knicks and Kira Lewis Jr dashes his way onto the orange and blue. Concerns about his playmaking and decision-making leave much to be desired for the teams in picking early in the draft. As a result, the Knicks stumble their way into Anthony Edwards and create a dynamic duo with Edwards and RJ Barrett. Edwards is scary athletic and a tough shot maker. He would bring a dominating presence to the team and just thinking of what he could do sharing the floor with RJ and Mitch in transition is enough to get me on board even if the fit overall fit is questionable. There is plenty of time for playmaking and shot selection to improve and once they do RJ could have his next running mate for the foreseeable future.

Group #3 Deni Advija, Patrick Williams, Isaiah Joe

The Knicks welcome Deni’s playmaking at the forward position and add some much-needed defensive upside and shooting with their later picks.

Honorable Mentions: Killian Hayes, Cole Anthony, Devin Vassell, Saddiq Bey, Vernon Carey Jr

The Lineups

Assuming the Knicks bring back Reggie Bullock, Taj Gibson, and Elfrid Payton next year, and Julius Randle does not get traded before the season starts (which he needs to be or his role needs to change significantly) here’s a look at the potential lineups we could see based on my three favorite pairings of Knicks potential draft picks for the 2020-2021 season.

*This is also assuming the Knicks don’t make a splash in Free Agency. Fred Vanvleet, Danillo Gallinari, and Christian Wood are all potential targets and could drastically change the change landscape of the team and its rotations. If they were able to sign one of these three players, I would consider the 2020 Free Agency a success. I would be pushing hard for the Knicks to sign Christian Wood; he profiles as a great fit next Mitchell Robinson and is young enough at 24 years old to continue to grow and improve while fitting the timeline for our team.

#1 Lamelo and RJ Lead The Way

The Starters: Lamelo Ball, RJ Barrett, Dameyean Dotson (hopefully he is still with us #FreeDotForever) Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson

The Bench: Frank Ntilikina, Reggie Bullock, Iggy Brazdeikis, Kevin Knox, Kenny Wooten

The Plug in Plays: Elfrid Payton, Dennis Smith Jr, Desmond Bane, Killian Tillie, Taj Gibson

In this variation, the Knicks hand the keys to the offense over to Lamelo and watch as he brings a playmaking dynamic to the backcourt that we haven’t seen in a New York in a very long time. We see Kenny Wooten get the opportunity and developmental reps as the full-time backup center for Mitch, and Dameyean Dotson gets the starting nod over Reggie Bullock (he earned it despite being unnecessarily glued to the bench prior to the season being suspended). With solid shooting and defensive play, Desmond Bane and Killian Tillie force their way into significant playing time and the Knicks pull the plug on the Julius Randle experiment freeing up playing time and shots for all of the young guys.

#2 Knicks Fly High and Pick Up the Pace

The Starters: Frank Ntilikina, RJ Barrett, Anthony Edwards, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson

The Bench: Elfrid Payton, Dameyean Dotson, Reggie Bullock, Kevin Knox, Kenny Wooten

The Plug in Plays: Kira Lewis Jr, Dennis Smith Jr, Iggy Brazdeikis, Tyler Bey, Taj Gibson

Anthony Edwards slots right into the starting lineup with RJ and Frank Ntilikina gets the opportunity to start at point guard to begin the season. Elfrid serves as backup point guard for majority of the season until he can be traded for his expiring contract, resulting in Kira Lewis Jr taking on a much larger role during the second half of the season (perhaps even getting some spot starts based on matchups).

#3 Deni Welcomes Himself to the Mecca

The Starters: Frank Ntilikina, RJ Barrett, Dameyean Dotson, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson

The Bench: Elfrid Payton, Isaiah Joe, Deni Advija, Kevin Knox, Kenny Wooten

The Plug in Plays: Dennis Smith Jr, Reggie Bullock, Iggy Brazdeikis, Patrick Williams, Taj Gibson

A very likely scenario on draft day is the Knicks selecting Deni Advija with their projected #6 pick. Deni is a playmaking forward capable of handling the ball and holding his own defensively. He is isn’t a great shooter yet, but he picks his spots well and doesn’t force many shots. However, until his shot improves Deni will have to come off the bench surrounded by shooting to mitigate his current weakness. The Knicks will also lean heavy on Isaiah Joe as he will quickly prove that his jump shot is lethal and will become a valuable piece to the rotation spacing the floor and making life easier everyone to move freely on the court. Barring a Julius Randle trade, Williams may be relegated to spot minutes early on but should prove he is worthy of on court time with his defensive playmaking abilities.

The Closing

Ultimately, I think a lot of things would need to go right for the Knicks to be able to land Lamelo at their projected #6 spot. I do see him as my preferred pick at point guard but I could easily talk myself into any of Killian Hayes, Cole Anthony, or Kira Lewis Jr. Whoever the Knicks do decide to draft, it is imperative that those players mesh well with the RJ, Frank and Mitch core. The Knicks have three opportunities this draft to find players who will improve their team, it’s up to them to make the right decisions. The ball is in their court. Thanks for reading!