The playoffs are about to start up and the Knicks season is over for the next 3 months. Listing the perfect draft for the Knicks (my opinion) for 2020. Picks, assuming the Knicks select somewhere between pick 4 and 7.
Round 1 Pick 1 Primary Option
Deni Avdija SF/PF Macabi Tel Aviv
Avdija is 6'9 and provides the most versatility and pro ready skill set to the roster that needs to replace starters that are really bench level players (Reggie Bullock/Mo Harkless/Elfrid Peyton). While Lamelo Ball is the hot name, he is a volume shooter with low percentages. Thinking that his 20% 3 point shooting will improve has been the downfall of many past players we just assumed would improve. Avdija has improved drastically year over year the past 3 seasons, and is currently starting on a roster that has NBA players Amare Stoudamire, Quincy Acy, and Tyler Dorsey. In short, he's already playing NBA talent at 19 years old and he's scoring 15 ppg, 5 rebounds, 4 assists in about 25 mpg. He's also getting steals, and blocks filling multiple needs on that team. Avdija has a higher floor, and higher ceiling than people think. He can play the 3 or 4 position allowing for flexibility and more ball movement. He's got great vision, and is what I believe this year's version of Luka Doncic in that he's undervalued because he's foreign born, but will be an all star early in his career.
1st Pick -Second Option
Tyrese Haliburton PG Iowa State
Haliburton gets knocked because he is not explosive, and his handle is not flashy. He's 20 and a sophomore, which some consider "old". However, Haliburton has a skill set that rivals Steph Curry when Curry was drafted from Davidson. Haliburton has excellent court vision as evidenced by 6 assists a game. .He's got the best deep jumper, which people undervalue because "it looks funny". All he's done is consistently hit 40% from 3 for the past 50 games in 2 seasons of college ball. It's not even that he's hitting them, he can hit 3's from 30 feet regularly. His off ball perimeter defense is excellent, as evidenced by 2 steals per game average. That's way ahead of any other player in the back court. While Ball is touted despite his defensive struggles, Haliburton already has three elite skills (perimeter steals, court vision, 3 point shooting). Add to this, Haliburton can play off ball guard, and the Knicks could pair him with almost anyone in the back court including DSJ, RJ Barrett, Ntilikina, Dotson, and Peyton. His shooting will space the floor and elevate all of those players games.
1st Round 2nd Pick
Vernon Carey JR C Duke
The Knicks already have Mitchell Robinson at center, and should be looking to get him more minutes, and feature him more. The thing is, Robinson may never be an offensive player with offensive post game. The draft should be about finding players that excel at an area that compliments the team. Vernon Carey can handle the offensive post role, taking the minutes Taj Gibson had, providing a post and rebounding presence. Knicks don't have to worry about Robinson fouling out and can let each big man play as much as their fouls will carry them nightly. In Carey's one season at Duke,he converted 57% from the field, averaged 16.1ppg, 9 rebounds, 1.6 blocks in only 25 minutes of play a night. His free throw shooting although not great, hovers around 70%. Carey makes the most sense as a consistent contributor that can get nightly minutes, and be effective in those minutes. Mitch Robinson 28mpg/ Carey 20mpg is how I see it.
1st Round 2nd Pick Option 2
Jordan Nwora F Louisville
This is higher than most would draft him, but I wouldn't chance him being around by the time the Knicks select in round 2. Nwora reminds me a little bit of Jimmy Butler. It's not about his play style, but the fact that he's a hard working big wing player a la Butler. He has also progressively gotten better for a Louisville team, and he's underrated because he's a junior still playing in college. If you ignore the fact that he's a junior, you'll see a proficient scorer who averages 44% from 2 point range, and 40% from 3 point range while averaging 18ppg and 8 rebounds in a tough conference. While Nwora is not super athletically gifted, he's a hard worker, tough, and he gets it done as the Cardinals go to player. If he can improve on his defense and lateral speed, he can be a real find. If you remember Wilson Chandler coming in scoring 15 a game as a bench player in his early Knicks years, Nwora is cut of that cloth.
2nd round pick
Karim Mane Combo Guard Canada
The Knicks should have pick 36 or so in the 2nd round, but have a lot players on the current roster. Mane is a 5 star recruit from Canada that is entering the draft. A lot of people compare him to Jrue Holiday because of his ball handling and jump shot. Mane needs a year or two of college, but he's super aggressive with his ball handling, and always looks to get the rim. When playing in FIBA under 19 league he averaged 12ppg, 4 rebounds, 4 assists to go with 40% from the field and 32% from 3 shooting. He is high end athletic, quick, aggressive, and slasher type but needs to improve his shooting although his mechanics are great. Rumors are that his extremely competitive and hard working on maximizing his potential as he has drastically improved over the course of high school. He could be a draft and stash, 2 way contract, G league player for a year or two. His 6'4 frame could allow him to slide to SG if he can improve his shot, and play alongside Barrett at SF, to give the Knicks a lot of ball handling, attacking the basket type of offense. He just needs a year or two before he's ready to make the Canadian connection with Barrett.
2nd Round Pick - Option 2
Immanuel Quickley Combo Guard Kentucky
Quickley is one of those players that will be a better pro than college player. Kentucky routinely has a ton of 6'3 point guards, to the point that Quickley had to play off ball as a scoring guard which is not his best position. All he did was improve from his freshman year of 5ppg in 20 minutes of action to 16.1 in 33 minutes averaged time per game. His shooting increased from 37 to 41% from 2, and to 43% from 3 point range. The area that really intrigues me is that he shot 93% from the free throw line, averaging over 5 FT's a game. His free throw shooting alone tells me his jumper is going to improve significantly in the NBA. Quickley doesn't seem to have the skill set to be a pure PG, he might be best utilized as a Lou Williams type of instant offense cooker off the bench.
These are 6 players that I believe the Knicks should target above all others. I value higher floor, with NBA level skills ready to go. I don't like trying to project players with severe deficiencies like Lamelo Ball eventually getting a reliable jumper. I also value players with versatility to play multiple positions, attack the defense, have a calling card offensive play set to go to regularly. Lastly, it's about being efficient scoring the ball. The NBA is a copycat league that currently says front court play is out, and 3 point shooting, and guard play is more important. That is garbage in the same way the NFL says passing is more important than running, until the 49ers, Ravens, and TItans ran deep into the playoffs. Not every team can be the warriors, and playing efficiently in the half court, and convertng around the rim is the new running game that can take the Knicks to back to the playoffs. If you have to copycat, you're already too far behind to catch up. The Knicks have a shot to be innovators, and re-work the offense through attacking the rim, mid range shooting, and a couple of guys that can knock down 3's consistently.