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Mock draft roundup: 8/25/20

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All the best guesses you could ask for.

NCAA Basketball: Davidson at Dayton
One of the top two Knicks mockers. Which one? You’ll have to read to find out.
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the lottery happened and the Knicks got the eighth pick, which can only mean one thing: it’s time for an endless deluge of mock drafts!

Let’s peruse the major mock drafts to see who people currently think the Knicks are going to pick when the draft happens, which may be in mid October but is probably going to end up being at some undetermined time after that.

Sports Illustrated: Over at SI, Jeremy Woo has Israeli sensation Deni Avdija falling to the Knicks. Avdija is just 19-years-old, and he just recently won the Israeli League championship as part of Maccabi Tel Aviv, with help from teammate and certified #OAKAAK Amar’e Stoudemire. Not to mention that this season he became the youngest-ever Israeli League MVP.

Depending on where you look, Avdija is either listed at 6’7” or 6’8”. Either way, he’s big. This year in the Irsaeli League, he posted almost 13 points (53% from the field, 35% from three), plus 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block.

If he somehow fell to the Knicks, it would be a delightful surprise.

ESPN: Jonathan Givnoy’s mock draft is supposed to be only for ESPN Insiders, but lucky for us NBA.com posted its own roundup of all the major mock drafts, including Givnoy’s list. Gotcha, Givnoy.

Anyhow, according to ESPN, Avdija will be plucked at number five by the Cleveland Cavaliers, and at eight the Knicks will select Isaac Okoro, a 6’6” small forward out of Auburn.

Okoro is coming off a freshman season in which he was named Second Team All-SEC, SEC All-Freshman Team and SEC All-Defensive Team, per the Auburn website. He averaged 13 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block per game as a Tiger last year.

Bleacher Report: Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report believes that Okoro will still be on the board when the Knicks are on the clock, but in his estimation New York will elect to select Devin Vassell out of Florida State.

Vassell would provide an immediate injection of shooting ability, coming off a sophomore season in which he nailed 41.5% of his 3.5 three-point attempts per game. At 6’6”, he would also serve as a solid wing next to last year’s number three overall pick R.J. Barrett, who, unlike this season, would be able to drive and kick it to a guy who actually has a chance to connect from deep.

P&T’s very own @blames_dolan recently profiled the 20-year-old, so before you ask any further questions go see if the answer lies within this piece.

The Ringer: It looks like The Ringer has a cool, constantly updating page for its mock drafts, so perhaps this will change, but for the current edition of the mock draft roundup, the brainchild of Bill Simmons says the Knicks will take Obi Toppin, the 6’9”, 22-year-old sophomore out of the University of Dayton.

Toppin is more than just a cool name. Last year, he posted 20 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while shooting 67% from the field and 39% from three. Tasty.

P&T’s own Jonathan Schulman recently described him as “a modern big who shoots down some three point bucks and can certainly raise up for a large dunkaccino.”

Schulman also noted that, if the Knicks were to grab Toppin, he’d slide in behind Julius Randle on the depth chart. Unless, of course the Knicks can rid themselves of Randle somehow.

The Athletic: Sam Vecenie of The Athletic shares The Ringer’s belief that the Knicks will take Toppin.

Since we’ve already gone over some of Toppin’s attributes, let’s leave you with another tidbit from Schulman’s lovely ‘Know the prospect’ piece. Here, he’s describing what will likely happen if the Knicks do indeed land Toppin:

The Knicks will be laughed out the league, Obi will be labeled a bust, certain folks in the media will say they knew the Knicks would be too stupid to take the obvious talent that some other team took much later in the draft, even though however many teams also passed on that player, whoever it is.

Yahoo! Sports: In one blogger’s opinion, you should always include the exclamation point when writing Yahoo!, no matter how annoying it seems to get. And if you’re trying to exclaim about Yahoo!, it should be written as Yahoo!!.

Anyhow, according to Krysten Peek of Yahoo! Sports, the Knicks are going to select Killian Hayes, a teenage point guard who most recently played in France. Sound familiar?

The 19-year-old is originally from Florida, but has played professionally in Europe the last three years.

The 6’5” lefty has lots of offensive abilities, including in areas like dribbling, passing and shooting, all of which are important in the NBA. Mr. Schulman, a prolific profiler, penned some words about Hayes recently, including calling him “the best player in this draft.

He also said this:

Imagine you could mix together the first inklings of Linsanity, Pablo B. Sneaking and Chauncey Billups into one neat little package. Would you like that?

NetScouts Basketball: The people (or robots, it’s hard to tell since no one’s name is listed on the mock draft) at NetScouts have decided to interlock fingers with Bleacher Report and claim that Vassell will land in New York at number eight.

According to NetScouts, Vassell is actually 6’7”. That’s one inch taller than Bleacher Report listed him. WHICH IS IT?!

SB Nation: The duo just became a trio. According to Ricky O’Donnell of SB Nation, the Knicks will take Vassell.

Per O’Donnell, Vassell is 6’6”. Also per O’Donnell, “few players in this draft are safer bets to offer more two-way potential.” Sounds good! He’ll probably be taken number seven by the Detroit Pistons and then the Knicks will panic and try to pick Frédéric Weis again even though he’s now 43-years-old.

CBS Sports: Kyle Boone has the last name of a delicious sandwich at a fine eastern Long Island establishment called Se-Port Deli. He also has the Knicks taking Tyrese Haliburton with the eighth pick in the draft.

The Boone is delicious. Go to Se-Port if you’re ever anywhere near it.
http://se-portdeli.com/menus/the-boone

Haliburton, who is 6’5” and coming off his sophomore season at Iowa State, plays point guard, which is a position the Knicks have been trying to fill for decades at this point.

According to Boone, “Tyrese Haliburton can step in and potentially be that answer.”

Teams feel confident he’s a high-floor, safe player because of his efficient college production, length and attitude. He doesn’t have a quick first step and lacks top tier athleticism, but New York could find him to be a capable distributor who helps meld the young pieces into a competent team. For the Knicks, that in itself seems like a win.

Sounds solid enough. Now here are the stats you’ve been waiting for: Haliburton averaged 15 points, 6 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game while shooting 42% from deep last year. Yum yum.

Final score in the first edition of the 2020 Knicks mock draft power rankings:

  1. Devin Vassell, sophomore guard from Florida State (3 mocks)
  2. Obi Toppin, big man from Dayton (2 mocks)
  3. Everyone else, which includes Deni Avdija, Isaac Okoro, Killian Hayes and Tyrese Haliburton (1 mock apiece)

Are there any conclusions to be drawn?

Not really. It looks like a crapshoot. Maybe the Knicks will try to trade down. Maybe they’ll stand pat. Maybe they’ll use both first round picks they own on point guards, pick up Elfrid Payton’s option and employ a starting lineup of Payton, two rookie PGs, Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr.

Check back next week for an updated mock draft roundup!