James Harden, Luka Doncic, Steph Curry, and any other offensive superstar in today’s game has the ability to create space off the dribble. This is something Tre Mann excels at. As you can see in the first play in the video below, the 6’5”, 20-year-old combo guard from Florida has the ability to go iso and get shots for himself, something many of the Knicks players obviously struggled doing in their lone playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks. Alec Burks can do it in spurts but not on a regular basis, RJ Barrett showed glimpses of it as well but still needs some time, and Immanuel Quickley will need to be more consistent as well. Regardless of what happens with Derrick Rose in the offseason, the Knicks should strongly consider bringing in another shot creator, because we all saw how much pressure the defense could put on Randle, in large part due to the lack of consistent scoring threats outside of him and Rose.
Mann is by no means a perfect player, but on top of his knack for creating separation, he is also a lethal outside shooter. Mann struggled with his shot in his freshman season, shooting just 27.5% from 3, but upped his percentage all the way to 40.2% from deep last year. Mann also proved that he could do it both off of the dribble and spotting up. This is a skill that often translates well into the pros and should allow him to help spread the floor for Randle and Barrett, something the front office should look to build around as a priority during the off-season.
To complement his outside touch, Mann also has decent quickness and burst to get to the rim, where he has shown some very creative finishes. He isn’t an elite NBA-level athlete, but is more than athletic enough to get to the rim and keep up with others on the defensive end.
Mann will still need to work on his playmaking abilities, as he averaged just 3.5 assists a game while averaging 2.8 turnovers per game. Those ratios are obviously a concern but the rate of improvement in the assist category was still nice to see considering he only averaged 0.7 assists per game the year prior. At 6’5”, Mann projects to be a scoring-oriented combo guard, though he will need to fill out and put on some weight, as his current 190-pound frame will hold him back a bit when dealing with physical defenders and trying to finish through contact.
Tom Thibodeau may want to prioritize someone with more experience or someone that is a bit more defensive-minded. If that is the case, the Knicks will have to think twice about the pick. His defense is not awful but it is something he needs to improve. But if you recall, just one year ago, the Knicks were willing to take Obi Toppin, someone who everybody said would struggle defensively, and look at far he progressed in just one year.
If the Knicks can get a playmaking point guard through free agency, the front office could pass on Mann and look for a forward or more bench help in the draft. Another factor is the front office’s faith in Immanuel Quickley’s development. Barring any trades, Quickley figures to be a big part of the rotation again next year, and he does offer some of the same skills as Mann.
Mann doesn’t necessarily seem like a Thibodeau kind of player off the bat but some have pointed out his toughness and ability to play physically, something Thibodeau does appreciate. The former Florida Gator seems to be a wild card as some mock drafts have him going as high as the mid 1st round while others have him going late in the 1st round. With the Knicks still not having fully completed their “rebuild,” getting as much talent as possible may be a draft strategy and if so, Mann and his offensive firepower will be hard to pass up because of how valuable a skillset shooting is in today’s NBA.