If you’re reading this, (most probably) you know this website called HoopsHype that is mostly a news/rumors aggregator that has you up to the minute with the latest developments around the NBA world. I know for sure that it is one of the very singular places that can hundred-percent murder my daily productivity as I get lost in its whispers section.
Anyway, what matters here is that HoopsHype has been publishing an Aggregate Mock Draft curated by averaging the picks in which prospects are expected to be taken. The latest one, published last Saturday (June 18) and fewer than a week from Draft Day (next Thursday) comes from mock drafts including the ones published on ESPN, The Athletic, Bleacher Report, The Ringer, Sports Illustrated, NBADraft.net, CBS Sports, SB Nation, Yahoo, Basketball News, and USA TODAY’s For The Win.
If you wonder how this Aggregate Mock Draft works, here’s a little explainer to be found in HoopsHype: “These rankings reflect the composite score to get a feel for the overall consensus, not our own opinion. For example, if a player was the first pick on a publication’s mock draft, he received 58 points. If a player was second, he received 57 points, and so on. We then tabulated the total number of points for each player’s consensus ranking.”
Following that system, not a single player is locked into any particular draft slot. Jabari Smith appeared on the 1st and 2nd spots in different mocks, Chet Holmgren in the 1st-to-4th range, and Paolo Banchero in the 2nd-to-3rd span. The further we get down the board, the wider those ranges get as more and more questions pop up and opinions diverge about this or that prospect.
For the purposes of this column, I’ll be going through the Aggregate Mock Draft and drop a few words about the players ahead of the Knicks that might drop, and a few that are ranked after New York’s 11th pick. Let’s get it popping.
Nos. 1-2-3 - Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero
Smith is not a true lock to hearing his name shouted out first, but it’ll be close. Holmgren was the projected next-in-line first-overall selection for a long time only to drop to the second spot late last season. Banchero seems to have the clearest path forward in terms of draft position with the Houston-Paolo pairing a match made in heaven—even more after Christian Wood’s trade. It’d take a treasure trove of assets to trade into the top-3, so forget about it.
No. 4 - Jaden Ivey
I don’t think I need to make a case for Ivey at this point. You, me, your cousin, your neighbors and everybody around them invested in the New York Knicks want Ivey to don blue and orange threads. The talk is wild about a potential trade-up... and the Sacramento Kings might actually entertain such a deal.
HoopsHype is reporting that “Ivey is considered by most NBA executives to be the fourth-best overall prospect on the board” but the outlet followed that with a statement that we all know to be true: the Kings might want Ivey, but they sure don’t need Ivey. De’Aaron Fox is the team’s (expensive) PG and Sacto drafted another guard in Davion Mithcell last season. The situation in Sacramento is nothing to be excited about if you Ivey and the kid’s reps have already stated how he’d rather not play for the Kings.
If Sacramento trades out of this position, then the Knicks might look into getting up here to draft their no. 1 target while getting a bona fide All-Star-potential player and addressing the PG need all at once. It’s a dream scenario, but the asking price is yet to be known. Folks out there say Sacramento is looking for an established starter, and the only player with such caché in New York these days would be Julius Randle. Hard to see that happening unless a ton of ancillary pieces (first and second-round picks, and probably even some youngsters) also get thrown into the mixer.
Nos. 5-6 - Keegan Murray, Saedon Sharpe
Murray is close to Ivey in terms of how much of a lock he is to be drafted in a particular position as experts see it. All platforms have him in the 4th-to-6th range as he’s met with OKC, Sacramento, Indiana, and Detroit. There is at least a chance of Ivey being available past the fourth pick if Sacramento doesn’t trade the pick and passes on getting another guard. If that happens, all of Detroit, Indiana, and Portland are already set up at the point-guard position. Could Ivey turn into the steal of the draft? If he goes to the Kings, as it is widely assumed, Murray looks solid as the Pistons' selection though HoopsHype also lists a bunch of other kids who have worked out for the organization in the past few days and weeks, all in the 5th-to-10th range.
Things start to get packed at this point, and Shaedon Sharpe is another potential target for the Pistons (yes, SS also showed his talents in Detroit) and ranks in the consensus 5th-to-8th range. Sharpe has made it to the headlines with his “I see myself as one of the GOAT to ever play the game of basketball”, so we’ll see how that goes. If we’re honest, New York isn’t seemingly going to trade up and lose assets for anyone not named Jaden Ivey. The rest of the guys mentioned before him and after him, including Murray and Sharpe, are going to be off the board by the 11th pick. So it’s either an Ivey slippage or New York will have nothing to do with the picks in the heart of the lottery while waiting for its turn.
Nos. 7-8 - Dyson Daniels, Bennedict Mathurin
Things start to get spicy and messy around the seventh and eighth overall pick, as there is no real consensus at all between mock-draft platforms. Only one outlet has Dyson Daniels as the sixth player off the board while his aggregate range sits in the 6th-to-10th position. The same happens with Bennedict Mathurin, only more. Mathurin’s range is in the 6th-to-13th range, just imagine.
If go strictly by what the experts are saying, then Daniels is out of the Knicks equation while Mathurin might make it to the 11th. Mathurin has only worked out for the Pistons, Pacers, and Blazers, so it’s not that he sees himself dropping past the seventh pick. The Pelicans, in possession of the eighth-overall selection, have worked out a ton of other players in AJ Griffin, Sharpe, and Daniels just to name a few.
These two mark the clear crapshoot-line in this draft. Down to Sharpe and Daniels, things are kinda clear. From the seventh pick on it’s just impossible to predict anything. Again, no realistic trade targets to be found here although if Mathurin really makes it to the 11th I don’t think fans would be too mad with the franchise picking the former ‘Zona shooting-guard.
No. 9-10 - AJ Griffin, Johnny Davis
These feel like more-than-probable options for the Knicks once their turn arrives. Both of them are ranked within the 6th-to-12th range and have dropped in the overall rank in this latest iteration of the aggregate mock draft. Griffin’s best position is seventh and Davis’ is sixth. Griffin doesn’t make that much sense for New York but Johnny D has been mentioned often as a legit target. The problem is that he might be an undersized SG without the needed chops to lead the offense from the point on a play-by-play basis. He can do a PG impersonation, but so can IQ—even if haters don’t want to you to know that—and he’s already on the roster. He finds his mojo at dropping buckets, but where would he play? How would he fit? I dunno, I dunno...
No. 11 - Jeremy Sochan
Not a point guard. Not a shooting guard. Not a combo guard. Not even a guard, full stop. Sochan is a forward/wing/big and that’s the main problem with him getting picked right in the 11th position—the one in which the Knicks will be calling the name of their pick.
Sochan’s fit is probably the hardest to acknowledge as Randle/Toppin are currently crowding the forward-big rotation—and maybe Mitchell Robinson too if he re-signs. The defense is big on Sochan’s skill set, and he can drop a dime or two (1.8 APG), which isn’t remotely bad and in the trendy Jokic/Embiid vein. If the Knicks get to make their pick with the draft following the development described in this mock, then Sochan would fit the best-available approach and I guess he should be the pick. It’s not like New York is contending next season, or the following one, so better make the safe bet and go from there.
Past the 11th pick - Jalen Duren, Ousmane Dieng, Ochai Agbaji, TyTy Washington
All of those four players have been mentioned in the Knicks’ vicinity at some point, with TyTy making the loudest noise as a potential option to start at the point-guard position. Duren is probably the next-best player available after Sochan, Dieng gets a nod here because of his massive rise up the draft boards of late, and Agbaji also gets name-dropped (even though he is the consensus 16th-best player) because the Knicks might opt to keep loading the squad with shooters instead of going big with Sochan/Duren or risk it with a lesser player like TyTy.
Best of all: we’re just mere days from draft day. Yet it can’t come soon enough.