We’re just days—hours!—away from knowing the outcome of the 2022 NBA Draft. What once was a one-man class in Chet Holmgren, then turned into a two-man war after adding Paolo Banchero to it, and ultimately turned into a three-horse race with the latest youngster to enter the picture, Jabari Smith, now in the best position to get those No. 1 pick plaudits.
More interestingly, though, is the fact that seems to be another player locked into becoming the no. 4 pick come Thursday: Purdue guard Jaden Ivey. The consensus opinion has it that way, so we are not here to argue about that. The problem with that assumption? It’s the Sacramento Kings drafting fourth overall. The Kings, of course, already have guards De’Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell in their roster and are coming off a season in which they traded away another—perhaps the better of the three—guard to Indiana in Tyrese Haliburton.
For someone like Jaden Ivey, a bona fide combo-guard, that’s not the most appealing of landing places. Asked about his favorite places to end up playing in on Monday, though, he had a very solid opinion on what he expects and knows can happen next. “There could be situations where I can land in New York.” Uh, oh, flex on the Kings (as if he hadn’t already dropped hints he’d not be very pleased with the Cali-based franchise drafting him).
Ivey, who spent two years at the collegiate level playing for the Boilermakers, averaged 17.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, and 3.1 apg last season in the NCAA. He shot 46% from the floor and 36% on three-point shots with a 74% accuracy from the charity stripe on 12.3 attempts nightly. Ivey kept on discussing the Knicks and the possibilities of joining the franchise on Thursday if New York can find a proper package to trade up to grab him with the fourth-overall pick saying, “It’d be a tremendous opportunity, tremendous organization. I would be honored to be able to play there. They recently just made the playoffs two years ago. I feel like I could complement the organization and help them win if they drafted me.”
It’s going to take more than a bit to trade for that fourth pick, though, at least as reports are painting it. The Kings are looking to land a legit win-now player in exchange for the selection and if that’s not the case one has to assume the package of picks and youngsters flying to Sacto would need to be of supreme quantity/quality.
Live from Boston, speaking for ESPN, Adrian Wojnarowski made it clear. “That number-4 pick that the Sacramento Kings hold is very much in play. [...] Sacramento’s asking price to move in there is going to be significant.”
Looks like a tough negotiation is ahead for the Knicks brass, folks.
Although Ivey is the obvious dream player for the organization and with the franchise hurting for a point guard so much that there are already rumors out there about NYK trying to poach Kyrie Irving from Brooklyn. Believe them or not, that’s up to you. But the underlying thinking is the same in both cases: getting a playmaker is the no. 1 challenge and must-fix need of this team going forward.
With that trade for the no. 4 pick looking hard to pull off and the Kyrie whispers not entirely believable—and the actual trade a hard one to complete given the salary constraints, quirks, and restrictions—it might be the time to start focusing on other prospects linked with the Knicks.
Johnny Davis, the wing from Wisconsin, spoke on Monday after completing an extraordinary sophomore NCAA season. The evolution of Davis’ game, aided by his 31-for-31 games started in 2022, was delightful: from a 7-1-4 per-game line as a freshman to a 19-8-2 last year. That’s what we call leveling up around these places. Davis knows what he has going his way if he’s still on the board whenever the New York Knicks make their pick: “I feel that Tom Thibodeau is really high on defensive guys, so I feel like if I was to get drafted by the Knicks I could come in and make an impact immediately on the defensive end especially.”
Although Davis is seen as an offensive guy first, scouts have praised his undervalued defense quoted in that New York Post piece saying “[Davis] is incredibly competitive. Plays both ends of the floor. Can get to his midrange jumper at any point.”
Also on Monday, Duke’s A.J. Griffin spoke to the media on a Zoom call. Griffin confirmed his workouts with the Knicks, as well as with the San Antonio Spurs, the New Orleans Pelicans, the Portland Trailblazers, and the Indiana Pacers. New York got the last of those workouts, getting the freshest look at the Blue Devil prospect. “It was great, it was a good workout, my last one,” Griffin said. “It was a good workout.”
Of course, the Duke-NYK connection was brought to the conversation, namely in relation to former Blue Devils one-and-done phenom R.J. Barrett. “I met R.J. once or twice. We talked for a while. You’re always connected through basketball. It’s more of a mutual friendship.”
Griffin expanded on his relationship with Barrett in person and also from a distance, saying that “I think just from watching him play and how he plays I think we could be good together. I know he likes to facilitate and get down hill and get spot shots. We’re from Duke and we just got that Duke connection. I feel like that would be cool to play with him and we would really complement each other’s games.” Here’s hoping that’s the case if Griffin is the one ultimately getting selected by New York.
While a smaller-profile player, LSU sophomore forward Tari Eason also confirmed his work-out with the New York Knicks along with other tryouts at Charlotte, Minnesota, Atlanta, Houston, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Cleveland, Memphis, and Chicago. Eason is projected to become a late-lottery/top-20 pick and should be more of a trade-down option for the Knicks rather than the chosen one at their current no. 11 selection.
Another Dukie, Mark Williams, also let the world know about his work-outs with the Hornets, Knicks, Spurs, and Bulls, and a last-minute one still to come happening in Washington while he showcases his talents to the Wizards franchise.
The closer we get to Thursday, the wilder the rumors will get until Woj starts dropping tweetbombs with draft-pick names ten minutes before they become official. Ah, those comfy spoilers... Until then, keep refreshing this website to get the latest news, opinions, and scoops we can craft and hand you. It won’t be that long a wait.