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Most experts agree: The New York Knicks will draft AJ Griffin with the 11th pick

Only three players are in play for the Knicks, experts predict

We’ve dropped so much ink at this point, spent so much time by now, and dreamed so much about this and that potential scenario... that it probably doesn’t make sense to keep doing it over and over again. It’s just hours left until we know the final decision anyway.

But we owe you as much content as we can produce and you can digest, so we’ll keep pumping draft stuff into your veins until you overdose. Don’t blame me, it is just how it goes.

With barely 24 hours left for the Knicks to make their pick—here’s hoping it’s a top-5 instead of one past the Ivey Area—we decided to check the temperature of the mocks penned of late by the scouting experts over the most prominent sites out there. One has to assume that they are, indeed, after something very serious and real and undercover information that is just inaccessible to the mere mortals, right?

Here are some of those guys doing it around the interwebs and who they’re seeing the Knicks drafting at the 11th slot. All of the mock drafts reviewed were published from Monday, June 20 on (with the exception of Kevin O’Connors, which was updated on Jun. 17).

Jonathan Wasserman (Bleacher Report) — AJ Griffin, SF

No big explainer from the Big Wass here. Wasserman has every single soul the Knicks have shown interest in during the draft process off the board by the time New York makes its selection. Ivey (4), Mathurin (6), Sharpe (7), Dyson Daniels (8), Jeremy Sochan (9), and Johnny Davis (10) are all gone.

The result? Griffin to the Knicks. Wasserman backs his decision in the fact that Mathurin will go top-8 while Griffin will drop outside of the top-10 with Sochan, Duren, and maybe even Dieng getting inside of it.

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John Hollinger (The Athletic) — Johnny Davis, SG

This mock is more of a what-would-I-do rather than based on insider’s information, but we’re cool with that here too. Johnny H is attaching Davis’ name to the Knicks with the 11th pick.

Hollinger would hate the Knicks overspending on a PG in TyTy Washington labeling him a late-teens, early-20s pick at best. The narrative Hollinger pushes is basically how the Knicks should just get the hell out of the 11th dropping further down trading this pick for a future first or a lower-in-this-class selection (he names Memphis’ 22nd pick).

Matt Babcock (Basketball News) — AJ Griffin, SF

Another expert, another Griffin pick. Hmmm... is a pattern emerging here? That could be the case, who knows!?

No real head-scratchers here other than Detroit grabbing Bennedict Mathurin with the 5th pick, Keegan Murray dropping to Indiana, and Duren getting drafted 9th overall. That leaves either AJ Griffin or Jeremy Sochan or maybe even Mark Williams for the Knicks! How exciting!

Griffin is the one, though, with Babcock highlighting the forward’s talents for shooting the rock and dropping buckets—hitting 44.7% from deep last year in the college circuit. I’m quoting the most important part of the report next: “Also worth noting, Griffin is the son of former NBA player and current Toronto Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin.“

Jonathan Givony (ESPN) — AJ Griffin, SF

Oh, boy. Oh, boy, oh boy. This makes it three out of four Griffs for the Knicks! We’re getting into something here, folks. Yay!

Very similar situation to that posed by Babcock above. Givony is basing his pick on his mock draft not including trades, mostly, as he says (and we agree) that “Few teams expect the Knicks to be drafting here when all is said and done. The team is said to be aggressively exploring scenarios in which it will trade down or trade out of the draft altogether if it can land a starting-caliber point guard.”

If forced to draft a rookie, though, Griffin would be the chosen one, as “Griffin is arguably the best shooter in the class after making 45% of his 3-pointers” and “His 7-foot wingspan gives him significant potential defensively, he’s one of the youngest players in the draft and he plays one of the most coveted positions in the modern NBA.”

Sam Vecenie (The Athletic) — AJ Griffin, SF

This is starting to solidify for real, so get ready for a letdown when draft-time comes and the Knicks pick AJ, in case you don’t like the kid.

There is something I don’t like one bit on Vecenie’s blurb about the Knicks pick and AJ Griffin. In fact, it’s the first sentence of his paragraph. “Griffin is one of the more difficult players to gauge in this class because of his injury history.” Not a good start. “That—along with his inconsistent defensive play this past season—gives him a bit of a wider range on draft night than you would expect.”

So... maybe New York should pass on Griffin? Well, at least our pal Sam ended on a positive with his take stating that “[Griffin] is a wing who is this kind of potentially elite shooter. He hit 45 percent from 3 this past season and has as much natural touch as any player in the class.“ Ah, bullet dodged. — AJ Griffin, SF

This link between the Knicks and Griffin I’m finding in like 95% of the most respectable mock drafts out there reminded me of the great Bob Morales’ quote from La Bama:Not my first, or my last.”

The lads from NBADR are picking AJ over the likes of Jeremy Sochan, Johnny Davis, Mark Williams, and TyTy Washington, all of them available by the time the Knicks were on the clock.

The reasoning? “The Knicks would be a nice fit for Griffin Jr. who has elite 3pt shooting and an NBA-ready frame. A history of injuries could give teams pause but he’s a big time talent who can play a role right away.”

The comp? Jimmy Butler and some Jumbo Gary Trent Jr. I particularly could live with that.

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Jeremy Woo (Sports Illustrated) — Jalen Duren, C

Surprise! Woo is the first pundit to slot a true big in the Knicks’ 11th pick. Woo points out the obvious fact that the Knicks are going to have a tough day ahead of them in terms of negotiating deals to rise up the draft board because, well, the things New York can dangle in front of other franchises aren’t that great all things considered.

Alas: grab a center, let Mitchell Robinson go. Woo sees Duren as someone “physically quite gifted and [who] holds some appeal as a long-term piece worth developing, particularly as one of the youngest players in the draft.” Our man also writes that “[Duren]’s a powerful leaper with a mature frame, good hands and feet, and some untapped skill potential.” Not entirely bad, assuming that Mitch is as good as gone.

Zach Harper (The Athletic) — Jalen Duren, C

Back-to-back Durens! Oh, yes!

Harper goes with a contrarian move and one similar to that pulled off by his partner from SI Jeremy Woo and chooses Duren at the 11th position going to MSG. It’s interesting to note how Harper identifies three “biggest needs” for the Knicks to address at some point during the offseason: “Guard depth, defensive big man, 3-and-D wings.”

Interestingly enough—and probably painting a rather clear picture of how things are past the two or three viable options at the guard positions in this class—Zach opens his blurb saying that the Knicks “need to overhaul their backcourt” yet he goes on to pick a center. Hmmm...

It makes sense, though, as Harper highlights the fact that taking TyTy Washington Jr. should not happen here but later down the draft order (trade down) and that Duren should be the go-to name to target as “he would give New York the option to not overpay to keep Mitchell Robinson”.

Krysten Peek (Yahoo! Sports) — AJ Griffin, SF

The only realistic options remaining available on the board in Peek’s mock draft were down to AJ Griffin, Sochan, and (maybe) the ever-rising Ousmane Dieng. So yes, the Knicks picking Griffin is to my eyes the most probable outcome in that scenario.

Peek backs her pick by saying that “if Griffin can stay healthy, he might end up being a steal at No. 11. He has all the physical tools to make an instant impact in the NBA, but has struggled to consistently stay on the court due to nagging injuries during his young career.” Not the worst case to make about AJ’s worthness, but truly not a great one as it’s basically saying that the Knicks would be betting on an extraordinary what-if player.

To keep New York fans hopes up, Peek observes that “the spacing in the NBA will cater to Griffin because of how strong he is with the ball in mismatch situations, and he can add a lot of size to the wing on this Knicks team.”

Kevin O’Connor (The Ringer) — Jalen Duren, C

Straight to the point, KOC. “Mitchell Robinson is a free agent. Julius Randle needs to go. Nerlens Noel can’t stay healthy. Adding another big seems like a realistic choice for the Knicks.” Uh, oh, that’s what I’m talking about.

O’Connor paints Duren as a DeAndre Jordan/Robert Williams hybrid, which is far from a mixture if you ask me, and goes on to add that “Duren can pressure the rim with his elite athleticism, which could be beneficial for guys like RJ Barrett and Obi Toppin.”

In a sentence to sum up his profile, KOC puts it all together by saying that Duren as a Knick would be an “explosive shot blocker and leaper who can fill a role right away, plus the youngest player likely to be drafted.”

And there is your Knicks 11th Pick Report, courtesy of Posting & Toasting and the folks out there covering the 2022 draft in advance of Thursday’s event.

Final tally:

  1. AJ Griffin (six picks, 60%)
  2. Jalen Duren (three picks, 30%)
  3. Johnny Davis (one pick, 10%)

Welcome home, AJ!

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