The lowly Knicks.
Last Saturday, the heart of the Knicks’ future, Kristaps Porzingis, posted a tweet about the LA Clippers with three smiley face emojis. Porzingis claimed he was hacked, but we all know the truth. He needs more people, but I digress.
It’s clear Porzingis is trying to send a message to the dysfunctional management of the Knicks. Either Phil Jackson uses his amazing zen abilities to build a winner in New York, or he will hit the road jack and never come back. To begin this “building a winner” process, Phil can look towards this year’s draft to bring in a top talent to possibly pair with Porzingis for the next ten years.
The upcoming draft is stockpiled with potential all-star talent, but who to draft isn’t clear cut because the Knicks have a lot of questions going into the offseason. Questions such as: Do you re-sign Derrick Rose? Do you trade Carmelo Anthony? Which position has the biggest need? All of these questions will take some time to answer, but in the meantime, here are some options on who the Knicks should draft.
First, and foremost, the Knicks need help at point guard. No, the Knicks shouldn’t draft any point guard. More specifically, the Knicks need to draft a point guard that can actually play defense. Last season, Rose was a sword on offense, but he was a butter knife on defense. Rose often didn’t fight over screens or play a screen aggressively, and he had many mental lapses, especially late in games, on defense which led to the Knicks losing a few games this season. Also, with Rose suffering a set back with another knee injury, it’s probably best for the Knicks to dump Rose and draft a point guard for the future.
Around the No. 7 pick, there should be a lot of intriguing options that should be available at point guard. One of the top options being De’Aaron Fox, coming out of the “NBA Prep School” known as the University of Kentucky. Fox put himself on the map in the NCAA Tournament by locking down potential top-3 pick, Lonzo Ball, in the Sweet 16. Fox plays with a lot of tenacity on defense, which isn’t matched by many point guards in the draft, but like most young point guards, he needs to improve his jumper and his playmaking ability. From a defensive standpoint, Fox would be a welcome addition to the Knicks backcourt.
Another point guard the Knicks should keep their eye on is Frank Ntilikina from France. When it comes to defensive point guards, Frank is probably one of the best in the draft. He may be a kid when it comes to creating offense, but on defense, he’s a full-grown man. With his 6’5” frame, and 6’11” wingspan, he has the size to lock down many point guards. He plays with pride on defense, and he has a pretty smooth jumper which will be useful in Jeff Hornacek’s, actually Phil’s, archaic triangle offense.
If the Knicks are lucky enough to get into the top-3, the obvious options would be Markelle Fultz, who gets buckets, and Lonzo Ball. Fultz has already said he’d like to play in New York. As for Lonzo, his father, who will remain nameless in this article, will probably push for him to play in Los Angeles because his father’s dream is for all his sons to be one-and-done and play for the hometown Lakers, but I digress once again.
Besides point guard, the Knicks can also look into drafting a Carmelo replacement, if he’s traded this offseason. An obvious option would be Jayson Tatum from the University of Duke. Watching Tatum play is like watching Carmelo 2.0. Tatum’s isolation game is a thing of beauty, and his exquisite use of the jab step is similar to Carmelo’s. The issue with picking Tatum is Phil has criticized Carmelo for being a ball stopper, something which Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant did at times also under his coaching, and Tatum is also a ball stopper. It remains to be seen if Phil would be willing to draft a Carmelo-like prospect, but every team needs a player who can get buckets in a variety of ways, and Tatum definitely fits that bill.
Another option at the three would be Josh Jackson from the University of Kansas. While Tatum is an offensive weapon, what makes Josh appealing is his defense. He can guard multiple positions, and like Frank, he plays with pride on defense. Also, unlike Tatum, he’s not a ball stopper, and he gets his points within the flow of the offense, which should appeal to Phil. With Josh, the Knicks would be getting a player who can play intense defense and keep the ball moving on the offensive end, something that the Knicks sorely need on the wing if Carmelo is traded.
There are many directions the Knicks can go in the draft, and with the wealth of talent available, the Knicks can’t go wrong with their pick.
Ryan G. is also featured on iSportsWeb. Check out the original post at http://www.isportsweb.com/2017/05/12/new-york-knicks-draft/