While the New York Knicks have made many fans and analysts scratch their heads over the years due to their ineptitude and overall bad luck at the NBA Draft, confusion dominates proceedings leading up to this year’s selection process because no one is really sure what direction the team will go with its No. 9 pick on Thursday night.
The most pressing need for the team right now is a wing talent that can slot in and play the 3. That was Carmelo Anthony’s position, which was unsuccessfully filled by Tim Hardaway Jr. at times last season.
Yet there have been rumblings that the Knicks could take a chance on yet another guard, which would add to an already-crowded backcourt that is set to feature Trey Burke, Emmanuel Mudiay and Frank Ntilikina. We broke down three prospects the Knicks are reportedly interested in yesterday.
But the more likely route is that the Knicks nab a small forward, or a talent capable of adding a boost to the wing. Here are three prospects that are on the Knicks’ radar:
Michael Porter Jr., SF/PF, Missouri
It’s unlikely that Michael Porter Jr. will be available at No. 9 for the Knicks to take seeing as he was considered a top two or three selection for some time over the past year. But injuries have derailed the Missouri products hopes of going No. 1 or even the top-five. Regardless, this is a 6-foot-10 talent that can run the floor and shoot the ball like a combo guard. His game around the rim is getting stronger, which will only make him a more attractive prospect. On Wednesday, he revealed that the Knicks “liked him,” and were thinking about moving up in the draft to get him (h/t Mike Vorkunov, the Athletic).
Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova
Bridges has been the favorite among speculators attempting to figure out who the Knicks would take. The 6-foot-6 winger could very well be the best two-way prospect in the 2018 draft class and would provide the Knicks with considerable upgrades on both ends of the floor. He is an efficient shooter from mid-range and beyond the arc with the athleticism and physicality to drive to the basket. He’s also a shutdown defender along the perimeter which was his original calling card at Villanova while his offensive game developed into what it is today.
Kevin Knox, SF/PF, Kentucky
His game needs some developing compared to Bridges, but Kentucky coach John Calipari compared the freshman Knox to Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum, who just came off an impressive rookie campaign (h/t Newsday’s Al Iannazzone). He is strong on the boards and has the potential to be a solid defender, but his offensive game has to be polished for the NBA level. Still, the Knicks were reportedly very impressed with the 19-year-old and he will likely be available should the Knicks hold at No. 9.