The 2018 NBA Draft is just days away and it is still unclear what the New York Knicks’ plan is with the ninth-overall selection on Thursday night in Brooklyn.
Going by the team’s needs alone, the overwhelming consensus is that the Knicks have to draft a wing talent that will play at small forward. That would mean looking at Villanova’s Mikal Bridges or Kentucky’s Kevin Knox. Last year’s experiment with Tim Hardaway Jr. at the position did not end well as the organization still has to find a legitimate replacement for Carmelo Anthony.
But there is something about the guard position that continues to pique the Knicks’ interest even though they already have a crowded backcourt of young, developing options.
Emmanuel Mudiay is just 22 years old and the emerging Trey Burke is 25, not to mention Frank Ntilikina, the 19-year-old who will likely spend more time at the 2 in his sophomore campaign next season.
Should the Knicks want to continue stockpiling backcourt options, a deep draft class will provide them with an opportunity to take one. Here are three possible names New York could go after on draft night:
Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma
The Oklahoma guard picked up plenty of comparisons to Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry during his lone season in college which will give Knick fans horrific flashbacks of their team missing out on the Davidson guard by just one pick in 2009. Young can pull up and drain three-pointers from almost anywhere on the offensive side of the floor as he led the nation with 27.4 points per game. He was very selective in his workouts for pro teams, but the Knicks were one of them. However, rumor has it that his workout did not go well with them.
Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama
If there’s any indication of how poorly Young’s workout went with the Knicks, it’s that the team could consider Collin Sexton over the Oklahoma guard. The Alabama product is now preferred over Young, according to Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony (h/t WFAN’s John Schmeelk). Sexton is a flat-out gamer who plays a tough brand of basketball on both ends of the floor. He’s an explosive slasher to the rim and can snatch momentum out of nothing, which is a fiery kind of talent that Madison Square Garden hasn’t necessarily seen in quite some time.
Lonnie Walker, SG, Miami (FL)
As one of Miami’s best prospects in the last two decades, Walker has been generating plenty of top-10 buzz over the last few months. So much so in fact that the Knicks are very high on him. Per ESPN’s Ian Begley, there are some big fans of the shooting guard within the Knicks’ front office. Walker is a dynamic offensive talent that can score from outside but isn’t afraid to get near the basket. He’s a natural athlete with an explosive first step and a physical frame that holds the promise of him becoming a valuable defender, especially near the boards.