With two FRP’s the Knicks have the potential to make a significant impact
The 2020 NBA draft is just around the corner. Tonight at 8:00 pm, the Knicks will have the chance to draft not one but two players in the first round. For the first time since 2015, and only the second time since 2006, the Knicks have two first-round picks. Given the increased opportunity, there is undoubtedly plenty of deliberation going on right now in the Knicks front office. The Knicks own the 8th pick and the 23rd overall pick, which they acquired for the 27th and 38th from Utah. The 8th overall pick certainly holds more weight than the 23rd overall pick. However, the Knicks’ decision with how they choose to use the latter pick is much more intriguing.
This Years Draft Class Has Many Sleepers
There is no clear ranking of this year’s draft class, and teams are going to have to be ready for the unexpected because it’s almost impossible to predict what each team will do. This draft isn’t packed with franchise-altering, superstar-caliber players. The draft class doesn’t have the media-enthralling, flashy, show-off players. But the class is deep and filled with a lot of sleepers and sneaky high-upside players. If the Knicks make a thoughtful decision with their 23rd pick, they could come out as winners of the NBA draft. Having not one but two talented rookies alongside the young core that the Knicks are trying to build around RJ and Mitch could finally give the Knicks some hope and direction.
The Knicks Need to Address their Needs
Before becoming a contender, the Knicks have a long way to go. The Knicks should not merely draft the best player on the board. Instead, they should focus on drafting the player that best addresses their needs. The Knicks need to draft a playmaker – someone who can run the offense and feel comfortable bringing up the ball. More than that, they need to draft a player with strong shooting abilities.
Nico Mannion: the Knicks first option
Based on mock drafts and the best players that will realistically be available, I outline the Knicks’ three best options with the 23rd overall pick. Assuming all three of the following players are on the board, I believe they should first grab Nico Mannion. Nico Mannion is a 19-year-old Italian point guard out of the University of Arizona. Mannion possesses a robust offensive repertoire as he can use his craftiness and shiftiness to create space for himself off the dribble. His quickness and good footwork, along with his ball-handling skills, allow him to attack the paint at ease. Nico’s floater and runner shots are his bread and butter and demonstrate how adept he is at improvising and shooting difficult, off-balanced shots without even setting his feet.
While Nico did not shoot at a great clip last season, a lot of his game revolves around the perimeter shot. His dual-threat of a perimeter shot, and a deadly mid-range game makes him unpredictable, leaving defenders with a hard time knowing how he will attack. He is not only a scoring threat, but he also possesses strong playmaking skills. Nico’s playmaking and perimeter shooting abilities as a true point guard is exactly the type of player the Knicks need. His high-energy and up-tempo style of play is the perfect fit for the bright lights of the Garden.
Tyrell Terry: the Knicks second best option
If Nico Mannion is not available, the Knick’s second-best option at 23 is Tyrell Terry. Terry is a sharpshooting point guard who played one year at Stanford University. Terry is one of the best shooters in the draft class. His shot selection and nearly perfect form, along with his quick and silky-smooth shooting motion, make him tremendously efficient. He has a natural feel for the game, and his court vision and decision-making abilities make him an extremely aware player.
Terry’s offensive capabilities reach beyond his silky shooting touch. Terry also has excellent footwork and speed and is a great finisher around the rim. He lacks strength and size but makes up for it with his energy, heart, and athleticism. Terry’s strong court vision not only helps him read the defense and create shots for himself, but he also uses it to share the ball. He is a good playmaker as his quickness allows him to penetrate defenses and find open teammates. The Knicks are desperate for a shooter, and Terry is one of the most highly touted shooters in the draft, which will make it hard for the Knicks to pass upon him.
Payton Pritchard: the Knicks Third-Best option
If neither of those players is on the board, the Knicks’ next best option is Payton Pritchard, a guard out of Oregon. Pritchard once was projected to be a second-round pick, but intense pre-draft workouts increased his stock. Now many NBA executives believe he will be a first-round pick. According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, the Knicks will target Pritchard with their 23rd pick.
Pritchard played four years of college ball for the Ducks, finishing incredibly strong in his senior year. His 20.5ppg, 5.5ast, 4.3reb, 46.8% FG, and 41.5% 3FG numbers earned him Pac-12 Player of the Year and first-team All-Americans honors. He was only the fourth player in Pac-12 history to lead the league in both points and assists. If the Knicks were to land Pritchard, they would be drafting an NBA ready, mature guard who could shoot the ball at a high clip and be a valuable playmaker.
Knicks Fans should be excited
Nico Mannion, Tyrell Terry, and Payton Pritchard are all excellent options for the Knicks. The 23rd pick may seem like a late pick, but there should be a lot of excitement among Knicks fans. The potential to draft a sleeper in this year’s deep draft class is extremely high.