Who Should the Knicks Target in the NBA Draft?

Things aren’t looking too bad for the Knicks regarding the upcoming draft. They hold the 19th and 21st pick in the first round along with a couple of second-round picks. While this draft is known to be strong within the top five or six players, there’s arguably a steep decline in talent past that. Although it remains to be seen if New York will trade up or not, fans can assume they’ll stick to their current position. While the players in the late teens to early twenties range aren’t amazing, there are certainly some solid players to pick up. Here are some the Knicks should look at along with some they shouldn’t.

Solid Pickup: Tre Mann

Tre Mann is a low-risk high-reward type of player. He’s one of the strongest shooters in the draft and is an agile defender as well. His off-the-dribble shooting is difficult to defend against and his three-point shooting is 40% for the season. Averaging 16 points, five rebounds, and three assists, the young guard has given off an Immanuel Quickly-type of playing style. A mix of great shooting and a very smooth floater makes Mann one to look out for in the draft.

Although his shooting abilities are top-tier in this draft, Mann still has a lot to work on. The 20-year-old guard has a significant lack of explosiveness and struggles to get to the rim. The Florida Gator has ghastly numbers when he tries to use speed and strength to convert contested layups. Along with this, Mann struggles in the playmaker role he’s often asked to play. The Florida-born guard wasn’t a great facilitator in college and must improve on this in the NBA. There’s also doubt that with Mann in the squad, Quickley‘s minutes may lessen as heads into his second year. The two possess similar qualities and it’s unlikely they can really compliment each other if they’re on the court at the same time.

Steer Clear: Sharife Cooper

Analysts have claimed that Sharife Cooper is destined to be the next Trae Young. However, while they show similarities in numerous ways, Cooper has shown he’s still nowhere near the level of the star point guard in Atlanta. The one-and-done guard is hyper-creative and is one of the best ball-handlers in this draft. However, Cooper is often caught playing lazy and unenergetic defense for Auburn and is known for his flashy passing. However, the 20-year-old shoots 22% from three and averages four turnovers per game. While he may well end up fixing his inconsistent shooting, it’s doubtful Cooper’s game translates to the NBA. Lazy defense, turnovers, and alarming three-point shooting are hopefully enough for New York to skip right past him.

Solid Pickup: Corey Kispert

Corey Kispert may be a stretch for the Knicks to draft. However, if he manages to fall to the 19th pick, the Knicks should take him. Kispert is a mature small forward who knows how to play alongside other stars. He’s an elite three-point-shooter and can fill the void as the small forward if Reggie Bullock leaves New York. The 22-year-old averaged 18 points on 44% from three in his final season with Gonzaga. Having finished four years of college, Kispert should be NBA-ready and prepared to make a push with the Knicks to get further than this year.

While Kispert may be a great pickup for the Knicks, he comes with a lot of downsides. He’s not particularly athletic and is one of the slowest players in the draft at his size. He also doesn’t show too much more potential than what he showed in his last season in college. Kispert is a safe choice for any team and shouldn’t take on a big role next season.

Steer Clear: Franz Wagner

Franz Wagner wasn’t bad at all in college. However, the media exposure he’s gotten is far too excessive. Wagner is a lengthy forward who has a consistently mediocre mid-range and three-point shot. His 6’8″ wingspan is something to behold as he has little difficulty in blocking shots from anywhere on the court. However, the German sophomore has many flaws that will undoubtedly be exposed in the NBA.

Wagner is completely unable to succeed once forced onto his left side. This clear weakness was covered up in his final year in college as Michigan ran many plays on the right side as to fit to their Berlin-born forward. However, NBA teams simply won’t cater to his needs and Wagner will likely struggle. Along with his inability to play on the left, Wagner has very little explosiveness and doesn’t thrive at the rim as much as he should at his size and wingspan. The bad of Wagner outweighs the good and the Knicks should steer clear of this flawed forward.

To the Knicks’ relief, this draft really isn’t that key to the upcoming season. They have a strong talented squad and can surely improve within their own ranks. If the likes of RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and Mitchell Robinson can all get to a new level, New York should be ready to make a big push in the playoffs next year.

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