The Knicks could use a brilliant scorer and tough competitor like Pitt’s Bub Carrington in their rotation. 

The New York Knicks struggled with one glaring issue throughout the 2023-24 season, especially in the postseason and even more especially off the bench: shooting. 

It’s why they traded for Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, to add some shooting depth to their bench while not degrading or compromising the top of their rotation. Now, New York has an offseason to re-tool without the pressure of making a big trade-deadline swing. They can look at the draft, the free agents set to hit the market or simply stand pat and try to retain all of their current players to run it back and get some chemistry going at the start of the year. 

The Knicks would be remiss to ignore the qualities that Pittsburgh guard Carlton “Bub” Carrington could bring to their bench and should consider selecting him in the 2024 NBA Draft. 

Carrington, a 6-foot-4 combo guard, has shown flashes of both shooting and passing that the Knicks could have greatly used in the postseason. Yes, Deuce McBride currently corners the market as both a cool name and as a great bench guard in relief of Jalen Brunson. But once Brunson was dealing with the wear and tear associated with big minutes and playing through pain, and once Bogdanovic went down in the first-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers, it would have been great to have depth at guard behind Brunson, McBride and Donte DiVincenzo. 

Some accolades from his time at Pitt include being named to the All-ACC rookie team, winning ACC Rookie of the Week five times and starting in all 33 games he played last season. He also recorded a triple-double performance in his debut, being the first Panther to record the feat in any game since 1998 and marking the 10th time the feat had been done by an ACC freshman.

Watching Bub Carrington’s highlights, you’re wowed by two things: his size and his decision-making. He lopes to his spots, which could make some fans wary regarding his speed. But once he does get to where he wants to be on the floor, he uses his size to his advantage to survey the floor and often finds a cutting big. He led Pitt in assists per game, averaging 4.1 dishes during the 2023-24 season and just 1.9 turnovers.

In addition to his passing ability, he’s a solid shooter, averaging 13.8 points per game last season and apparently looking great in shooting drills in this year’s draft combine. In those drills, he shot 52 percent from three in the 3-point star drill, good for eighth on the day in that drill and shot best amongst all participants in other drills happening at the combine.

Bub Carrington seems like he plays at his speed — not too quickly as to get lost in ball handling or lost in managing his size with the ball but not too slowly where he looks hesitant. That’s the sort of confidence New York could use off the bench this coming season. And if the team is still hesitant to grant Bub major minutes as a rookie, we’ve seen how well development goes for their guards in Westchester. 

Defensively, he can use his length to his advantage but his speed might be a legitimate hindrance here against faster, smaller guards able to get him off balance. You almost trust in his ability to stay with anyone he is defending, especially in the post, but on an island, Carrington might struggle with managing to stay on his feet and in front of his opponent. Again, though, defense can be developed and his size is a great plus on that end. 

Rebounding can also be a plus defensively for a guard. Carrington was in second place in boards per game last season with 5.2 rebounds. He clearly does not play down to his competition in the backcourt or play smaller and rebounding has been paramount to the Knicks’ success over the last two seasons with the addition of Isaiah Hartenstein to work in tandem with Mitchell Robinson. Those two, of course, are towering. But Carrington adds rebounding to a guard room that lost that ability just a bit with the trading away of Immanuel Quickley. Imagining a world where he and Josh Hart wreak havoc on opposing defenses looking to prevent New York’s second-chance scoring barrages brings me joy. It should bring you joy, too. 

Bub Carrington is likely to be taken around the time the Knicks are on the clock, somewhere in the mid-20s. If they manage to snag him, they’ll have secured a great guard to bolster their already teeming guard room and finally will add some size at that position.

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