Charlie and Bryan address the “Knicks love Kevin Knox” rumor and give their final thoughts on Thursday’s NBA Draft and who they believe New York should select at nine.
Charlie: So we’re a week closer to the draft, have another week’s worth of analysis, innuendo, and rumor… and all that considered, we probably know less than we did.
Knicks fans on social media still seem to have their collective hearts set on Mikal Bridges…or an impossibly unlikely trade up to the four spot. Meanwhile, the draft experts have stopped taunting us with Collin Sexton talk but can’t wait to put Kevin Knox or Lonnie Walker IV in orange and blue.
Oh, and in case you haven’t heard, Kawhi Leonard would love to be a Knick.
Care to cut through some of the nonsense and take a guess as to what’s really going on?
I don’t know if it’s recency bias or if it’s like this every season, but it feels like this draft is going to be nutty. I don’t believe there to be much separation between the top seven projected picks (Donic, Ayton, JJJ, Young, Carter, Bamba, Bagley), so everything is a bit messy.
I’d be surprised if any of the seven mentioned above dropped to nine, but it also can’t be ruled out. The Ringer has Kevin Knox going to the Bulls at seven and a radio host in Arizona that I know has legitimate connections across the league also has Knox pegged to the Bulls. If Knox does go to the Bulls and Michael Porter Jr. goes in the top eight, then one of those seven players listed falls into the Knicks lap. Whether it be Trae Young or Wendall Carter, the two most likely to fall, I think you’d have to snatch either up from New York’s perspective despite potential awkwardness from a roster construction standpoint for the time being.
The Knox to the Knicks noise is also picking up some steam. I’d still prefer one of the Bridges to Knox, but I can understand the concept of betting on Knox’s ability to improve and grow into something more. Workouts are extremely important when it comes to Kentucky players because there’s a pattern of them having a more diversified skill set than expected due to constraints put on them by John Calipari. There’s just no way for us to know whether this is true in Knox’s case.
I’m not a scout. I’m terrible at projecting the NBA careers of college players. I’m still surprised that things didn’t work out for Jonny Flynn (but I blame Kurt Rambis). I’d like to trust the Knicks’ scouting department and management to grade these prospects appropriately and make the right decision. I’ll talk myself into whatever decision they make.
Has this management team earned that level of trust? I’m… I’m not sure.
Based on the fluidity and constant movement we’re seeing in the mocks, I’m starting to get the impression that the league doesn’t see a whole lot of difference, overall value-wise, in the players that will go fifth through 15th or so. And if that’s truly the case, the argument that Knox has a higher ceiling than either Bridges starts to make more sense. And then there’s the timing argument; given the state of the Knicks’ rebuild, they can afford to take a player that might take a little longer to reach his peak.
Of course, all these projections are based on leaks and statements from people that have absolutely no reason to be telling the truth, so maybe the shrug emoji is the best reaction.
The best part of this draft, for me, is I’ve talked myself into every person they can draft besides Collin Sexton. There’s just no need to take a point guard with his skill set with the other options they’ll have on the board.
My two top guys are Miles and Mikal if none of the players I mentioned before drop. I’m cool with Lonnie Walker and can see the reasoning in Knox. Walker’s is a pretty intriguing talent to me even though nine is a tad bit early for him. It feels like this is the basic group of player were looking at who could end up in a Knicks uniform on Thursday night.
People got mad the Knicks didn’t tank hard enough, but the tanking they did legitimately did work. Nine is a nice sweet spot in this draft that should land them a high-level talent.
Honestly, that’s why I haven’t been at all enthusiastic about the scenarios, however unlikely, that would have the Knicks making a run at Kawhi Leonard or Memphis’ pick. A big trade, at this stage of the team’s development, might net them a really good player—and practically no way to build a roster around him.
Draft at nine. Stay the course. Attack the free-agent class next summer.