Under Leon Rose, the Knicks have been known for wheeling and dealing on draft night. Here are some other possibilities for tonight should New York once again trade down in the first round.
Draft day is finally here, after a much anticipated pre-draft process that we have been covering here for months with a fine-tooth comb. There are a lot of rumors and rumblings around what will happen, and more than in most years there is a lot of mystery and uncertainty surrounding the 2022 NBA Draft.
The New York Knicks are sure to be one of the most active teams of the night, as Leon Rose has shown in his tenure with the team. They start with pick nos. 11 and 42, but those may not be the only positions from which they draft—if they draft from them at all.
So, with that, we are going to be looking at some other likely first-round picks that could be in the conversation if the Knicks do and up moving down from 11, or even if Rose and co. feel strongly enough. While most of these players are typically mocked just outside of the lottery, we know that this regime will make things happen to get their guys.
The players we are looking at today have been some of the highest risers in the draft, so much so that you may not have been familiar with them before the draft season. These guys were either in smaller roles that were overshadowed by higher-profile prospects or players that dominated smaller contexts that did not get the eyes on them needed to raise their draft stock.
All three of these players, however, have flourished in the pre-draft process, going from potential returners to green room invitees and potential top 20 picks. In case you are unfamiliar with these three: we are going to tell you what you need to know before these names are called by Adam Silver.
Jalen Williams, Wing, Santa Clara
Jalen Williams out of Santa Clara (not to be confused with Arkansas forward Jaylin Williams) started as the Cinderella of this draft class, but now, with an invite to the green room, has become the belle of the ball. The Santa Clara shooting guard was the 242nd-ranked prospect out of high school after a massive growth spurt over his last few years. While Santa Clara was one of his only three scholarship offers, that did not stop his journey that led him to the first round of the NBA draft.
His growth has not simply been physical, although he was just 5’10” going into his junior year of high school—the upward trajectory has translated to his production as well. The scoring alone has been on an exponential growth pattern going from 7.7 points per game as a freshman up now to the extremely productive 18.0 points per game he averaged as a junior.
That growth is shown in both his scoring and his efficiency, as in a rough COVID-laced sophomore year, Williams shot 27% from three, but as a junior, he was back up to nearly 38% from beyond the arc. Not only did he increase his scoring totals and efficiencies, but he also nearly doubled his assist per game numbers and showed real playmaking chops.
Williams was a lead guard before his massive growth spurt—a potential benefit for the All-WCC wing. With that background, he carries with him a low center of gravity that gives him great strength and body control going to the basket. He also is a way above average ball-handler with elite crossovers; he has a great change of pace and can accelerate and decelerate at will on his way getting to the basket.
This helped make Jalen Williams a three-level scorer with his ability to get to the rim with ease. His elite length helps him to finish around the basket. He shot 60% at the rim in halfcourt situations on an impressive five attempts per game. This sort of finishing is likely to translate well to the next level, and with his herky-jerky style of offense, it is easy to see him succeeding as a really efficient scorer that shoots the ball well off-ball and can attack a closeout to get to the basket consistently.
Williams’ guard experience gives him a benefit with his ball-handling, also giving him better playmaking abilities. Not only did the Santa Clara wing average over four assists a game, but he also showed elite passing, specifically out of the pick-and-roll. Williams’ was most often used as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, but was able to make good reads to find kick-outs to open shooters as well as finding the roll man.
Jalen Williams is maybe my favorite P&R operator in this entire class. The patience, the eye manipulation, the delivery, all elite stuff pic.twitter.com/3yFd7W4r04
— Bryce Hendricks (@BryceHendrick14) May 3, 2022
Jalen Williams is not an elite athlete, but he is very quick laterally, helping him stay in front of guards, and his strength helps him defend bigger opponents. Where his true strength lies defensively is his absolutely absurd length. The 6’6″ wing has a 7’2″ wingspan, leading the NBA draft class in a positive differential wingspan. This length parlayed with his quickness allows him to stay in front of opponents and disrupt opposing ball-handlers.
There is a reason that Jalen Williams’ draft stock has improved tremendously over the last few months. An incredibly versatile offensive weapon that can score in just about every different way on a basketball court. He translates to the NBA level as a potentially lethal off-ball shooter with on-ball creation upside out of the pick-and-roll. That coupled with a very high-end growth trajectory, elite physical tools, and top 1% length makes Williams a massive draft riser and a potential disrupter in the lottery.
MarJon Beauchamp, SG, G League Ignite
Another long high motor wing that has been rising up NBA draft boards is the G League Ignite’s MarJon Beauchamp. The 21-year-old 6’6″ wing joined the G League Ignite after a stint at Yakima Valley Community College in his home state of Washington.
The 200-pound wing has an “NBA-ready” frame as he is strong and sturdy with a seven-foot wingspan and an incredibly high motor that translates to a solid NBA role player. In his one year in the G League developmental system, Beauchamp averaged 15 points and just over seven rebounds a game.
The Washington native will be someone who embraces the role given to him, which is a positive thing when looking at translation to the next level. While he will not be referred to as much of a “high upside” prospect, he brings specific skills with him that he does at a high level and will continue to in the Association.
Beauchamp is one of the better athletes in this class and shows that in a variety of ways. Elite straight-line speed allows him to excel in transition where he scored 30% of his points this season for the Ignite, per Synergy. The majority of his shots came in transition and at the rim. Nearly all of his transition buckets came at the ring, as well as most of his halfcourt offense.
G League Ignite wing Marjon Beauchamp says he worked out for the #knicks. Just him and one other player. Felt he did well and they pushed him.
— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) June 17, 2022
The perimeter shooting shows very little signs of life, but the mid-range jumper is decent and he can get to his shot at ease. While he had an extremely low usage rate, Beauchamp showed good passing chops off the dribble. He also is a fantastic rebounder for a wing and can grab and go with passing to start a break, even if he is more likely to finish them.
There may not be a better in-game dunker that will hear their name called tonight. Beauchamp is an explosive leaper with strength allowing him to be aggressive going towards the basket. Whether it is cutting, catching a lob, or driving to the basket, the 21-year-old prospect is always dangerous when it comes to dunking on somebody. There is not a more fearless player at the basket, and he uses his strength to finish through contact and go right at defenders. He is truly an elite finisher around the rim that plays with a bit of nastiness that fans will love.
MarJon Beauchamp is easily one of the best cutters of this draft.
Another bonus is that he's also able to create his own offense downhill. Loved the hesitation move followed by the burst and tenacious dunk.
A low-usage guy that'll make winning plays on both ends of the floor. pic.twitter.com/6uGeti7xao
— Ersin Demir (@EDemirNBA) April 15, 2022
There is a beneficial role offensively as a smart and aggressive cutter and elite finisher at the rim. However, whoever drafts Beauchamp is really doing so with his defense in mind. He is one of the hardest-working defenders in the class and does so with top-tier physicality. He is not the quickest wing to stay in front of smaller guards, but he is strong enough to hold his own and not be pushed around by opponents. He can switch and guard shooting guards, but will also be able to guard bigs on occasion due to his combination of strength and length.
Not only is Beauchamp an incredibly hard-working defender, but he is very smart and understands positional defense. He has a high I.Q. and does a great job of cutting off angles and stopping cutters. Due to his elite length and athleticism, he does a great job of closing out on shooters.
He is balanced on defense with elite body control, he seldom gets caught off-balanced and is almost always able to rotate appropriately on defense. A smart risk taker, he is rarely out of position, which is surprising for someone as aggressive as he is. This all goes back to his motor, as he never stops moving on defense. He can take risks and jump-cutting lanes but still get back to his position due to his athleticism and relentless motor.
Marjon Beauchamp's motor on defense is outstanding. pic.twitter.com/wG7GTb7f15
— Itamar (@Itamar_17_10) June 9, 2022
Every NBA draft pick always comes with some sort of risk, but there are few smarter bets to make than an elite athlete with a strong motor that never stops working. Beauchamp does not have the highest upside in this class, but a high defensive prospect with a low usage rate that fits a role is certainly something that can help more than one NBA team. Some teams look for stars, no matter their draft position, but teams that are looking for a high-level wing defender that can rebound and finish around the rim may be able to find that guy in the Ignite wing.
Dalen Terry, SG, Arizona
Continuing with this trend of long wings, Dalen Terry is the latest draft riser to add to the list. A perfect example of the “pre-draft” process, Terry was a candidate to return to school for his junior season at Arizona before shooting up NBA draft boards. The 19-year-old Phoenix native is not going to be wowing scouts or front offices with his box score output from his sophomore season. However, the upside of what Terry might become, given his flashes of skill and natural tools, is incredibly tantalizing for GMs to think about.
The 6’7″ wing has an impressive 7’1″ wingspan along with elite quickness for his frame. This gives Dalen Terry a unique position-less role as a playmaking wing that is a positive rebounder as well given his size and length. There is a lot to like about what Terry brings to the table, even if it was not consistently shown throughout his time in college. The glimpses that were shown when given more opportunities.
The biggest selling point for what Terry projects to be at the next level is based on his playmaking ability. He is an elite passer with truly elite vision, especially when it comes to finding cutters. Terry’s size allows him to see over defenses, but his vision provides the opportunity to seemingly see plays before they open up. He is a precise passer that can thread the needle between very small openings to create easy buckets.
Great cut to the rim by Mathurin, an even better bounce pass delivery by Dalen Terry!
Has size to see over defenses at 6'7" and flourishes as an off-ball player and defender.
He's a bit hesitant shooting wise; >90% of his threes are assisted on
Self creation is his swingskill. pic.twitter.com/S3M7T5GeOZ
— Ersin Demir (@EDemirNBA) June 21, 2022
While he was not the primary playmaker in his time at Arizona, Terry made good things happen more often than not when he had the ball in his hands. He put up an extremely impressive 3:1 assist-to-turnover rate, considering the degree of difficulty on the passes Terry attempted on a regular basis.
Terry is a true athlete that can make plays quickly due to elite quickness compounded with that high-level playmaking ability. The 19-year-old wing averaged nearly five rebounds a game, which allowed him to start fast breaks off of rebounds and make quick and concise decisions to make plays open. While Terry is an aggressive passer with the difficult reads he makes, he is a smart passer and does not often force situations that are not there. This is especially effective when thinking about Terry’s ability to start fast breaks and make the correct read early to create situation advantages.
Dalen Terry sees all. pic.twitter.com/AsqP0FsE7Y
— ALBERT GHIM (@albertoeghim) June 22, 2022
Terry is a skilled passer with the ball in his hands and an explosive athlete that is a good dunker with great vertical leaping ability. Not only can Terry finish above the rim, but he is a creative finisher with an impressive layup package with both hands. He is a very crafty and creative finisher that finished an impressive 55% around the rim on mostly self-created attempts.
As with most prospects, the swing skill for Terry is the shooting as he shot 36% from beyond the arc, which was an impressive growth from 32% from deep his freshman year. Even though the shooting was on low volume, the catch-and-shoot numbers are extremely important for his translation to the NBA. The shooting projects fairly well and the improved touch and free throw percentage both lead to a strong potential overall shooting evaluation.
If the shooting is realistic, a terrific offensive player is living within Dalen Terry. Even without the consistent shooting, the playmaking and creation flashes show a high-level connector on offense if not a potential secondary playmaker that can create plays out of a pick-and-roll as well as in transition.
The other reason that the catch-and-shoot ability is important is that it speaks to the off-ball role that Terry may take in the NBA. He is a smart player and a really smart cutter that showed significant growth offensively from his freshman to sophomore year. If that growth continues both on and off the ball, the offensive upside is still fairly significant even if there was a lack of production at Arizona.
If you are drafting Dalen Terry, it is not just for the potential offensive upside that the 6’7″ wing offers, but for the strong defense as well. He earned All-Defense in the Pac-12 largely in part of his high activity levels along with his long arms giving him the ability to disrupt plays both on and off the ball.
He is an extremely pesky point-of-attack defender that takes great angles to stop the ball handlers from creating space. With extremely high-lateral quickness, Terry does a great job of staying in front of ball-handlers, specifically when asked to cover smaller guards. There are few players in this class better suited to do so than Terry given his unique combination of high-level quickness and a 7’1″ wingspan.
His screen navigation is one of the better individual defensive skills in this class, and his relentless motor to fight through screens brings him to another level. He can stay in plays using that motor, with his incredibly long arms, and make plays contesting from behind and poking balls away.
Not only is the former four-star recruit a great on-ball defender, but has shown elite instincts for help defense. With great anticipation ability, Terry interrupts passing lanes routinely to create turnovers. He has great instincts to break down offensive plays with nearly instantaneous rotations, at times beating offensive players to the spots where they are going. With extremely active hands and long arms, Terry makes plays from seemingly out of nowhere. He is often willing to go for steals but is quick enough to get back into position quickly. When he creates turnovers and gets steals, he can start fast breaks and push for easy buckets.
Dalen Terry will have the upside to become a strong defensive asset. Active + does an outstanding job of using his length & quick hands to create madness.
Upside to defend multiple positions. Stands out away from the ball when it comes to jumping passing lanes. #NBADraft pic.twitter.com/gRnfAzH35n
— Tyler Rucker (@tyler_rucker) May 13, 2022
Dalen Terry is an interesting mix of a player that has a high level of translatable skills immediately given the playmaking and defense. You can parlay those skills with the potential shot creation and off-ball shooting upside to project a significantly impactful player at the next level. A young player at just 19, the growth for trajectory for Terry is certainly appealing and there is a reason why he went from likely to return to school to now a potential top 20 pick.
In an NBA draft that is being described as wildly uncertain, we have to expect the unexpected. This is a draft class filled with doubt and sprinkled with high upside role players given the right contextual situations. It is only a matter of time until we get surprised by the names that Adam Silver calls. There will almost definitely be picks that no mock drafts saw coming, and these three candidates are as good as anyone to spoil the party. They are three players who have shown tremendous growth throughout their respective careers and have paid their dues with hard work and high motors on both sides of the ball. Whichever teams draft these three players will love the effort they get from these young prospects as they continue to grow and develop.
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