The Knicks may have some options to wheel and deal when the draft rolls around. Let’s take a look to see if any of them make sense.
Thanks to some halfhearted tanking and no luck in the lottery, the Knicks are owners of the ninth overall pick in the draft. While the nine spot certainly isn’t the most ideal position to pick from, there are still plenty of talented players that will be available for selection when New York is on the clock.
With draft day just a couple of weeks away, player workouts are in full swing, and the Knicks are examining who would best fit their roster with rebuilding in mind. That being said, should the Knicks look to move out of their current draft position and finesse a better overall haul?
There are multiple scenarios in which the Knicks’ front office could look to move down from the ninth pick and secure some assets in return.
If New York feels that the draft’s best talent will be gone by the time they’re on the clock, they can cut their losses and package the ninth pick with a player they’re looking to get off the books for a lower pick or a few assets. Whether they simply move down into the late lottery or later into the first round, there will be plenty of intriguing players available to entice the Knicks.
Should they move into the late lottery or slightly out of it, the Knicks will still have a good amount of appealing prospects to pick from. Just a few names projected to fall to late in the lottery or to the middle of the first round are Lonnie Walker IV, Kevin Knox, Zhaire Smith, and, according to some projections, even Miles or Mikal Bridges. One potential scenario where this could happen is a trade with the Clippers that would essentially be a swap of the ninth pick for Los Angeles’ 12th and 13th picks. If L.A.’s front office is enamored with a player they see not falling out of the top ten, and New York sees a player they like that they could still grab at 12 or 13, this deal would make sense for both franchises.
However, if the Knicks instead end up finding a deal that involves them moving down into the late first round, they could still end up with a valuable return. Say New York packages the ninth pick and a player they want to get off the books for an asset and a pick between 20 and 30. They could still come out of the draft with an exciting prospect. Players like Chandler Hutchinson and Troy Brown would likely be available, and could be a diamond in the rough in the late first round.
Trading down might end up making the most sense for the Knicks come draft day. If New York can find a player they want lower in the draft, the best move may to be to swap their pick and get something extra in return.
Should the Knicks find themselves questioning whether the ninth spot is high enough to snatch an elite prospect, they may very well look to move up in the draft.
The argument can be made that this class is rather top-heavy, with a few potential franchise-altering talents projected to fall slightly before the Knicks’ selection at nine. While New York likely won’t have the assets to do something drastic, like trade into the top five, they might be willing to move something of value to rise a couple spots.
One situation where this would seem plausible would be the Knicks trading their first- and second-round picks, potentially along with one of their young players under contract, to move up into the sixth or seventh spot.
If New York does end up doing something along those lines, the front office could look to pick up a Jaren Jackson Jr., Michael Porter Jr., or Mohamed Bamba, all exciting players that could bring some much needed young talent to the roster.
With this draft containing so many elite players at the top, trading up a few picks just might be the best move for the Knicks. If the front office spots out a player they’re captivated by and don’t want to pass up, it doesn’t seem that unlikely that they could make a swap.
What About Keeping the Pick?
With all that said, all indications as of now point to the Knicks keeping the ninth pick and selecting the best player available that would nicely suit the team. There are plenty of good players expected to be available at nine, such as Mikal Bridges, Collin Sexton, Wendell Carter Jr., Miles Bridges, or even Michael Porter Jr. or Trae Young if they fall.
With a lack of assets and a rebuilding year ahead of them, it would probably be smartest for New York to stand pat at nine and work with what they’ve got.