Villanova forward Mikal Bridges


Schmeelk: 5 Things I Think About The Knicks Draft

John Schmeelk
June 19, 2018 - 10:55 am

With the draft a couple of days away here are five things I’m thinking when it comes to the Knicks, what might happen, and what I think should happen.

1. Here are the players I am nearly sure will not fall to the Knicks at ninth overall: DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Luka Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Mohamed Bamba. I would pick any of these players if they somehow fell to the Knicks except Bamba.

In my opinion, there seems to be a bit of a general consensus as to the top eight players in the draft: the above five players along with Trae Young, Michael Porter Jr. and Wendell Carter Jr. I believe there is a legitimate chance one of Young, Porter and Carter could fall to nine since drafts rarely go the way we think. In my opinion, the Knicks would select any of those three players if they were available at nine. If more than one was available in some odd scenario, I’m honestly not sure what the Knicks would do and I’m not sure what I would do either, but I’ll list them in this order: Carter Jr., Porter Jr. and Young.

2. In my mind, the most likely scenario has the above eight guys (Ayton, Bagley, Jackson, Doncic, Bamba, Carter, Young and Porter) going 1-8 and the Knicks staring at the next tier of players having to choose one. If I were the Knicks I would select Mikal Bridges. His excellent defense and elite level shooting is exactly what NBA teams want from a wing player. He is older (he will turn 22 in August) and might not have the athletic upside of other players, but he is a winning player and a ten-year starter in the league. He is exactly the type of defender, person and player David Fizdale wants to fill his team with.

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At the current time, I do not believe the Knicks are considering Miles Bridges or Collin Sexton. They would be choosing between Mikal Bridges and Kevin Knox. Knox, who will only turn 19 in August, has more potential of the two. He played small forward and even some shooting guard at Kentucky, but at 6’9 with a 7’0 wingspan, he projects as a power forward in the NBA. He can catch and shoot from the standstill, on the move, or off the dribble. He already has a good stroke that should improve.

Knox doesn’t have elite twitchiness to create off the dribble as a NBA small forward. Defensively, his motor runs hot and cold. He only grabbed five rebounds, to go along with 1.4 assists, .8 steals and .3 blocks. If he can rebound at a higher level and toughen up a little defensively, he could be a quality long-term starting power forward in the NBA. Think Tobias Harris or Harrison Barnes-type player.

I’m not sure who the Knicks would pick in this scenario. If they want to play for upside and roll the dice a little, it’s Kevin Knox. If they want a surefire NBA starter and a guaranteed winning player with less upside, it’s Mikal Bridges.

3. I would be very surprised if the Knicks make a trade Thursday night, spare buying an additional second round pick. Here are a few options to keep an eye on:

It was reported by Michael Scotto of the Athletic (and others) that the Grizzlies might be moving down from the 4th spot in the draft if another team was willing to take on Chandler Parsons' contract. The Knicks, on a timeline to compete that goes well passed the two years and $49 million remaining on Parsons' contract, could give the Grizzlies short-term cap relief in the form of Enes Kanter, Lance Thomas, Courtney Lee or even a superior player in Tim Hardaway Jr. There would have to be another asset involved, like a future protected pick, as well. I think this is the only way the Knicks can realistically move up multiple spots and it is extremely unlikely.

The Knicks trade down option would be with the Clippers, who hold the 12th and 13th picks in the draft. The chance the Knicks get both those picks is slim, unless a player like Porter Jr. or Young are sitting there at nine and the Clippers are desperate to have one of them. I think if one of those guys are there the Knicks would just pick them, so I find this scenario very unlikely.

 No, there will not be any trade for a NBA veteran on draft night.

 The Knicks have a pretty full roster, so I’m not sure how hard they will go after an additional second round pick in the draft. If there is a player they love, I’m sure they will investigate buying another second rounder, but I wouldn’t consider it extremely likely or a sure thing. (I would always look to add another second rounder if necessary, but I’m not sure the Knicks will.)

 Here are some names to keep an eye on in the second round for the Knicks at pick 36. When you get into the second round you do not pick based on need. If there is a guy there you think can play in the league long-term, you take that player regardless.

  • Jevon Carter – Not a wing but the type of bulldog defender that would set the tone for David Fizdale.
  • Jalen Brunson – Another point guard that knows how to play and win, but lacks athletic traits teams covet.
  • Melvin Frazier – If the Knicks don’t get Mikal Bridges, he would be a steal early in the second round if he drops that far. A wing that can shoot and defend.
  • Bruce Brown – More of a shooting guard but if not for an injury this year he could be a top-twenty pick.
  • Hamidou Diallo – Freakish athlete that can become something fun if he develops his game a little bit.

 5. My prediction right now? I’ll go with Mikal Bridges at #9 and Hamidou Diallo at pick #36.

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