Collin Sexton smiles to the crowd during the second half of the quarterfinals of the SEC Conference Tournament against the Auburn Tigers at Scottrade Center.

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Schmeelk: Outside Options For The Knicks

John Schmeelk
June 12, 2018 - 10:53 am

With the draft about a week away, I’ve narrowed the top part of the draft down to a group of nine players (that I like in no particular order) the Knicks should be willing to take with the 9th pick in the draft: Luka Doncic, DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley Jr., Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba, Trae Young, Michael Porter Jr., Wendell Carter Jr., and Mikal Bridges. Miles Bridges is the tenth guy on my list, and I would understand if the Knicks chose him, but I would pick any of the other nine players over him without much hesitation.

The odds the Knicks have their players ranked the same way I do is slim to none. Here’s the next group of players the Knicks front office will be taking a close look at. I would not select any of these players if I ran the Knicks but they will certainly be in consideration. Last year, Donovan Mitchell probably would have been in this group for most people. There’s a decent chance at least one of these guys will probably be significantly better than a handful of the guys in my top ten.

11. Collin Sexton: I’m sure this is the player Knicks fans are most surprised to find in this group, especially given the fact that ESPN and Draft Express has had him mocked to them for the better part of two months. He has a bulldog attitude and the athleticism to drive and score.

Why I Wouldn’t Take Him: He is not a great shooter nor does he have the court vision to find his teammates. At just 6’2, I’m not sure how well his strengths will translate to consistent production and winning at the NBA level. I am not convinced he is a better point guard prospect than Frank Ntilikina. He is NOT Russell Westbrook.

>>MORE: Schmeelk: Knicks Might Face Draft Decision Of Bridges vs. Bridges

12. Kevin Knox: At 6’9 and 212 pounds with a nearly seven foot wingspan who will turn 19 in August, Knox looks the part of a combo forward that fits in perfectly in the modern NBA. He has great potential to be able to shoot, handle, drive and guard multiple positions.

Why I Wouldn’t Take Him: Almost all of that potential is unrealized. He is raw offensively but looks like he could eventually develop a consistent three point shot. He looks more like a NBA power forward to me, and I don’t think he has the change of direction skills to be a real wing player. I doubt he has the quickness to guard wings either.

13. Shai Gilgeous Alexander: At 6’6 with a 7’0 wingspan he has the size to be an excellent defender in the NBA. He shares the ball, and has good patience and a decent set shot.

Why I Wouldn’t Take Him: He is the same body type as Frank Ntilikina but I like his jumper less, which has a very slow release. He is not an overly athletic, quick or explosive player. He is too similar to Ntilikina without any elite traits to be the pick.

14. Lonnie Walker: A 6’4, 206-pound combo guard with a 6’10 wingspan, Walker can score in different ways and has a ton of athleticism. The lack of skilled shooting guards in the draft makes him very attractive.

Why I Wouldn’t Take Him: He is simply too raw, despite the athleticism, to make sense for the Knicks with the ninth pick. He could very well turn into a very good player but it will take a lot of projection and player development to see it.

15. Zhaire Smith: A lot of people have fallen in love with his elite athleticism and highlight dunk reel from college. The athletic talent is there for him to develop into an elite player if he can improve his basketball skills.

Why I Wouldn’t Take Him: There is so much work to do here. He played center until he got to college, and it shows with his lack of perimeter skills. Has the potential to improve as a shooter but it is all projection. The nail in the coffin for me was when he only measured 6’5 at the NBA combine.

16. Robert Williams: At 6’10 with a 7’5 wingspan, Williams is a protoype rim running big man in the NBA that can also rebound and perhaps one day protect the rim. He physically looks the part.

Why I Wouldn’t Take Him: His effort was inconsistent at the college level and his game is very incomplete. He isn’t an elite enough prospect to add another big man to a roster that already features Kristaps Porzingis.

There is going to be a very good player available when the Knicks select ninth in the draft. They just have to pick the right one.

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