With the NBA draft date of June 25 quickly approaching, the rumors have been flying. The New York Knicks have not been an exception to this, with quite a few surprising rumors about what they plan to do with their pick.
All of these reports have been difficult to keep track of, so here is a rundown of exactly what the insiders have reported about the Knicks and their selection.
Karl Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor are still in play. The Minnesota Timberwolves will reportedly consider Emmanuel Mudiay with the top selection, and at #3 the Philadelphia 76ers are also expected to draft a guard. They have Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid slated to start in the front court, and after shockingly trading Michael Carter-Williams at the trade deadline, don’t have a true, starting caliber point guard on the roster.
If that scenario plays out, the Los Angeles Lakers will be the only team taking one of the two bigs. The second would then fall to New York, where they would almost certainly select him.
D’Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay are looking much more likely at pick number four. Russell was praised by Phil Jackson earlier in the year, with the Zen Master calling him “a great prospect.” The two then met again last week, showing the continued interest New York has in him. Russell himself also is a fan of the Knicks, stating him and Carmelo Anthony could do “damage together” in the NBA. It is hard to see him slip past the Sixers at three, but GM Sam Hinkie is known for his unorthodox methods. It wouldn’t be too surprising to see him select someone else with this pick.
Mudiay on the other hand, is looking like the most likely option. He had a sit down dinner with Derek Fisher and a discussion with Phil Jackson about how he would fit into the triangle offense. Mudiay was reportedly very impressed by Fisher, and the Knicks were also impressed with Mudiay. In a workout, his shot was shaky, but his athleticism was incredible.
Justise Winslow has seen his stock rise over the past few weeks, and now is very draftable at #4. Winslow and Knicks star Carmelo Anthony were seen together at a Yankee game not too long ago. Winslow is a small forward who can rebound and defend very well, two areas where the Knicks struggled last season. This also would enable Carmelo Anthony to move to power forward, a position in which he has played his best at the last few seasons.
Phil Jackson is reportedly “enamored” with Kentucky big man Trey Lyles. Lyles is projected as a mid round pick so they most likely would trade down for him, but Lyles could be the best fit based on the triangle offense. He’s been overshadowed by Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl Anthony Towns, but Lyles still was solid. He has an excellent touch at the rim, he can shot the mid range J, and he’s solid at the charity stripe.
Willie Cauley-Stein also is a Knicks rumored Kentucky target. Phil Jackson visited Lexington earlier in the season to watch a Kentucky practice, and the Knicks also have scheduled a workout for Stein. His strength is defense, while he has a limited offensive game. Picking him at four may be a bit of a reach, but trading down also may knock the Knicks too far down to draft him.
Latvian power forward Kristaps Porzingis has mentioned he hopes the Knicks select him. He had this to say.
“But I would love to play here one day with the Knicks, and hopefully they pick me.”
Porzingis is just 19-years-old and still a bit raw, but he could end up being great. He’s actually a bit like Andrea Bargnani, but he unfortunately didn’t turn out well. Porzingis hopefully will be different.
Cameron Payne has raised the intrigue of Phil Jackson as well. The Murray State Guard is projected to be a low lottery pick, but he still has a high ceiling. He is a good shooter, an excellent playmaker, and has the strength and body length to be a good defender.
Last but not least, Frank Kaminsky and Stanley Johnson both are scheduled to workout for the Knicks next week. Both of them are 10-15 range picks.