3 players the Knicks could target in the 1st round of the NBA Draft

Zach Edey, Knicks
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With the NBA Draft around the corner, the New York Knicks could be aggressive in their approach this year. Possessing the 24th and 25th overall picks in the first round of this year’s draft, there are plenty of candidates for who the Knicks could draft, and who they decide to roll the dice on could be key if the team wishes to have another successful season.

Given the impending free agency of C Isaiah Hartenstein, the Knicks will be taking a close look at their options to bolster their center depth should Hartenstein sign elsewhere. New York could also be in play to draft additional wing depth to take pressure off of Josh Hart and, if he returns to the Knicks next season, OG Anunoby.

Three first-round NBA Draft targets for the Knicks

1. Zach Edey

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One of the most decorated players in recent NCAA history, the 7-foot-4, 285-pound center hailing from Purdue projects as a late lottery to late first-round pick. Edey dominated the college landscape during his tenure with the Boilermakers, averaging 18.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game throughout his four-year college career.

Edey blossomed into a college basketball phenom during his junior and senior seasons, being named National College Player of the Year, and Big East Player of the Year in both 2023, and 2024. This past season, Edey led the NCAA in scoring with his 25.2 points per game, to go along with 12.2 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game to help lead the Boilermakers to the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament, where they would lose to UConn Huskies in the National Championship game. Despite the loss, Edey finished with 37 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks.

Edey has been oft-criticized for his slow-paced game, and his inability to create space on the perimeter. Many have questioned if Edey’s game will translate to the NBA, and feel as though his dominance was solely due to his overwhelming size compared to his competition.

However, given the Knicks’ recent track record of turning otherwise forgettable big men into quality contributors, (i.e. Isaiah Hartenstein and Precious Achiuwa this past season, and Nerlens Noel in 2021) it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Knicks take a swing on the two-time NCAA All-American should he still be on the board come draft night.

2. Yves Missi

Yves Missi, Knicks
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The high-flying big man from the Baylor University projects as a late-first-round pick. HoopsHype’s most recent mock draft projects the 7-foot freshman to be selected 24th overall by the Knicks. Missi is a strong athlete, boasting a 37-inch vertical jump and a 7-foot-2 wingspan.

Missi has a knack for creating highlight plays with his powerful dunks at the rim and is a formidable lob threat on every play. Defensively, the seven-footer has shown promise as a potent shot blocker. This past season at Baylor, he averaged 10.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game as he was named to the Big-12 All-Defense and Big-12 All-Freshman teams.

At just 20 years old, Missi has shown plenty of developmental upside as a future quality big man in the pros. Should the Knicks select him, he will likely take on a role as a reserve center off the bench, and could provide the Knicks with intensity, and high-flying action on both ends of the floor.

1. Ryan Dunn

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The 6-foot-8 forward out of the University of Virginia could be a target for the Knicks in this year’s draft. Projected as a late first-round pick, Dunn showcased his potential in his sophomore season with the Virginia Cavaliers. Known for his defensive prowess, Dunn averaged 2.3 blocks and 1.3 steals this past season on his way to being named to ACC All-Defense.

Dunn’s flaws come with his questionable offensive abilities. The sophomore averaged just 5.5 points per game across his two seasons at Virginia, and showed a very limited spacing ability, attempting just 51 three-pointers in his college career and converting just 12 of those. Dunn also struggled as a free-throw shooter, knocking down just 52% of his free throws in his college career. Much of his offense comes from being a lob threat with his impressive 38-inch vertical and 7-foot-1 wingspan.

Dunn has plenty of familiarity with the tri-state area, born in Freeport, NY, Dunn played high school basketball at Oak Hill Academy (NJ), Long Island Lutheran (NY), and Perkiomen School (PA). Given the Knicks’ current lack of depth at the wing positions, rolling the dice on the hometown kid could be in the Knicks’ cards ahead of the NBA draft.

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