The Knicks have the 19th, 21st, and 32nd overall picks of the 2021 NBA draft, and while thereâ€™s no guarantee they will retain all of them and select three individual players, there are plenty of quality prospects to consider at each selection.
There is a high probability the Knicks package at least two of their picks together to move up in the draft — adding three rookies might not be a beneficial move. In fact, the consensus is the Knicks will do just that, looking to acquire a premium point guard early in the draft they can mold behind a veteran with experience.
However, there are plenty of prospects worth considering, so letâ€™s take a look at three that have been connected to the Knicks this off-season.
Three prospects for the Knicks to keep an eye on:
1.) Tre Mann
Mann is an exciting young player who offers immediate offensive prowess at the NBA level. At 6’5″ and 190 pounds, the Florida guard averaged 16 points, 3.5 assists, and shot nearly 46% from the field. He also hit on 40% of his shots from range, attempting 4.7 per contest. The developmental step Mann took in his sophomore season was impressive and clearly intrigued a few NBA teams. The expectation is that Mann will be available around the 20 range, perfect for the Knicks.
While Mann isnâ€™t an elite defender by any means, he has potential to grow in the category. He immediately offers scoring production, which is something Tom Thibodeau’s squad desperately needs behind a veteran, considering the value Elfrid Payton offered as a backup last year.
Tre clearly thinks of himself highly, comparing his game to some of the greats in the NBA:
â€œI watch Tre Young, Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry, Bradley Beal, Devin Booker â€” guys like that where I feel like theyâ€™re crafty,â€Â Mann said to Pacers.com in a post-workout interview. â€œThey create their own shots and just have the same type of game that I have.â€
2.) James Bouknight
Another scoring option for the Knicks is James Bouknight out of the University of Connecticut. Similar to Tre Mann, Bouknight is 6’5″ and 190 pounds, with a projected role as a scoring guard. With nice size and length, heâ€™s a shifty player who plays with smoothness and solid vision.
James is one of the more creative finishers in the top 20 prospects, averaging 18.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. He doesnâ€™t exactly fit the point guard mold the Knicks are looking to fill, but Bouknight would be an adequate shooting guard with high upside if selected. In addition, he made it known during his interviews that he was a Brooklyn native.
UConn scorer James Bouknight out of Brooklyn said he interviewed with Knicks and made sure they knew where he's from.
— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) June 24, 2021
New York needs as many scorers as they can get, and he offers just that with potential as a defensive player.
3.) Ziaire Williams
Some have Williams coined as a shooting guard, but heâ€™s also listed as a power forward and small forward, giving him the versatility to move positions if need be. Nonetheless, Williams is known for being a tall wing at 6â€™8â€ and 185 pounds, offering a massive radius with his arms, and is quick on his feet.
Ziaire would be an instant impact scorer off the bench early in his career, but his defense would be lacking immediately. At such a light weight, NBA players would have no problem bullying him down low and at the perimeter. Fighting through pick-and-rolls could be difficult, but if he adds a bit of mass, he could be a solid player at the next level.
Per Jonathan Givony of ESPN, Ziaire would offer a spark-plug off the bench:
The Knicks could also use a player who can spark offense after running stagnant too often last season. Thomas is an energizer who can thrive off the bench early in his career.
Last year with Stanford, he posted 10.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. He connected on about 37% of his shots, but as a freshman, he clearly has plenty of room to grow at the next level.