Knicks: Top 2024 NBA Draft prospects they could target in the 1st round

Ja'Kobe Walter, Knicks
Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 NBA Draft will be on June 26-27, and the New York Knicks have the 24th and 25th pick in the first round. Speculation has surrounded New York trading the draft picks, but potential prospects can add versatility to New York’s rotation in the future. Here are four possibilities for the Knicks in the first round: 

Top New York Knicks first-round draft targets:

Ja’Kobe Walter

Ja'Kobe Walter, Knicks
Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Ja’Kobe Walter is a 6-foot-5 guard from Baylor University who shows an ability to score at all three levels. With an NBA-ready shot, Walter shot 34% from beyond the arc on 6.3 attempts per game. His percentage looks to need work, but his volume shows readiness and confidence from beyond the arc that will become valued at the highest level.

Walter averaged 14.5 points per game and shot 79% from the free throw line. Walter shows tremendous upside on defense with his length and aggressiveness as a POA defender, but weaknesses rise when it comes to his shot creation and ability to finish through contact.

He’s much more comfortable as a catch-and-shoot player, but his efficiency is lacking and will be the focus of his improvement on the NBA level. 

Kyshawn George

Kyshawn George, Knicks
Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Standing 6-foot-8, Kyshawn George is a wing with guard skills and excellent shot-making ability. His versatility on offense shows as he shoots 40% from beyond the arc on four attempts per game. George shoots over 40% on catch-and-shoot threes and 36.4% on pull-up threes. His shot-making ability for his size is astonishing, but his lack of constant playing time means a lack of reps.

George is not a physical driver and shot only 29.2% on dribble jumpers. George is still a strong wing with a high upside and would make a great asset that may be groomed well in Westchester, the Knicks G-league affiliate.

Ryan Dunn

Ryan Dunn, Knicks
Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Dunn is a potential generational talent hiding in the mid to late first round. Dunn was the 2024 ACC All-Defense projected to fall to the Knicks in CBS’s latest mock draft. Dunn had the 10th-best block % and the 8th-best defensive rating in the NCAA last year. Dunn had tremendous hands and is an incredible athlete, and translating to the NBA should be seamless for him.

His intangibles defensively will make him coveted to a rotation looking for a strong wing with dynamic upside. Dunn will need to develop on the offensive end more, but there is potential for him to be a premier 3&D player. Dunn attempted only 50 3PA and shot 20% from deep. The pros outweigh the cons for Dunn, who will find productive minutes in the NBA. 

Kel’el Ware

The New York Knicks may have an issue with depth at the center position with the emerging contract dealings of Isaiah Hartenstein. 7-footer Kel’el Ware may be the answer to adding depth with excellent hands and the ability to guard multiple positions. He’s effective in the pick-and-roll, with the ability to stretch the floor efficiently as a big man.

Ware shot 42.5 % from 3 on 1.3 att per game last season. Shooting 33.7% from 3 his two years in college, the gradual improvement from beyond the arc shows his work ethic.

He brings light to going over the screens as a mobile big defensively and takes pride in not falling for drop coverage against smaller players. Ware always moves his feet, showing tremendous tenacity, but a few raw intangibles are needed to see his effectiveness on the next level. 

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