With the 2020 NBA Draft less than a month away, there have been the usual slew of rumors connecting the Knicks to various prospects and speculating what they might do come draft night.
With that being said, I figured I’d join the party with my take on what I think the Knicks might do on November 18.
TRADE: Knicks send pick 8 to the Celtics for picks 14, 26, and Romeo Langford
Marc Berman of the New York Post recently reported that the Knicks might be looking to trade down if prospects like LaMelo Ball and James Wiseman aren’t available at their pick, which is most likely going to be the case. Berman also noted that the Knicks would be looking to acquire another player on his rookie deal while still picking in the lottery.
The trade I have listed above fulfills both of those desires. The Boston Celtics have three first-round picks, and they are probably going to use them in order to trade up into the top 10 and grab a guy they love.
This would be a win-win for both teams, as the Knicks get an extra first that they can pair with the 27th pick to move up, and they also get an intriguing young player in last year’s 14th overall pick Romeo Langford who simply has too many guys ahead of him on the depth chart for him to get any consistent playing time in Boston.
Langford only appeared in 32 games as a rookie with two starts for the Celtics and put together an underwhelming stat line of 2.5 points and 1.3 rebounds while averaging roughly 12 minutes per game. He’s also dealt with a long list of injuries dating back to college, so his health is a legitimate concern that diminishes his trade value.
Nevertheless, he’s a very talented player with a good all-around skill set, and he would be a nice throw-in for the Knicks. Langford would be able to find more playing time in New York, and if he can stay healthy, the Knicks could have themselves another young building block.
Pick 14 (from the Celtics): Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky
With the 14th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, the Knicks select guard Tyrese Maxey from Kentucky. Maxey has been a player that has been linked to the Knicks heavily over the last few months, and he would likely be a player they target if they indeed trade down.
A one-and-done with the Wildcats, Maxey had an inconsistent but promising freshmen year. In 31 games played and 28 starts, Maxey averaged 14 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and roughly 1 steal in 34.5 minutes per game. His shooting percentages were a bit low, shooting 42.7% from the floor and 29.2% from three, but he has a good offensive skill set and can score from all three levels. He is also a solid defender and plays hard on both ends of the floor.
New York would be a very good landing spot for Maxey, as the Knicks need more scoring, and he would be a nice fit alongside RJ Barrett. The Knicks also have former Kentucky associate head coach Kenny Payne on Tom Thibodeau’s staff, who coached Maxey and has reportedly been praising him in draft discussions.
TRADE: Knicks send picks 26 and 27, 2022 2nd to the Timberwolves for pick 17
Surprise! After collecting another first-round pick from the Celtics, the Knicks package their now back-to-back first-round picks along with their 2022 second-round pick to move back up into the late teens. Leon Rose is not messing around and is willing to move all over the draft board to get his guys.
Pick 17: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
You know what they say: speed kills. And the Knicks are getting themselves a lot of that with Kira Lewis Jr.
The 6’3” sophomore point guard had a great second season with Alabama, averaging 18.5 points, 5.2 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and almost 2 steals per game while shooting 46% from the floor and 37% from three. Lewis’s speed and burst allow him to get up and down the court in the blink of an eye and get to the basket quickly and effectively. Lewis also possesses a strong jump shot, a good handle, and a high IQ, and he would be a great pick for the Knicks.
He’s still a little raw, but Lewis has all the tools and is exactly the kind of high-upside prospect who I would love to see new associate head coach Johnnie Bryant work with. Having a speedster like Lewis would do wonders for Barrett and the players around him, as Lewis would draw a lot of defensive attention and maximize open looks for others.
If Lewis is able to be properly developed and reaches his full potential, the Knicks very well could have found themselves their franchise point guard and a huge steal outside of the lottery.
Pick 38: Isaiah Joe, G, Arkansas
To close out the draft, the Knicks add more shooting with Isaiah Joe out of Arkansas.
The 6’5” guard, while erratic at times, was a great shooter from all areas of the floor over his two seasons with the Razorbacks. He has a very smooth stroke and was effective finishing around the basket as well. He averaged 15.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.5 steals over his two collegiate seasons.
Joe is pretty raw and needs to develop a stronger shot selection and improved decision-making, but the talent and upside is there both offensively and defensively. He can end up being a valuable role player for the Knicks down the line if he’s able to tighten up some of the loose ends to his game.
The Knicks were one of the league’s worst shooting teams last season, so they need to add as many scorers as possible. These three draft picks provide exactly that with the potential for much more. This would be a very promising first draft class for Leon Rose, and the new front office, one that should have Knicks fans very excited and could go a long way in getting the team closer to basketball relevance once again.