The Knicks might’ve struck gold with 2nd round ‘floor general’

Tyler Kolek, Knicks
Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Interestingly, the Knicks utilized their first-round pick on 18-year-old French guard Pacome Dadiet, who will likely spend most of his time developing without making a true impact on the team this upcoming season. In fact, their second-round pick has a better chance of playing and making an impact behind Jalen Brunson next year.

Challenges Behind the Key Player

The Knicks lacked a secondary ball handler and creative playmaker behind Brunson last season, who had a tremendous campaign. Brunson shot .479 from the field, including .401 from three-point range, averaging 28.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 6.7 assists. He set career highs in multiple categories and will be looking to run things back during the 2024–25 season when the Knicks have championship aspirations.

May 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) brings the ball up court against the Indiana Pacers during the third quarter of game seven of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Backup Plan: Shift in Strategy

However, they tried to force Miles McBride as the reserve point guard behind Brunson, but that was a failed experiment. McBride excelled in other ways, notably with his shooting and defensive prowess. The Knicks’ front office felt it necessary to go out and secure a quality backup, leading them to Tyler Kolek out of Marquette, a player they had a first-round grade on.

Tyler Kolek: A Promising Addition to the Knicks

Kolek is a former All-Big East Player of the Year and star point guard for Marquette. This past season, he played 31 games, averaging 33 minutes, 15.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, and an impressive 7.7 assists. Most importantly, he shot .496 from the field and .388 from three-point range, suggesting he has plenty of shooting qualities but was also one of the best players in the draft regarding court vision.

Spotlight on Playmaking Skills

“At 6-foot-3, Kolek is a polished floor general who’s fantastic at picking apart defenses via pick-and-rolls. He looks confident shooting from the top of the key when defenders go under screens, but he’s better as a catch-and-shoot option than a player hunting his jumper.”

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament South Regional-NC State vs Marquette
Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Future Prospects: Kolek’s Role with the Knicks

If Kolek continues to develop his three-point game and defensive nature, he could end up being a blend of Austin Reeves and TJ McConnell, as suggested by

“Kolek is a couple inches shorter than Luke Kennard and Austin Reaves but a couple inches taller than T.J. McConnell. The Marquette product’s game is a blend of all three NBA vets…”

Coming off the bench, he can efficiently run a second unit and be the initiator on offense, allowing his teammates to spread the floor and create open looks. Given his size, he needs to be an elite three-point shooter to crack the starting lineup, but the Knicks don’t need to rush him into any prominent role, simply earning time behind Brunson as the secondary point guard, but that will be an important task, especially if the Knicks’ star point guard is forced to miss any time.

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