Knicks Rumors: Pacers potential trade partner at 13, Davion Mitchell and Chris Duarte are primary targets

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In less than 24 hours, the New York Knicks will know the future of their draft selections. With the 19, 21, and 32nd overall picks in the first round, reports have heavily indicated the front office is trying to move up. They haven’t been able to find any suitors.

After gauging Golden State’s interest in moving back to 19 from the 14th overall pack, the Knicks have now shifted their attention to the Indiana Pacers at 13.

According to Marc Berman of the NY Post, the Knicks have contacted the Pacers at 13 to gauge interest in a trade back:

According to NBA sources, the Knicks have talked not just to Golden State about moving up, but also to the Pacers, who have the 13th pick. The Knicks are trying to package their two first-round picks but may also have to add more draft capital (they have a total of 20 picks through 2026).

President Leon Rose and the executives have two players in mind, Davion Mitchell out of Baylor and Chris Duarte out of Oregon.

Mitchell is a combo guard who offers elite defense right out of the gate. Having won an NCAA Championship and experienced a positive increase in offensive production this past season, averaging 14.0 points and 5.5 assists, Mitchell would fit the bill perfectly as a developmental point guard behind a veteran.

Mitchell connected on 51% of his shots from the field and 44% from range over 4.7 attempts per game. He is a refined defensive player, something that Thibodeau values significantly in young talent. However, he also contains the ability to score with aggression and shoot adequately.

Duarte is a bit different, offering his services as a shooting guard. He is an ideal 3-and-D player, someone who can replace Reggie Bullock, who is preparing to leave in free agency. Duarte averaged 17.1 points and shot 53% from the field with Oregon this past season. His most impressive statistic, though, was his 42% success rate from three, averaging 5.5 attempts per game.

With these two names in mind, the Knicks are desperately trying to find a trade partner, and it will likely boil down to the final moments. Alternative clubs know that New York is desperate, as they simply can’t host four rookies. They are likely trying to extract as much value as possible.

Knicks Off-season Mock 1.0: Overhauling the point guard position with long-term talent

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The New York Knicks front office needs to have one thought in mind regarding the point guard position, a long-term solution. Stop-gap players simply don’t offer the same value as building blocks that play into a strategy fit for a franchise.

Over the past few seasons, the Knicks have relied on one year contract to fill voids in the roster, but it is time they build with young talent on long-term deals made through free agency and not lavish trades. Dealing players and draft selections have bit the Knicks in the butt in the past, and with plenty of money to allocate this off-season and youth players preparing to take a step forward, they have the catalysts to spur another postseason run in 2021.

The Knicks can solve the point guard position with two long-term solutions:

In this scenario, President Leon Rose aims for consistency and chemistry over a longer period of time. While veteran Derrick Rose could be a solution in that category, it is unlikely he signs a contract worth more than two years, which could pose a problem for New York, who wants a long-term solution and a player they can build around for the future.

Sign Lonzo Ball in free agency:

The first step in this idea is signing Lonzo Ball, who is only 23 years old and had the best year of his career in 2020. Averaging nearly 15 points, he also posted 5.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds and shot 41% from the field. Over 8.3 times per game from range, he hit on 38%, showcasing gradual growth in the category ever since his inception into the NBA during the 2017-18 season.

While some may not favor signing Ball, he is an adequate defender with plenty of untapped potential that Tom Thibodeau could exercise. Increasing his shooting efficiency and utilizing his phenomenal facilitator vision, he might be a perfect player to pair with Julius Randle on a max contract. He could feed him the ball efficiently and also hoist affective shots up from downtown.

The Knicks can’t only rely on Lonzo, though, as he played 31.8 minutes per game last season and appeared in 55 games, so they will need a solid reserve to help mitigate fatigue.

Draft Davion Mitchell:

The second piece of the puzzle is drafting Davion Mitchell, which would require the Knicks to pair their first-round selections together and move up in the draft. Mitchell averaged 14 points this past season, 5.5 assists, and shot 51% from the field. In addition, he was a 45% three-point shooter, over 4.7 attempts per game.

The development Mitchell showed with his point production last year proved that he is worth taking a flyer on an early first round. The most attractive part of Davion‘s game is his defensive prowess, featuring a relentless motor and fantastic frame. As a solid pick-and-roll defender, his high intensity and fundamentals stand out frequently. He would be an instant impact player on defense for the Knicks, which fits Thib’s bill to perfection.

Pairing an elite defender straight out of college with Ball would allow the Baylor product to refine his offensive game in short spurts, which would be beneficial long-term. This will completely overhaul a weak point in the roster, injecting an established player and a high upside rookie without overwhelming the roster with inexperience.

What do you think of this idea, signing ball and drafting Mitchell? Comment below!

Knicks could look to pair high-upside draft pick with Derrick Rose at point guard

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There are not many point guards in the upcoming NBA draft that are considered franchise-caliber players. However, the New York Knicks might do whatever it takes to land Davion Mitchell out of Baylor in just a few months.

Mitchell, who has a star-studded resume, including a National Championship win over the undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs, would bring essential experience in big moments to New York, a place where the shivering bones of MSG rattle even bonafide NBA stars.

With the Knicks sitting pretty at 19 and 21 in the first round of the draft, they may pair the selections together and move up. Mock drafts will have Mitchell going anywhere from the 5-10 range, and then Knicks could part ways with assets to ensure they land a player of his caliber. Not only is he an offensive producer, but he is one of the best defensive players in this draft and would be an instant impact player for a Tom Thibodeau-lead team.

Last season, Mitchell averaged 14.0 points, 5.5 assists, and shot .511 from the field. He also connected on .447 of his shots from three, averaging 4.7 attempts per game.

Before his most recent campaign, Mitchell wasn’t seen as an elite scorer, but he proved that his shooting progresses enough to be valued as a high-profile prospect.

What does Davion offer as a defender?

Some of the factors that make him a defensive maestro are a relentless motor, adequate frame at 205-pounds, and a great pick and roll defender. His physicality stands out on the floor, making contact and not drawing too many fouls. He is an instant lockdown defender, which offers significant value as a rookie in the NBA, especially under Thibodeau. He wouldn’t require much development in that category, offering Thibs a plug-and-play option without hesitation.

If Mitchell could develop into an elite perimeter defender, all that is left is to develop his shooting further and ability to run the offense efficiently. One of his athletic strengths is his speed; he is considered one of the fastest guards in the draft.

A weakness worth considering is his free-throw shooting, as he connected on 65.2% last year with Baylor, an inefficient number that will need to increase at the next level. Of course, many shooters have struggled in that category at the collegiate level and become adequate shooters from the line.

Ultimately, if the Knicks see enough offensive potential in Mitchell, they can guarantee him as a solid defender right off the bat, which should be enough to garner significant attention from the front office.

The Knicks could bring back Rose and pair him with Mitchell:

That leads me to my next point, the retention of Derrick Rose. After acquiring Rose from the Detroit Pistons midseason, the veteran point guard averaged nearly 15 points, 4.2 assists, and shot a career-high .411 from range. He was one of the only reasons the Knicks pushed on to a postseason appearance and remained competitive at times against Atlanta Hawks.

At 32 years old, Rose is looking for a new deal, and pairing him with a young point guard he can work with might be a best-case scenario rather than overspending in free agency for an established player.

Of course, it would represent a risk since options like Chris Paul, and more will likely be available on the market. However, if the Knicks retained Rose on a two-year, $25 million deal (or similar), they would have plenty of money left over to sign complementary pieces and add a young PG like Mitchell in the draft.

The idea of developing Mitchell behind Rose could be a perfect combination. Expecting the soon-to-be 33-year-old PG to play 30+ minutes per game on an everyday basis is overly optimistic, so having a strong defensive point guard behind him could pay off in dividends (but more potential, thank Frank Ntilikina). Rose could help him develop as a shooter and improve his court vision, all the while contributing heavily toward a hopeful playoff appearance next season.

What do you think of this idea? Comment below!

New York Knicks: 3 point guards to target in the NBA Draft

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Despite the fact the New York Knicks have $50+ million in available funds this off-season, they should still be targeting a point guard in the 2021 NBA draft. With the Detroit Pistons winning the lottery, the Knicks looked on from afar, having made the postseason, and finally took a step forward in their progression.

The organization is no longer a pushover, thanks to head coach Tom Thibodeau and the rise of Julius Randle. Most believe New York will be an attractive landing spot for star players this off-season, so the Knicks can put their salary space to good use.

However, signing a point guard shouldn’t deter them from drafting one as well, as they can easily utilize multiple guards in the starting lineup; the departure of Derrick Rose and Elfrid Payton could also open up a slot at the position. The Knicks will have their eyes set on a variety of different PGs in the draft, so let’s take a look at three who could offer long-term solutions.

Three point guards the Knicks could target in the 2021 NBA Draft:

1.) Davion Mitchell

Mitchell is currently projected to go in the top 10, but the Knicks have two first-round selections, number 19 and 21, which they can pair together and move up to possibly land the Baylor stand out. As one of the best defenders in the draft, he fits the bill perfectly for Thibodeau and his aggressive defensive mentality.

According to ESPN:

Naismith and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Arguably the best on-ball defender in the draft. Strong frame. Sturdy lower body. Lightning-quick feet. Does a tremendous job of taking on-ball charges. Great anticipation. Fights over the top of screens. Battles on switches. Plays much bigger than his measurements suggest. Elite defender from day one in the NBA.

Mitchell is a fantastic overall prospect, offering elite defense on day one and solid offensive production. Last season, Mitchell averaged 14 points, 5.5 assists, and shot .511 from the field over 33 minutes played on average .

2.) Jared Butler

An alternative if the Knicks miss out on Mitchell would be Jared Butler, his teammate. The 6’3″, 195-pound guard averaged 16.7 points, 4.8 assists, and shot .471 from the field last year. He also connected on .416 of his shots from three, attempting 6.2 per game. Butler is not a physically imposing guard, hosting average size, but he is an aggressive player who puts forth the effort to make up for his lack of frame.

If the Knicks sit still and wait for their selections, there’s a good chance Butler will be available, and as a First-Team All-American who won the National Championship last year, he represents a quality player. In addition, he won’t be 21 until August, so he offers a bit more youth and developmental flexibility.

3.) Tre Mann

Another option that could be hovering in the 20 to 25 range is Tre Mann out of Florida. At 6’5″ and 190 pounds, Mann is ranked as the fourth-best point guard in this class, according to ESPN. As a fantastic handler of the ball and containing superior athleticism, he offers solid offense in the paint, driving to the basket. He shot over 40% from beyond the arc and ranked in the 90th percentile on pull-ups last season. He is a smooth scorer with room to grow but doesn’t have the mean defensive mentality Thibs prefers.

Nonetheless, Mann is a scoring point guard with potential as a defender, and that’s simply what the Knicks need now at the position. Mann will be a solid alternative for New York, who they wouldn’t have to trade up to land, allowing them to allocate their two first-round picks on different players/positions.

If you had a choice, who would you take in the draft? Comment below!