Can Leon Rose turn New York Knicks pick to ‘Lucky 8’?

New York Knicks, Leon Rose

There was no beginner’s luck for New York Knicks team president Leon Rose.

Not even a lucky bracelet with the inscription “We Are One” from their cancer-stricken super fan Antonio Sellers could help Rose break the team’s Draft Lottery curse Thursday night.

Armed with the sixth-best chance to win the Lottery, the Knicks struck out anew and even fell two spots down. They settled with the eight pick, extending their long streak of not moving up in the NBA Draft to 17.

Minnesota grabbed the chance to select at No. 1 with Golden State, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta, and Detroit to pick ahead of New York.

With a Draft Class relatively weaker than the previous years and with the absence of personal workouts due to the Covid-19 outbreak, it’s going to be a tricky selection process.

This early, the Timberwolves and the Warriors are hinting that they are not closing their doors on trading their picks.

“We have an open mind as we go through all of this,” Minnesota team president Gersson Rosas per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. “We want to do what’s best for this organization. And it means being thorough, being diligent and looking at every option. Draft, trade, free agency, whatever the case may be.”

The Warriors, meanwhile, don’t have any idea yet what to do or what can they get in return for their second pick.

“We don’t really know anything at this point…I have no idea what the value is for that pick… We don’t entirely control the draft but all we have to like is two guys to be happy,” Warriors GM Bob Myers per 97.5 The Game.

This gives the Knicks a chance to move up for LaMelo Ball, the top point guard in their Draft Board. But everything will still depend if they can come up with the package that these teams in win-now mode would be looking for.

There’s also a scenario where they can attach the eight pick in a package for larger trade to get a disgruntled star or a solid veteran that can move the needle. 

Rose has been prudent and calculating with his recent front office moves and coaching hires. It is expected that he will do the same with his first Draft.

Even if they stand pat, they still can get a point guard at eight pick. With Ball and top international prospect Killian Hayes likely to be picked early, the Knicks can settle with the likes of Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton, Duke standout, and ex-Knick Greg Anthony’s son Cole Anthony or Kentucky’s Tyrese Maxey.

They can also opt for the next best available talent regardless of position.

Rose will have multiple options, and this is where his assistant GM and lead college scout Walter Perrin’s intel becomes valuable. Perhaps Perrin can find another hidden gem in the mold of a Gordon Hayward (2010 9th pick) or a Donovan Mitchell (2017 13th pick) from the Draft.

Rose may have run out of luck in the Lottery, but the lawyer-agent turned basketball executive knows how to grind and hustle to get what he wants.

New York Knicks conduct video interview with Killian Hayes

New York Knicks, Killian Hayes

According to Killian Hayes’ agent, Yann Balikouzou, the point guard had a video interview with the New York Knicks.

Ian Begley of SNY notes that Hayes has talked with “dozens” of teams, including ones outside the NBA lottery, and that he doesn’t plan to meet with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have the second-best odds to win the lottery.

Balikouzou said on the Envergure podcast last month that Hayes had talked to dozens of teams. Some of those teams did not have a lottery pick, which is an indication that teams are at least considering trading up in the draft for a player like Hayes.

While Hayes interviewed with the Knicks, Balikouzou said his client hasn’t spoken to every lottery team. Balikouzou said Hayes would likely speak with Minnesota and Golden State but didn’t plan to do an interview with Cleveland.

“It’s not a secret, they probably won’t draft a guard,” Balikouzou, of ISE, said in the interview, which was conducted in French and translated. “….The chances they’d draft a guard are really thin.”

Hayes played for the Ratiopharm Ulm in the EuroCup last season. He averaged 12.8 points, 6.2 assists, and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 39.0 percent from beyond the arc. The two seasons prior Hayes played for Cholet in the LNB Pro A.

The Knicks have the sixth-best odds to win the lottery. They also have the Los Angeles Clippers’ first-round draft selection, which came in a midseason trade that sent Marcus Morris to the West Coast, and their own second-round selection (38).

New York currently has point guards Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr. entering the final seasons of their rookie deals, and they have a team option on Elfrid Payton for the 2020-21 NBA season ($8 million).

Hayes is one of many guards who have been linked to the Knicks for this year’s NBA Draft. Others include LaMelo Ball, Cole Anthony, and R.J. Hampton.

Killian Hayes could be New York Knicks’ point guard of the future

The New York Knicks have their eyes on the 2020 NBA draft. While the draft order is yet to be determined, the Knicks will be picking in the lottery and have a shot at some of the top prospects. One player they should target is French point guard Killian Hayes.

Hayes is becoming the draft’s worst kept secret. Hayes is was born in America but played in France’s basketball academies growing up. He currently plays for Ratiopharm ULM in the Bundesliga, the top basketball league in Germany.

The 18-year-old has mostly flown under the radar but has recently been making waves among scouts. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer recently released his 2020 NBA draft guide, and Hayes was the number one prospect. The top three prospects have typically consisted of LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, and James Wiseman. Now it looks as though Hayes is in the mix.

Elite Passer. Elite Scorer.

Hayes has everything you want in a modern point guard. From a physical standpoint, he’s got great size at 6’5 tall and a 6’9 wingspan. More importantly, Hayes is a talented scorer and phenomenal passer who’s game seems to improve every month.

Hayes shooting has been inconsistent. However, he’s got great form and keeps improving his numbers. In 10 games in Eurocup, before play was suspended, Hayes was shooting 39% from 3 and 90% from the free-throw line. Hayes’ impressive handles allow him to create space and score off of the dribble. He’s starting to put it together.

Killian Hayes is already advanced as a playmaker. His processing is quite advanced for his age, and his ability to find open shooters pops off the screen. Hayes is already an advanced pick and roll ball handler with a good understanding of pro basketball spacing.

What really stands out watching his film is his speed. Hayes’ quickness and burst are clearly a step above some of the other guards projected as lottery picks.

Killian Hayes still has kinks to work out. He’s incredibly left hand dominant and needs to improve his defense. However, his combination of quickness, scoring, and passing make him one of the most captivating prospects in the entire draft. An ascending player, Killian Hayes is exactly what the New York Knicks want in a franchise point guard.