The New York Knicks looked like they were finally heading in the right direction after finishing fourth in the Eastern Conference last season.

Despite their team being eliminated by the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs, Knicks fans remained optimistic heading into 2021-22 because they were able to retain their core while adding some instrumental pieces over the summer. However, New York has struggled mightily to live up to expectations this season, dropping all the way to 12th in the Eastern Conference, and must focus on adding new faces in the 2022 NBA Draft.

RJ Barrett was selected third in the draft two seasons ago, and his rapid development of late has been a rare bright spot for the Knicks. Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes and Mitchell Robinson are four other recent draftees, but haven’t established themselves as foundational building blocks in New York.

Here are three players Knicks fans should keep their eye on as the 2022 draft draws closer and closer.

3 early 2022 NBA draft targets Knicks must be watching

Jaden Ivey

New York has been known to miss the chance to select talented guards in the draft, like Stephen Curry and Tyrese Haliburton, but can’t pass up the opportunity to take Ivey if he’s available on June 23rd.

The Purdue guard’s spectacular athleticism and razzle-dazzle would fit tremendously at Madison Square Garden, evoking a style of play similar to Ja Morant’s.  His shooting was initially a question mark, but Ivey has since developed a reliable long-range jumper, connecting on over 40% of his threes for the Boilermakers.

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The Knicks’ backcourt has been a mess this season, but adding a potential two-way impact player like Ivey would answer some of their problems on the perimeter at the very least.

Jalen Duren

After James Wiseman was picked No. 2 overall in the 2020 draft, Memphis coach Penny Hardaway big man projected to go in the lottery this season. Duren has an NBA frame already, combining that natural strength with rare explosiveness around the rim and timing as a shot-blocker. Robinson and Nerlens Noel have not been consistent contributors for coach Tom Thibodeau, but trying it out with Duren could be a brilliant idea.

His offensive skill set is still very raw, but he just needs to possess a winning and relentless mentality similar to how Thibodeau utilized Joakim Noah during his Chicago Bulls tenure. Chet Holmgren no doubt has the highest ceiling among center prospects in this class, but Duren’s isn’t too far behind.

Johnny Davis

A shooting guard who has been gradually increasing his stock as the season progresses, Davis would be a nice complement to Barrett on the wing. Shooting could be an issue for Davis, but his ability to rack up buckets at a high rate would make him a worthy choice for the Knicks in the mid-lottery regardless.

Davis has that look and eagerness to consistently attack the rim through his quick first step and high-functioning all-around athleticism. He’s an extremely creative ball handler, too, making it easy for Davis to crease the paint and draw extra defenders. Barrett is the only scorer regularly bending defenses for New York right now, but having Davis on the roster would give the Knicks another much-needed source of offense.