A collection of groans, cries, and screams were heard from New York when Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum announced that the Knicks will pick third in the upcoming draft. The Knicks sat in the top-four with the Lakers, Grizzlies, and Pelicans as the team with the best odds by far. In typical Knicks’ fashion, their number was called third.
The glass half full fans are looking at this as a chance to land one of the big three. With Zion Williamson and Ja Morant most likely going one and two, this leaves RJ Barrett for the Knicks.
Barrett entered Duke as the number one player coming out of high school. Along with Williamson, they set the world on fire. Barrett averaged 22.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game as a freshman. He helped Duke make it to the Elite Eight before getting bounced by a more experienced Michigan State team.
It seems to be pre-determined by most that Barrett will be the third pick in this draft. These expectations might be a little premature. The Knicks met with Barrett the day after the lottery was announced. This does not mean that they are taking him.
The Knicks can surprise everyone and go in a very different direction.
3. Trade the Pick
There are three things that are certain. They are that the Pelicans have the first pick in the draft, they will be selecting Williamson, and Barrett and Williamson are best friends.
The relationship between the two sensational Blue Devils is undeniable. It is unknown if the Pelicans want to trade Anthony Davis, however, there is a huge opportunity for the Pelicans to reunite Williamson and Barrett.
It is no secret that the Knicks are interested in Davis. They believe that they will sign Kevin Durant and adding Davis would make for chaos. The Knicks were prepared to go full force after Davis if they landed the top pick in the draft. Unfortunately for New York, they did not.
This might still work in their favor if they play the relationship card. The Knicks would have to put together a stronger package because it is the third pick and not the first.
For the Pelicans, the idea of pairing the former Blue Devils should excite them.
2. Poor Shooting Ability
The Knicks seem to have a plan. When they traded Kristaps Porzingis, it was made clear that they have big things on their mind. New York is eyeing Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Say the Knicks land those two all-stars, it would be time to look at how the team would look. Durant is a marvel who can handle the ball and score from anywhere on the floor. Irving is a scoring point guard who keeps the ball on a string at all times. The ideal players to add around these two are shooters.
Barrett was many things for Duke, however he was not efficient. He shot just 30.8% from three-point range in his freshman campaign. The 19-year old has plenty of time to develop a jump shot.
Is this enough of a reason for the Knicks to pass on him at three? Probably not.
But it is something to keep in mind.
1. Position Needs
For those who fell asleep during the Knicks 17-win season, one of their top rookies plays the same position as Barrett.
Kevin Knox was drafted with the Knicks’ first pick in 2018. He averaged 12.8 points this season.
Is there room for both on the roster? With Durant on the horizon, the Knicks need a point guard.
There is no guarantee that Irving will be coming. Dennis Smith Jr. is not a franchise leading point guard. Darius Garland will be available when the Knicks pick at three. Garland is a point guard who can handle the ball and shoot from anywhere on the floor.
This would be a pick that comes with a lot of criticism, but that is nothing new in the Big Apple.