The New York Knicks need a star to build around, and LaMelo Ball comes prepackaged with the star power and subsequent talent to move the needle. However, the lottery odds didn’t line up for the Knicks, and Ball will surely be gone by the time they select with the eighth pick.
Gavin Schall: I’m curious about your thoughts on … what the differing prices would be for the Timberwolves, Warriors, and even the Hornets because it’s possible that LaMelo falls to three because those teams have vastly different expectations for next season. It’s fascinating to see how the Knicks would interact with that. I think the main focus of any hypothetical trade has been something along the lines of sending Mitchell Robinson to the Warriors … but then you also have to throw in the eighth pick, and maybe the Dallas pick in 2021. Then the Knicks fan perspective on that is, like, do you even want to trade Mitchell Robinson for LaMelo Ball? This is the player that’s made us the happiest of anyone in a few seasons. I think a lot of Knicks fans see him as a future DPOY candidate, maybe a future All-Star. What are your overall thoughts on the Knicks potentially trading into the top three to go try and get LaMelo Ball?
Ricky O’Donnell: I think that, in a draft where everyone wants to trade down, what’s it going to cost to trade up? The Knicks, obviously, have two first-round picks, they also have No. 27. So if you want to package eight and 27, how far up could you move? Would a team like Charlotte take that at No. 3? It’s tough to say, I think, that Mitchell Robinson would be allowed to be given up. I think, hopefully, Tom Thibodeau can help Mitchell Robinson develop and play up to his potential.
So it’s a really interesting hypothetical for the Knicks. I think that LaMelo Ball would be an absolutely great fit there. You can look at the way the role of the point guard position has changed in recent years in the NBA, where this past season, I think LeBron and Luka were ranked 1-2 in the league in assists per game. Whereas before, you would classify both those guys as small forwards or power forwards, not traditional point guards. Melo is one of the unique prospects where he has the size of your big wing offensive initiator, but he has the natural vision of a point guard. So I think he’d absolutely be a great target for the Knicks if they want to go up and get him.
In terms of the package that would require to do it. I feel like the most important thing in this draft is just going to be flexibility. A lot of these teams probably want to trade down. So the question is, what’s it going to cost to trade up? Then if it’s too high, if the Knicks need to give up the Mavs pick and Mitchell Robinson and the eighth pick, I would think that’s quite a bit to move up to get LaMelo Ball, personally.