Trae Young may not last until the Knicks pick at No. 9, but the team is certainly intrigued by the guard’s ability to light up the scoreboard.
David Fizdale and the New York Knicks would love to find a star with the No. 9 selection in the 2018 NBA Draft. It’s very possible the team believes Oklahoma guard Trae Young could develop into that sort of player. The team is certainly doing their due diligence on the electric lead guard.
Team president Steve Mills told the New York press that “Young has a chance to be a special player.” Specifically, Knicks officials are “intrigued” by how Young was able to be such a prolific scorer in college despite being surrounded with relatively mediocre talent.
The same could apply to the Knicks current roster. They aren’t blessed with a plethora of high level pieces at the moment. Outside of Kristaps Porzingis, it’s unclear whether or not the Knicks have an above average starter on their roster. The addition of Young to the team could alleviate a lot of scoring pressure on everyone else in the starting five.
On the other hand, Young projects to be a below-average perimeter defender at the next level. In some ways, it’s unfair to evaluate him based on his college tape on that end of the floor. Oklahoma clearly depended on him to shoulder almost their entire offensive load. He wasn’t held accountable on defense as a result.
Even if you give his college tape the benefit of the doubt, it’s obvious he lacks the physical characteristics to really be a quality defender. His combine results removed any doubt about his slight stature and below-average wingspan. The chances of him becoming anything other than a liability on the defensive end of the floor are slim at best.
The team drafting him will be betting on the fact that his offensive talent will overshadow his defensive deficiencies. That may or may not be a gamble the Knicks are willing to take.
If they stand pat at the No. 9 selection, they may not get a chance to roll the dice on Young. Most projections have him going off the board somewhere just before that spot in the draft. Young may intrigue the Knicks front office, but it may require them to make a draft day trade to select him.