Who should the New York Knicks pick in the NBA Draft lottery?
The New York Knicks’ season is now officially over since they weren’t one of the 22 teams invited to resume the season in Walt Disney World next month. While the franchise needs to find a new head coach, the Knicks also need to figure out what to do with their latest lottery pick in October’s draft.
The lottery hasn’t been kind to the Knicks in the past, particularly last season when they finished with the NBA’s worst record but still fell to the third pick. Landing R.J. Barrett wasn’t a bad consolation prize since he has the potential to be a very good player but the Knicks missed out on potential franchise players like Zion Williamson and Ja Morant.
The Knicks are currently sitting with the sixth-best odds of winning the top-overall pick in the Aug. 25 lottery, which features a really weak crop of players. The chances of the Knicks finding a franchise-changing star are slim, but they can still land a player who can be a part of the core for the future.
The most prominent area the Knicks should look to address is the point guard position, which has been a wasteland for years. The Knicks currently have Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr and Elfrid Payton as options at the point, which is a problem in the guard-driven NBA.
Ntilikina has use as a defensive-minded backup but he doesn’t score enough to warrant a starting spot. Payton is a journeyman while Smith has regressed, which should incentivize the Knicks to look for their future at the point.
The most intriguing point guard option has to be LaMelo Ball, the younger brother of Pelicans’ point guard Lonzo Ball. At 6-foot-8, Ball already has the size to be a difference-maker at the point who comes in with NBA-ready passing skills.
There is a good chance the Knicks won’t be picking high enough to land Ball, who is currently considered to be the top point guard in this year’s class. There are a few good fallback options at the point, including Cole Anthony, Tyrese Halliburton, Killian Hayes, and Kira Lewis.
Good players can find their way to the Knicks at No. 6 or 7, but the key to the whole situation remains talent identification and development. Team president Leon Rose’s new front office looks good on paper, which should help the identification part, making the choice of a new coach critical for this pick.
By all accounts, Tom Thibodeau is the favorite for the Knicks’ job, which makes sense if they believe they can win soon. A good alternative would be former Nets’ head coach Kenny Atkinson, who did a good job developing Brooklyn’s young core into a roster capable of attracting marquee free agents like Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.