With the New York Knicks amidst a nine-game winning streak, it’s easy to forget that they’ll have two picks in the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft.
One is their own, but the other is courtesy of the Dallas Mavericks and the Kristaps Porzingis trade.
New York could go a number of different ways this offseason, now winners in nine of their last ten games, and almost concretely headed for their first playoff appearance since 2012-2013.
But it’s likely most fans would rather see them stay the course and bring in two new fresh faces to training camp.
With the 21st Overall Pick…
In his latest piece for Bleacher Report, Jonathan Wasserman used Tankathon.com’s simulator to determine a fictional draft lottery order, and from there, he selected the most likely prospect for each of the 30 first-round picks.
When it came to the New York Knicks own first-round selection, currently slated for 21st overall, Wasserman went with Tre Mann, a score-first point guard out of Florida State University:
Mann always had the ball-handling skills and shiftiness to create, but he made a significant jump this year with his execution as a shooter and playmaker. He’s still more of a scoring point guard, but his pull-up game and passing flashes became pretty convincing as the season progressed.
This is an interesting pick, given the rise of this year’s rookie guard Immanuel Quickley.
As he’s largely viewed as more of a combo guard and not a true floor general, it’s possible Wasserman made this pick for New York with a Mann-Quickley bench backcourt in mind.
Mann finished his sophomore season averaging 16 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.4 steals per game.
With the 22nd Overall Pick…
When it came to the Dallas Mavericks’ first-round selection, currently slated for 22nd overall, Wasserman went with Brandon Boston Jr. for the Knicks, more of an upside selection from the University of Kentucky:
Between the Knicks’ Kentucky connections and a history of Wildcats’ performing better as pros, Boston figures to be in play for the Knicks with their second first-round pick. He’s still a threatening three-level shot-maker and smooth slasher with 6’7″ wing size.
This pick is less surprising, given the widely acknowledged number of former Kentucky players currently on New York’s roster: Immanuel Quickley, Julius Randle, Kevin Knox, and Nerlens Noel.
Boston isn’t necessarily viewed as a lock to go in the first round, coming off of one season in college where he averaged 11.5 points on a poor 35/30/78 shooting split.
But it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Knicks angle for someone they could send down to the G-League affiliate Westchester Knicks and have work with the development staff in their first year.
It seems worth noting that Wasserman has New York passing on all three of James Bouknight (23rd, Los Angeles Lakers), Ayo Dosunmu (24th, Houston Rockets), and Sharife Cooper (25th, Denver Nuggets).
And the two players taken before the Knicks got on the board in his simulation were Cameron Thomas (19th, Houston Rockets) and Jared Butler (20th, Atlanta Hawks).
For now, the New York Knicks will continue on with what has been a spectacularly surprising 2020-2021 campaign, with hopes of making noise throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.
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