The New York Knicks finally have their coach in Jeff Hornacek and will now turn their attention towards the 2016 draft. The Knicks do not currently have a 2016 draft pick due to previous trades; however, if the team has their way, that will change.
Adam Zagoria of SportsNet New York reported that the Knicks are seeking either a late-first round choice or an early second round selection while the New York Post believes that the Knicks will attempt to obtain at least one, if not two, second round selections on draft day.
New York would have received the No. 9 draft pick in this year’s draft after finishing with the seventh-worst record this season at 32-50. But the Knicks traded that pick to Toronto in exchange for Andrea Bargnani in July 2013. New York also sent Steve Novak, Marcus Camby and two future second round selections to Toronto as part of the deal. The Knicks as part of their trade with Denver, for Carmelo Anthony in 2011, gave the Nuggets the right to swap picks with them — hence, the reason the Raptors are selecting ninth and the Nuggets picking seventh.
New York traded its second-round pick to Portland in 2o12 for Raymond Felton and Kurt Thomas. But Houston will actually make the selection as the Rockets received the draft choice via the Sacramento Kings and Trail Blazers.
New York is looking to move into the upcoming draft in order to add depth as the Knicks currently only have six players with guaranteed contracts. The Knicks have a major hole at point guard and depth issues on the wing.
Looking to fix those two issues, New York reportedly interviewed several players that would fit those needs at the draft combine. Some of the players the Knicks interviewed includes Syracuse guards Malachi Richardson and Mike Gbinije, Seton Hall point guard Isaiah Whitehead, Villanova small forward Josh Hart, Maryland point guard Melo Trimble, and Florida forward Dorian Finney-Smith. The Knicks also talked with Kansas duo Chieck Diallo and Wayne Selden.
Richardson has soared up ESPN Chad Ford’s Big Board recently, currently sitting at No. 13. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard is very athletic and his wingspan measured out at 7-foot at the NBA combine. He was also impressive during the Orange’s run in the NCAA Tournament against Virginia and North Carolina, tallying 40 points and 12 rebounds while making 13-of-30 shots from the field including 5-of-12 from beyond the arc. Richardson reached double-figures 30 times last year but was wildly inconsistent in his shooting, making 36.9 percent from the floor though he did make 35.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Gbinije’s draft stock is also soaring after his combine performance. The 6-foot-7 guard is extremely versatile as he can play three positions — point guard, shooting guard, and small forward. He is an excellent passer and a good perimeter shooter. Gbinije is seen as a late second round choice due to his physical shortcomings — he is ranked No. 49 by Ford, 41 by NBADraft and No.55 by Draft Express.
Hart and Whitehead both need to go back to school and there is a pretty good chance both will do so. Whitehead would likely be a late second round selection while Hart could go undrafted, if he decides to stay in the draft.
Trimble is in the same boat as Hart and Whitehead with the exception that he did not have a great year last season. Trimble’s point production dropped from 16.2 as a freshman-to-14.8 this past season and he only shot 41.0 percent from the field and 31.4 percent from beyond the arc as a sophomore. He recently worked out for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Finney-Smith is long and athletic as well as versatile. The 6-foot-8 small forward can get to the rim but does not have NBA three-point range. He has improved in each of his four years in college basketball, averaging 14.7 points and 8.3 rebounds last season.
Selden is another wing-type player. The 6-foot-6, 232-pounder has an NBA ready body and can get to the free throw line. He really didn’t put up impressive stats last season, averaging 13.8 points along with 3.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Selden did shoot 47.4 percent from the field and 39.2 percent from beyond the arc.
The Knicks have a history of buying second round picks. Last year, they purchased center Willy Hernangomez, who was taken with the No. 35 overall selection, from the Philadelphia 76ers. In 2014, the Knicks acquired second round choice Louis Labeyerie from the Indiana Pacers. Hernangomez may join the team next season, as previously reported by Inquisitr.
New York has six potential unrestricted free agents this summer and as much as $36 million of cap space available according to Basketball Insiders. Kevin Seraphin, Lance Thomas, Lou Amundson, and Sasha Vujacic will be unrestricted free agents on July 1. Arron Afflalo ($8.0 million) and Derrick Williams ($4.59 million) hold player options. Tony Wroten has a non-guaranteed contract ($1.050 million) and Cleanthony Early as well as Langston Galloway could become restricted free agents.
[Photo by Jeff Roberson/Associated Press]