NBA Draft Rumors: Knicks Considering Jarrett Culver Over R.J. Barrett As No. 3 Pick, Per ‘Sporting News’

Jarrett Culver of the Texas Tech Red Raiders celebrates during their 2019 NCAA Final Four game against Michigan State.
Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

In the aftermath of this month’s NBA Draft Lottery, most experts predicted that the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies would respectively take Duke forward Zion Williamson and Murray State point guard Ja Morant with the first two picks in next month’s draft. Williamson’s Blue Devils teammate, R.J. Barrett, has widely been projected as the New York Knicks’ selection as the third overall pick. However, the latest rumors suggest that the Knicks might be considering someone else for the No. 3 selection — Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver.

In a recent article, Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney highlighted Culver’s status as one of the top prospects in the 2019 NBA Draft by explaining how both the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers were expected by league executives to draft the star guard in the event they ended up with the No. 2 overall pick. As for the Knicks, Deveney added that the team will likely “weigh the option” of choosing Culver over Barrett at No. 3, which would give both the Los Angeles Lakers (fourth overall) and Cavaliers (fifth overall) a chance at drafting the Duke wingman.

Regarding the Hawks, who ended up with the No. 8 pick in the Draft Lottery, Deveney wrote that their chances of drafting Culver are quite slim unless they trade up. He further cited league sources, who believe that the Texas Tech standout will likely be picked no later than seventh overall by the Chicago Bulls.

Despite how Culver has intrigued teams with his 6-foot-10-inch wingspan and his “multi-faceted” skillset, as noted by ClutchPoints, the outlet opined that it might not be a good idea for the Knicks to draft him over Barrett, as he doesn’t have the same natural scoring ability or the same knack for creating his own shot. Furthermore, ClutchPoints stressed that Culver does not have the same level of marketability as Barrett does —an important factor for anyone being considered by a team that plays in one of the NBA’s largest markets.

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“The Knicks not only need an impact player to step in and produce from the jump, but they also need a player that might attract top free agents to the Big Apple,” ClutchPoints‘ Marty Fenn wrote on Sunday.

As shown on his Sports-Reference player page, Jarrett Culver averaged 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.5 steals and shot 46.1 percent from the field in his sophomore season with the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Although he shot just 30.4 percent from three-point range, NBC Sports Chicago wrote that Culver has the potential to become a good outside scorer in the professional ranks, underscoring his projection as a “perfect” two-way wing player who could excel on both ends of the floor.