The 2020 NBA Draft might not be until another four months from now, but the New York Knicks are reportedly planning ahead and trying to address their lack of offense, a new report claims.
On Sunday, Marc Berman of the New York Post noted that incoming Knicks president Leon Rose is “set up well” for this year’s draft, given how the team could have up to three selections in the top 35, including what would likely be a lottery pick. He added that, when it comes to the specific types of players the Knicks could be targeting, they might use their expected top-five selection on a scoring point guard, with the first-round pick they acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers in the recent Marcus Morris trade likely to be used on a shooting guard with three-point range.
Commenting on New York’s apparent plans for the 2020 draft, Berman wrote that all the point guards in the Knicks’ regular rotation — Elfrid Payton, Frank Ntilikina, and Dennis Smith Jr. — have difficulty sinking shots from long range. As shown on their Basketball-Reference page, none of these players are averaging double figures in scoring, while the team was producing just 104.8 points per game heading into the All-Star break — the third-worst figure in the entire league.
Regarding the particular draftees the Knicks could be targeting, a few players have seemingly stood out among the others, including 6-foot-5-inch point guard LaMelo Ball, who is currently playing professionally in Australia. There are a few concerns at this point, including the fact that New York officials have yet to fly to Australia to personally watch him play, as well as Ball’s own lack of three-point shooting. However, Berman stressed that Rose was previously expected to be the 18-year-old’s agent before he agreed to join the Knicks’ front office.
Separately, Bleacher Report‘s Jonathan Wasserman hinted that Ball, despite his ability to create offense for his teammates, might be better off being drafted by another team.
“New York has to start somewhere by drafting right and finding a legitimate star prospect to build around. It wouldn’t be surprising if Ball wanted to be that guy, but from a scouting perspective, his development would probably benefit from a different environment.”
Aside from Ball, Cole Anthony of the University of North Carolina was mentioned as another potential option for a high-scoring point guard. While the erstwhile Tar Heel standout has a strong connection to the Knicks — his father, Greg Anthony, suited up for New York in the 1990s — Berman wrote that he comes with his own share of concerns, namely the knee injury that interrupted his freshman campaign and the possibility that he may return to North Carolina for his sophomore year in the 2020-21 NCAA basketball season.