The 2021 NBA Draft will take place on July 29. With the draft coming up, The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for each NBA team. NBA squads will be analyzed, team needs will be addressed and potential targets will be discussed.
Today, the New York Knicks’ 2021 NBA Draft Profile will be presented.
The Knicks project to be a team of the future. Their stellar young core, including the likes of R.J. Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and Obi Toppin, are set to blossom in coming years. With this in mind, the Knicks likely want to stack more young pieces right now and develop them into stars. Indeed, while a blockbuster trade seems exciting, the truth is that championship teams almost always feature under-the-radar, home-grown talent from the draft.
The Knicks hold four picks this year—three of them solid. Trading up into the lottery is undoubtedly viable, and some targets in this profile will reflect this opportunity. Without further speculation, though, New York holds the following picks:
First Round: No. 19, No. 21
Second Round: No. 32, No. 58
Playmaking: The Knicks lack a long-term point guard as of yet. Quickley projects to be a scorer more than a passer—Frank Ntilikina much the same with added defense—and Derrick Rose is well into his thirties and hampered by past injuries.
High-Upside Sleepers: Teams get stuck between championship contention and mediocrity all to often in the NBA. A team’s ability to draft unheralded sleepers can be a deciding factor in success. From Manu Ginóbili, to Giannis Antetokounmpo, to Draymond Green, high-upside flyer selections can give massive advantages to teams who give them chances.
It’s clear the Knicks are one or two pieces short of true contention. And while out-of-the-gates stars like Cade Cunningham or Jalen Green may be unattainable for New York, this draft class seems to have bags full of high-upside talent for teams to take risks on.
Stability at Center: The offensively-limited Nerlens Noel and injury-prone Mitchell Robinson currently run most of the center minutes for the Knicks. This is nowhere near a stable, championship level center rotation—not yet, at least. Indeed, assuming Robinson is reasonably fit for the rest of his career (a stretch, in fairness), he could unquestionably develop into a starting-caliber center. Thus, a young, role-playing center to complement Mitch is another target to consider.
Pick No. 19: Josh Giddey, PG, Australia
Giddey, a 6’8″ maestro of a point guard, will most likely be gone by the end of the lottery. The Knicks could potentially trade up for Giddey, who could fall somewhere from around 10th to 15th. He certainly solves the point guard issues for New York, as well as being a relatively unknown flyer pick as discussed above. Certainly pay close attention to this lanky Australian in the years to come.
Pick No. 21: Davion Mitchell, PG, Baylor
Mitchell is another trade-up target for the Knicks. Assuming he’ll land in the mid- to late lottery, he sits right in the range of a 19th-and-32nd trade, or something roughly equivalent. Davion, a junior from Baylor, showed flashes of NBA potential as a one-guard, along with highly efficient shot-creating ability.
Pick No. 32: Sharife Cooper, PG, Auburn OR B.J. Boston, SG, Kentucky
Barring a great surprise, Cooper will be available in the late first or early second round—comfortably within the Knicks’ assortment of picks. He brings excellent athleticism, playmaking, and scoring ability at the point, and his uncharted potential similarly fits the risk-factor the Knicks should be willing to stake in this year’s draft.
Boston was near the top of most mock drafts at the beginning of the year; his underwhelming season at Kentucky undoubtedly played a role in his astronomical fall from the boards.
Something had to stick out about Boston, though: something, for him to project so highly. For this uncertain potential, the Knicks should look at the tall shooting guard as a high-risk, high-reward pickup in the late first or early second round. Perhaps—and it’s unlikely—perhaps he’ll even fall as far as 58th.
Pick No. 58: Filip Petrušev, C, Gonzaga/Serbia
Petrušev, a former Gonzaga Bulldog, elected not to return to the school this season, instead honing his skills in his native Serbia. This season, the 6’11” center was named Adriatic League MVP on averages of 23.6 points and 7.6 rebounds on 58% from the field and 42% from deep. With potential as a dangerous stretch big, Petrušev is a magnificent second-round option for anyone who is willing to take him. He’s a name the Knicks’ front office should be furiously scribbling in their notebooks.
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