The NBA Draft is under a month away, which means NBA Draftmas is back. Each day, The Game Haus will review a team’s past season, their team needs and targets. We will continue with the team that has the No. 9 overall pick, the New York Knicks.
The Knicks ended their season in the lottery with a record of 29-53. With Kristaps Porzingis at odds with the management of the team, his distant future remains uncertain. The Knicks will look to bring in two new players in this first draft class under new coach David Fizdale, barring any trades of course.
Hopefully the Knicks will be able to improve more in free agency as well. However, with Joakim Noah still on the payroll, the Knicks will be handcuffed in free agency. At the present moment, the draft is the most crucial part of the offseason for the Knicks.
Picks and Needs
First round: No. 9
Second round: No. 37
The Knicks have glaring needs across the 12-man roster. Kyle O’Quinn and Enes Kanter have yet to pick up their player-options, so the frontcourt may need to be an area of need.
Coach David Fizdale will have to decide whether or not he wants to stick with Frank Ntilikina as the point guard for the future, or go for a guard at No. 9. The Knicks have a crowded backcourt at the moment. Ntilikina is competing for minutes with Trey Burke, Emmanuel Mudiay, Tim Hardaway Jr., Ron Baker and Courtney Lee.
However, the position that may require the most attention is the small forward position. The Knicks have had to deploy Michael Beasley as their 3-man, and while talented in the past, he does not appear to be in the future of any contending team. Regardless, James Dolan needs to get Kristaps Porzingis help and fast before the Latvian decides he does not want to play in Madison Square Garden his whole career.
Targets and Thoughts
Pick No. 9: Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova
If the Knicks are looking to hit the reset button on the backcourt, they may have to trade up if they want a shot at taking Trey Young or Collin Sexton. However, since the forward position is lacking, it would be smarter for the Knicks to address that position and give Ntilikina more time to develop as the future point guard.
The Knicks brass should be looking to get Mikal Bridges out of Villanova at No. 9. With a more developed body than most one-and-done players, Bridges could come in and play the small forward position better than most rookies. Once his body completely develops, he will be able to guard the 3 and maybe even the 4 position on the court, which has proven valuable in today’s NBA.
He has been referred to as a gym rat by scouts due to his work ethic. Bridges was also coached by Jay Wright, who is arguably the best coach in the college game. Wright must be doing something right to win two titles in the last three years.
Pick No. 37: Moritz Wagner, PF, Michigan
Much of the big names will more than likely be off the board in the second round. Look for the Knicks to take a chance on a player that could develop into a serviceable piece at the very least.
A bevy of names in the college game could however still be on the board at No. 37. Moritz Wagner could be one of those players.
Wagner has a fluid offensive game and can give Porzingis a breather as a rotation player. He still has a lot of work to do defensively, but his shot can really stretch a defense offensively. He also can be effective inside after improving his game in the paint last season.
The Knicks can fill in the holes in their frontcourt in this draft. Mikal Bridges would be a solid pickup at No. 9. He is more developed than some of his younger peers. His work ethic and defensive versatility will help him develop into a solid starter.
Moritz Wagner also fills a need in the frontcourt. Although his defensive game needs work, his offensive game is good enough for him to stick around any team as a stretch-4 off the bench.
Be sure to tune in tomorrow to read the Philadelphia 76ers NBA Draft profile!
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