New York Knicks general manager Scott Perry plans to select the best player available at the 2018 NBA Draft. Is that the right approach?
New York Knicks general manager Scott Perry has proclaimed that the franchise will select the best player available. There’s no clear indication of what the Knicks’ official draft board looks like at this stage, but that could mean Marvin Bagley III over Mohamed Bamba.
Bamba has star potential, but Bagley is the better player at this stage.
Perry’s comments are very ambiguous. What if Michael Porter Jr. somehow falls to the Knicks? Is he the best player available, or the best prospect?
This pick is incredibly important to the Knicks’ future. Recent NBA players selected at No. 9 overall: Gordon Hayward, Andre Drummond, DeMar DeRozan, Kemba Walker, and Trey Burke.
Here are some of the Knicks’ rumored prospects:
- Trae Young (per Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer)
- Collin Sexton (per Ian Begley of ESPN New York)
- Mikal Bridges (per Ian Begley of ESPN New York)
- Miles Bridges (per Ian Begley of ESPN New York)
- Wendell Carter Jr. (per Ian Begley of ESPN New York)
The Glaring Weakness
The Knicks struggled in a lot of areas this past season. They finished as one of the worst teams in offensive rating and defensive rating. They stunk it up on both ends. We watched the games, we know that!
The Knicks are glaringly bad at shooting the ball. In the modern NBA, playing without shooters is a quick path to the lottery.
The Knicks finished in the bottom five of the NBA in three-point percentage (.352) and second-to-last in three-point field goals made and attempted. So, not only we’re they not making shots, they were not even attempting them.
The two best teams in the NBA—the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors—either shot at the highest percentage (Warriors) or jacked up the most attempts (Rockets).
It’s not solely the three-point shooting that plagued the Knicks. New York ranked No. 24 in eFG and finished with the highest percentage of points coming on two-pointers.
Most of those came from midrange, as the they finished seconds in the league in percentage of points coming from that frowned upon area.
Finally, The Knicks finished second-to-last in the NBA in percentage of points coming from the fast break. So, all of their offense came from a half court offense, while shooting a lot of midrange jumpers—remnants of the Melo era.
They need someone to push the pace, shoot and distribute.
Who The Knicks Shouldn’t Draft
Taking all this into account, we can begin to cut some of the prospects: Wendell Carter Jr. and Collin Sexton. Both of them are less than prolific shooters.
Now we are left with Trae Young and both Bridges. The choice comes to: Would you rather have a NBA-ready wing or the best shooter since Stephen Curry?
To address the shooting need, Young is the answer—but he has that bust essence around him. He would be thrust into a crowded back court, which also hinders development.
Mikal Bridges is a dominant defensive presence who hoisted 12 shots per game, 6.0 of which were threes, and 5.9 of which were twos. He’s definitely one of the stronger offensive talents coming into the draft.
Miles Bridges is the most athletic of the three. He plays with relentless energy and rebounds at a high level. He’s a solid NBA player no matter where he goes.
The point I’m getting at is: I don’t know how much I believe the hype in this draft class. I don’t think a franchise player exists outside of the top two-to-three picks.
All three of these players could be solid players for the New York Knicks. In my mind, Young satisfies the obvious need for shooting, and probably has the highest ceiling. He also has high bust potential. This is my story, and I’m sticking to it.