The college basketball season will be underway soon. With a potential lottery pick ahead for the New York Knicks, here are three Big Ten prospects to have on the radar for the 2019 NBA Draft.
The New York Knicks entered Wednesday’s home bout with the Indiana Pacers hoping to improve their record to 3-5 on the season, but they fell to 2-6 after a 107-101 loss.
Meanwhile, the college basketball season is just mere days away, meaning that teams will begin to evaluate prospects for the 2019 NBA Draft.
With the Knicks not finding themselves in a position to contend this season, the chances are solid that the team lands a high lottery-pick in June. New York is likely to have their choice of nearly any prospect that enters the draft this coming year.
With that being said, here are three prospects from the Big Ten the Knicks could be eyeing this upcoming year.
Romeo Langford: SG, Indiana
All eyes in the Big Ten will be on Romeo Langford this season. The native Hoosier chose to stay in his home state and play for Archie Miller in what may be his only year at the collegiate level. Langford averaged 35.5 points and 9.9 rebounds his senior year at New Albany High School.
Langford is a bouncy athlete with tremendous size for a shooting guard at his age. He has plenty of time and ability to build on his 6’6″ frame and is a polished scorer at all three levels that is also electric in the open court.
The freshman projects as a top-8 pick right now, but has the potential to play into the top-3 with a big freshman year. He has a good chance of being available when the Knicks have their first pick come June.
His ability to get to the rim at the college level and develop into a two-way player will determine where he falls on Draft Night, but there is no doubt that his athleticism and scoring prowess will make him one of the most sought-after prospects during the evaluation process.
Romeo Langford could play well in nearly any system, but would be a tremendous scorer on the fastbreak that David Fizdale could utilize from the day he joins the team.
Carsen Edwards: PG, Purdue
After Romeo Langford, the conference as a whole lacks a surefire first-round pick in the draft. Junior point-guard Carsen Edwards of Purdue projects as a mid-second round pick right now, and that’s probably about where his ceiling lies.
Edwards had an impressive sophomore-year for the Boilermakers, averaging 18.5 points on 40.6% shooting from three. The 6’1″ guard could be someone that New York could eye with a second round pick if they decide not to sign Trey Burke beyond this season.
The best thing Edwards can do for his draft stock this coming season is improve as a playmaker. A failure to increase the 2.8 assists he averaged as the team’s starting point guard could be a red flag for a team looking to draft him as a backup point guard. His stature also raises questions as to how well he will be able to defend some of the longer guards in the League.
As of right now, drafting Edwards means drafting a scorer that can flat-out shoot it. He has shown the ability to score in bunches, scoring a career-high 40 points against Illinois last year.
Depending on how the point-guard situation plays out over the course of this season, Edwards could be someone that the front office looks into come June.
Bruno Fernando: PF, Maryland
One of the more intriguing prospects in the Big Ten is Bruno Fernando, the 6’10”, 240-pound forward for the Terrapins. Fernando had a solid first-year at Maryland, averaging 10.3 points and 6.5 rebounds in only 22.7 minutes of playing time his freshman season.
Fernando definitely projects as a second-round project, but has the physical tools to develop into a solid role player at the next level.
Fernando’s value right now comes at the defensive end, as he has proven to be a smart and effective defender on the low block. His offensive game does not extend much further from the basket.
What makes Fernando an enticing fit for the Knicks is his mobility. Like recent draft pick Mitchell Robinson, Fernando can move very well both in transition and while defending in the half-court. A player that is a hustle rebounder and energetic defender could ingratiate himself with David Fizdale pretty easily during the draft process.