New York Knicks: Five alternatives to Zion Williamson in 2019 NBA Draft

New York Knicks Jarrett Culver (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
New York Knicks Jarrett Culver (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images) /
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New York Knicks Jarrett Culver (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
New York Knicks Jarrett Culver (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images) /

The New York Knicks have a greater chance at the No. 5 pick than first overall and Zion Williamson. Who are the alternatives for them to select?

Since he stepped onto the collegiate court, New York Knicks fans have dreamed of Zion Williamson donning the blue and orange for the 2019-20 season and beyond. That would likely mean attaining the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

There is life beyond Williamson, however. In fact, if the Knicks earn the highest lottery odds, they still have an 86 percent chance to land a pick between second and fifth.

It’s likelier that someone not named Zion Williamson will wear a Knicks jersey after the draft. That might be a difficult reality for fans to accept, but there are intriguing players beyond him.

So, if the Knicks land second or as low as seventh — the lowest the third-worst team can pick — there are options.

5. Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech

Slash Line: .500/.340/.683
Stat Line: 17.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.4 BPG

A player that’s risen into the top 10 in mock drafts, Jarrett Culver has watched his play spike from Year One to Two, leading an offense that lost a handful of contributors after the 2017-19 season.

A 6-foot-6 guard with 6-foot-10 wingspan, Culver has the measurables to fit as a two-guard or even slot in the middle of an NBA lineup. There’s the necessary height to match up against taller wings and the wingspan to cover them, providing plus defensive upside.

For a New York Knicks team that lacks defensive-minded players, Culver is an interesting pick for them in the backcourt. They have point guards to play next to them, but Dennis Smith Jr. and Emmanuel Mudiay (a restricted free agent) are poor defenders. Frank Ntilikina is above average, but a lacking jump shot curtails his opportunities.

Culver is not a top-end shooter from long range, at 34 percent, but he’s more than capable of hitting outside shots for the Knicks, who also lack perimeter talent.

The Red Raiders’ sophomore might not be a top-four pick, but he’s a candidate for the back-end of the top 10. If the Knicks land in that range, say sixth or seventh, this is an interesting player for their backcourt.