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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Gonzaga Rui Hachimura (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

4. Rui Hachimura

Slash Line: .601/.423/.753
Stat Line: 20.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.8 BPG

One of this draft’s most intriguing players, Rui Hachimura will enter the NBA as a player without a specific position. A few years ago, that would have impacted his stock. Today, it does not matter, with “positionless” basketball the mantra for most teams.

Hachimura’s physical profile, 6-foot-8 and a 7-foot-2 wingspan, profiles him as a long defender, with the ability to play both forward positions and center in small-ball situations. He’s a good enough rebounder for this and possesses the strength to muscle anyone.

The junior forward can score inside the arc, but his jumpshot is a question. That’s with just 66 career three-point shots, although he has a career-high 11 makes from behind the arc.

Hachimura has improved each season, so his potential is hardly fulfilled. Like other players before him, skills can improve with practice. That could happen before this collegiate season ends, his rookie year or down the road. Maybe Gonzaga has kept his shooting under wraps.

On the New York Knicks, though, Hachimura would slide into the frontcourt, playing off Mitchell Robinson and next to Kevin Knox, who profiles more like a prototypical small forward than power forward.

Head coach David Fizdale can get crafty with Hachimura’s use, as well, moving him around the lineup in a Noah Vonleh-esque role, except with greater untapped potential. Put him in a lineup with Robinson, Knox, Kevin Durant and Dennis Smith Jr., and it’s a fascinating group to work with.