New York Knicks: Potential NBA Draft targets to watch in Sweet 16

Gonzaga Brandon Clarke (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Gonzaga Brandon Clarke (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

With the Sweet 16 ahead, there are prospects for the New York Knicks to watch as the games unfold.

The New York Knicks, pending they do not trade their first-round pick, will select among the highest spots in the 2019 NBA Draft. With 60 losses and a league-worst record, they are in position for this, especially with eight games remaining.

The 2019 Men’s NCAA Tournament provides a terrific spot for NBA teams to evaluate prospects. While the opportunities may be limited due to the single-game elimination format, breakout performances like Murray State’s Ja Morant happen.

Round 3, or the Sweet 16, kicks off Thursday night, with four games in play. Four more will follow up on Friday, March 29.

There are players to watch on all teams, but which potential draft prospects are worth eyeing before this round of competition starts?

Duke: Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish

Pushing the obvious out of the way, Duke’s star trio of Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish are all still in the tournament, thanks to a narrow win over UCF on Sunday. That kept their National Championship hopes alive and another chance for basketball fans to see them in action.

Duke has an ACC rematch against Virginia Tech on Friday. There is no Tacko Fall this time around, but the Hokies did defeat the Blue Devils earlier this season, albeit without the injured Williamson.

Williamson has no concern for his stock. Barrett should become a top-five pick, as well. Reddish’s value has fluctuated, however, due to a poor shot selection and careless ball-handling. That could make or break where he falls in the draft.

Virginia Tech: Nickeil Walker-Alexander

Speaking of this game, Virginia Tech has a potential lottery pick of their own, Nickeil Walker-Alexander. With the potential to become a two-way guard at the next level, the cousin of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander shoots well from three-point range and is a quality perimeter defender. A difficult matchup against Duke’s long players is ahead, though.

UNC: Coby White and Nassir Little

Coby White and Nassir Little are two freshmen with the physical profiles to fit into the NBA. They have provided upside throughout the season at UNC and could become lottery picks in June.

A matchup with the fast-paced Auburn Tigers is ahead, and these players should hold a significant role in the final score. They are the two most promising prospects from the Tar Heels, and a big game from either offers a positive spotlight for the draft.

Gonzaga: Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke

Rui Hachimura was hyped throughout the season, and deservedly so. However, his talented teammate, Brandon Clarke, stepped up with his own breakout game in the Round of 32. That was with 36 points, eight rebounds and five blocks in the win over Baylor.

How can Clarke follow this up? He has a tall, long and under-the-radar Florida State team to face Thursday. Another strong performance will only drive up his draft value, with more chances to play in this tournament.

Virginia: De’Andre Hunter and Ty Jerome

More from Knicks Draft

De’Andre Hunter is a known prospect at this point and offers top-10 potential as an NBA wing. His point guard, Ty Jerome, is also talented. He’s a 6-foot-5 point guard with a solid shooting stroke, and while landing in the first round is not guaranteed, there is upside as a backup down the road.

Texas Tech: Jarrett Culver

A potential riser and someone who’s a potential top-five pick, Jarrett Culver already teased a triple-double in the tournament’s first round. He followed with a double-double in Texas Tech’s blowout of Buffalo in the second round.

Culver is another two-way talent that can start for the next decade at the next level. While not as spotlighted as Duke’s players or Morant, this could be the NBA’s next top shooting guard for a team high in the draft that needs scoring from all parts of the floor.

dark. Next. 2019 NBA Mock Draft, Sweet 16 edition

The New York Knicks will start their final stretch Thursday night, while the Sweet 16 also kicks off and delivers a possible talent to the Big Apple in June.