New York Knicks: Top five trade assets before 2019 NBA Draft

New York Knicks Dennis Smith Jr. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
New York Knicks Dennis Smith Jr. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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New York Knicks Mitchell Robinson (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images) /

1. Mitchell Robinson

From second-round pick to atop the New York Knicks roster, Mitchell Robinson broke out in the second half of his rookie season to become this team’s most exciting player. Granted, the roster was thin from Game 1 to 82, but the New Orleans, LA native flashed elite shot-blocking ability and athleticism unlike most players of his size.

Robinson is still a project, with a limited offensive game, but he is the most valuable piece on a limited roster with plenty of unknowns.

With great value comes other teams’ interest, which brings this to the Pelicans’ interest in Robinson. From executive David Griffin’s perspective, it makes sense to target the 21-year-old center. This is someone capable of anchoring a frontcourt for 10 years and the potential answer to the incumbent star’s departure.

Trading Robinson seems unfathomable, especially after the former top asset, Porzingis, left. While not as established, would the Knicks trade their most valuable player twice in the same year?

If not, this is their best piece to build around and welcome free agents — unless Williamson becomes the pick — protecting the rim for a player like Kevin Durant. The Knicks can only value this player as a long-term piece, with the most intrigue for them at center since Patrick Ewing.

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The future is bright with not just Robinson, but the other assets the Knicks have in place. Whether they stay with the organization through the summer will come into question, but all of them are positive to have nonetheless.