The faller: Ja Morant
It is difficult to say someone “fell” from second to third, but if the Memphis Grizzlies shock with their draft decision and take someone not named Ja Morant or trade down, this is an option for the New York Knicks.
Morant was second on New York’s draft board before his knee surgery, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. So the organization obviously sees value in the Murray State product, and if he is available at No. 3, it is a logical fit.
Dennis Smith Jr. is still on the roster, but not this regime’s “guy.” Plus, taking Morant — or any point guard — makes Smith expendable in a trade. If not, this is quality depth at a position of trouble for this franchise.
Morant will not have a clean shake at the job to start, but with a strong showing in Year One, he can clear any competition to become the long-term point guard in New York. That pushes any disappointment about not signing Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker to the side. and for a younger, cheaper option.
With Memphis trading Mike Conley, however, it would be an upset to see Morant available when the Knicks are on the clock. The draft proves chaotic at times, so anything can happen, but Williamson first and this player second is the reasonable expectation to kick off the draft.