Knicks Draft: New York targeting ‘lead guard’ to improve roster

Cole Anthony, New York Knicks draft candidate (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Cole Anthony, New York Knicks draft candidate (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The New York Knicks still don’t know exactly where they will pick in the first round of the 2020 draft, but they could be targeting a point guard.

It doesn’t take a basketball junkie to figure out what ails the New York Knicks‘ current roster—and no, ESPN, it isn’t everything. With young talent at the big position and along the wings, the team is still in search of a lead ball-handler who can become the long-term solution to a generation-old problem. It seems like the franchise has been searching for a point guard since the days Walt “Clyde” Frazier was manning the position.

After the New York Post reported in February the Knicks scouting staff had been instructed to scout for a scoring point guard as their top priority, Ian Begley of SNY says there are people inside the Knicks organization who would like to see the team add a “lead guard” in the upcoming NBA draft.

"“I know that there are people in the organization who see the lead guard spot as a glaring weakness,” Begley said in response to a mailbag question about the possibility of trading Mitchell Robinson to move up in the draft to select another big man. “They are looking for a lead guard who can knock down a shot, because they see that as something that can really unlock things for a player like Mitchell Robinson in the pick-and-roll, and that can be very complementary for a player like RJ Barrett at the shooting guard spot.”"

The Knicks currently have a trio of point guard options on their roster–two slated to return to the team on the backend of their rookie contracts, and one on a non-guaranteed deal–but none that appear to be long-term answers.

With Steve Mills no longer calling the shots, it will be interesting to see where Frank Ntilikina fits in new president Leon Rose’s vision going forward. Ntilikina was a former client of Rose, but eventually left CAA to sign with a French agent.

Meanwhile, Dennis Smith Jr., who was acquired in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, has struggled mightily in New York. Scott Perry favorite Elfrid Payton is owed $8 million on a non-guaranteed contract for next season, and while he has played relatively well, he is probably best suited in a back-up role.

The Knicks are currently slotted sixth in the NBA lottery that was postponed indefinitely due to the novel coronavirus. LaMelo Ball and local product Cole Anthony have been linked to the team as possible selections in the 3-6 range where the Knicks could pick.

Next. 5 options at the point guard position. dark

The NBA draft is currently still scheduled for June 25, but it seems unlikely that date will hold firm as the league considers re-opening amid the coronavirus pandemic.