Knicks Draft: New York could be a team that trades up for LaMelo Ball

If the ping pong balls don’t bounce the New York Knicks’ way, they could look to trade up to select playmaker LaMelo Ball.

While the New York Knicks might ultimately find themselves in a position to draft LaMelo Ball with their own pick, if the ping pong balls remain unkind to them, NBA draft expert Chad Ford speculates they could look to trade up in the 2020 draft to select the playmaking guard.

“I think there’s one team that I see out there that might be desperate to get up and really make some buzz, and that’s the Knicks,” Ford said on the Locked on Warriors podcast last week. “And if the Knicks don’t get the number one pick in this draft, just given the trajectory of that franchise over the years, I could see them, they have some assets, they’ll still probably have a fairly high lottery pick, packaging all of that together to try to get up to make a big splash. And if there’s a guy that sort of makes sense in New York, it’s LaMelo Ball.”

When the 2020 NBA season was put on pause due to the novel coronavirus, the Knicks held the sixth spot in the only standings that have mattered to them in recent times, the lottery odds.

The sixth lottery position gives them a nine percent chance of landing the number one overall pick, and a 37.2 percent chance of receiving one of the top four picks. Ball is arguably the best player in a weak 2020 draft class. Many mock drafts have him going within the first three picks.

The lottery drawing originally scheduled for May 19 has been postponed until a date materializes from the league’s planning in scheduling the remainder of the season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Wes Goldberg, who is the Warriors beat writer for The Mercury News, hosted Ford on the Locked on Warriors podcast where he speculated about the Knicks trading up. Goldberg summed up the conversation in a recent mailbag response provided below.

I spoke recently with NBA draft expert Chad Ford, and he seems to believe there would be one team in the market to trade up should the ping-pong balls not fall their way: the New York Knicks. Specifically, Ford said, for LaMelo Ball. Ball, a genius playmaker with star potential, would provide the Knicks with a much-needed identity on offense.

Should the Warriors end up with the first or second pick and Ball is on the board, the Knicks — with their own pick this year and first rounders from both the Clippers and the Mavericks in 2021 — have ammunition to move up. Depending on how far back it would move the Warriors, it’s certainly a possibility.

The 6-foot-7 guard, who spent the past season playing professionally in Australia, is an elite playmaker who could become a game-changing facilitator in the NBA. The brother of Lonzo Ball, if you can put up with his overbearing father through his youth, he has the potential to blossom into a star.

Next: 5 point guard options for 2020 Draft

Before the scouting season was shuddered due to the coronavirus, Knicks scouts had been instructed to focus on a point guard. They reportedly believe a lead guard will help “unlock” the full potential of young rising stars Mitchell Robinson and RJ Barrett.

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