Knicks Draft: Best player available or positional need?

LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images) /

How should the New York Knicks approach the upcoming draft?

As the NBA prepares to return in Orlando, the New York Knicks season is over. They were not one of the 22 teams invited to resume play, so it is time to plan for next season.

Looking forward to the NBA draft, what should Knick fans be hoping for? Who should they draft? Should they focus on positional fit or the best player available?

After finishing with the sixth worst record in the NBA, the Knicks lottery odds give them a nine percent chance at the #1 pick, which is 5% lower than the odds for the worst teams in the league. There’s a good chance New York will pick somewhere in the Top 7. Obviously, until the lottery takes place, it’s hard to judge where the Knicks will pick, but we can still start talking about the players, as well as strategy.

Examining the New York Knicks roster in prep of the 2020 NBA Draft

Scanning the Knicks roster, you still have Dennis Smith Jr, Frank Ntilikina, RJ Barrett, Damyean Dotson, Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson as the young players that are part of the rebuild.

Just looking at that group, the most glaring need has to be point guard. DSJ and Ntilikina both have struggled to establish any consistency in their time with the Knicks. Going into the draft, you would think the new front office would want to address that, as the wing position feels pretty secure with the likes of Knox and Barrett.

Personally, I think the Knicks should choose the best player available since they don’t have a lot of sure bets on the roster, but let’s talk about their possible approach.

Who are some of the prospects?

There is plenty of speculation about where different players will go in the draft. I think it’s clear this year’s class is not very deep, which makes it important to trust your scouting and perhaps focus on a certain player or positional need.

Looking at names who are expected to be available in the lottery, there is Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, Isaac Okoro, RJ Hampton, Cole Anthony and Deni Avdija. None of them are locks to be selected with the first overall pick.

While there are plenty of point guards to consider, I think the Knicks should be looking for the best player available and worry about positional fit later on. Right now, Barrett and Mitchell Robinson are the only two players who have shown anything that is worth building around. I think outside of center, every position is open with the way the game has become more position-less.

While a guard is more of need right now, I would not force it. It is important to remember that today’s NBA game is all about guard play. Most of the best players play as the primary ball-handler. This makes players like Ball and Edwards appealing prospects who fit the current trends of the league.

This year’s draft may not have much certainty, but it does not mean the Knicks should go into it and reach for a player just because of need. They should be looking to draft the best player available. The team needs to keep firing their shots, hoping one of this lottery picks ends up as a star they can build around.