NY Knicks Draft Strategy: Consider RJ Barrett in making your pick

RJ Barrett, New York Knicks (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
RJ Barrett, New York Knicks (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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FAYETTEVILLE, AR – MARCH 9: Kira Lewis Jr. #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

KIRA LEWIS – Imagine him pushing in transition, feeding RJ for a dunk. Now imagine him letting fly from deep off an RJ drive-and-kick. His combination of speed and shooting is something the Knicks haven’t had since…give me a minute, I’m thinking.

"SPENCER SAYS: Good shooter, has NBA range, and can shoot both off the bounce and on C&S. Had some movement flashes as well, which were really promising. When defenses close, he’ll make them pay because he can pull up (small sample size, but apparently it’s because he was told not to settle for midrange) and has shown really nice finishing ability in the paint (though he has to continue to get stronger). He doesn’t have great vision in terms of reads, but they’re not all basic ones either. He does a fantastic job leveraging his speed to collapse the defense, so even though he doesn’t have top-tier vision, he creates really good looks. Also has live action passes with either hand and can pass at full speed. Lewis has to get stronger, but he’s a better defender than given credit for. Solid at the point of attack, pretty smart off-ball, and uses his length well."

TYRESE MAXEY – He’s been mocked and big-boarded all over the place, but if you watched him this year, two things stand out: he gets after it defensively, and he steps up in big games.

"SPENCER SAYS: Percentages from 3 weren’t great, but Maxey has great touch in the paint and smooth form. Kentucky used him a lot off screens/movement this year and Maxey showed he knew how to read defenses to get the shot he wanted. Maxey’s efficiency should go up as he raises his form a bit (and stops shooting out), so the jumper isn’t as big an issue as percentages may indicate. Not a great passer – can make simple reads, but even as a secondary I’d question it a bit…you’d need a system or plays to make the looks/reads for him. Awesome defender. Similar to Okoro in that he has the athleticism, IQ, and strength (for his size, at least) and also how they’d just take guys out of the game. Sound technique all around and active in team defense."

The way the lottery/draft shakes out will dictate which, if any, makes sense.  Again, the Knicks are in no position to ignore their big board to choose based solely on fit. If a highly-rated big falls, he must be considered. If they move into the Top 3 and have other players atop their list, they need to trust their scouting and prep.

But I’m kind of hoping it shakes out to where these are the options, because the Knicks already have some young talent that fans are excited about, and these are the best guys available to both grow with that talent and facilitate the growth of that talent.

"SPENCER SAYS: If these are the options, I’d lean towards Kira. After that, Okoro and Deni. But I’ve said this before on Twitter and in podcasts: if the Knicks land 6-10, the one I’m taking if available is Aleksej Pokuševski. Poku? Sigh. A conversation for another day."

Follow Spencer Pearlman on Twitter @SKPearlman and check out his work on TheStepien.com for more great draft content.