NBA Mock Draft leading up to the Knicks selecting 8th overall

Killian Hayes, 2020 NBA Draft prospect. (Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Killian Hayes, 2020 NBA Draft prospect. (Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /
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AMES, IA – NOVEMBER 12: Tyrese Haliburton #22 of the Iowa State Cyclones drives the ball in the second half of play at Hilton Coliseum on November 12, 2019 in Ames, Iowa. The Iowa State Cyclones won 70-52 over the Northern Illinois Huskies. (Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images) /

8. New York Knicks: Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State

When the Knicks fell back to 8th in the lottery, it made one thing apparent to me: the probability that team president Leon Rose trades this pick – either to move up, down, or for a veteran star – has greatly increased.

The new regime in New York, with Tom Thibodeau along the sideline, seems poised to move the competitive needle in a positive direction next year. That doesn’t mean they are going to make drastic moves that sacrifice the youth for the heck of it; but I would count on them looking to become much more competitive than they have been in recent seasons.

That said, if New York keeps their pick, Tyrese Haliburton checks off a lot of characteristics they need to add to their roster. The 20-year-old point guard would bring size, high basketball IQ, and perimeter shooting to their backcourt. While he isn’t the greatest playmaker in the draft, something the Knicks desperately need, I think that is an area where they could look to free agency to improve (ahem, Fred VanVleet).

With Haliburton, they would be adding a guard who can defend multiple positions, while providing efficient spot-up shooting at the other end of the floor. Thibodeau can mold this silky 6-foot-5 guard into an elite team defender that becomes the type of “3-and-D” player every team is searching for, and usually has to pay a premium to acquire in the open market.

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The Knicks have a lot of work to do to become a playoff team, but they have some promising pieces in RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson. Add a key free agent, or two, along with Haliburton, to the rest of the young core, and they will in fact move that competitive needle sooner than later.