Knicks Draft: Kira Lewis Jr. should be on front office’s radar

Despite dropping in the lottery, there are some intriguing options for the New York Knicks in the upcoming draft, including speedy guard Kira Lewis Jr.

It has now been over a week since team president Leon Rose represented the New York Knicks on draft lottery night. And while the results weren’t anything to celebrate, as the Knicks fell back two spots, which landed them eighth, it’s not the end of the world.

The 2020 NBA Draft is noted to be a draft that doesn’t have that much top-tier talent in the first place. Outside of the first couple of picks, the majority of the selections are probably going to be based on team’s respective needs.

Moving up in the draft isn’t out of the question for the Knicks, as they could potentially still go after LaMelo Ball, who is the best point guard prospect in this year’s draft, or even make a move for French guard Killian Hayes.

But if New York decides to stay put at at eighth, there are options available that can improve the team. With a new front office and a new scouting team, the New York Knicks have the potential to select three solid players in this draft to improve the roster, and further the development of both RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson.

Would Kira Lewis Jr. help improve the Knicks’ roster?

One intriguing option for the blue and orange is Kira Lewis Jr., the point guard out of Alabama. I wrote an article back in May about Lewis Jr. potentially being an option for New York to select a point guard in the draft.

Fast-forward to three months later, Lewis Jr’s draft stock has risen. The speedy offensive point guard has the upside and tools to be a starting caliber point guard in the NBA. And with the Knicks now knowing where they are positioned in this draft, selecting Lewis Jr. wouldn’t be a surprise.

If selected, Lewis Jr. will automatically pick up the speed on offense, which will translate into more points in transition. The player who will benefit the most if the Alabama guard hears his name called by the Knicks would be Mitchell Robinson, due to his athleticism at the center position.

A Kira Lewis Jr. and Mitchell Robinson pick-and-roll combination could be a game-changer, as Lewis Jr. has the ability to get into the paint with his speed, and Mitchell Robinson is both an interior and lob threat.

It’s no secret that New York’s offense last season was nothing but stagnant for the Knicks. The lack of ball movement was a major issue that needs to be fixed. Lewis Jr. averaged 5 assist per game last season in college. With the right pieces around him, he can become an even better facilitator.

With Mitchell Robinson already established as a threat in the paint, and RJ Barrett serving as a potential wing threat, New York should look to add more shooters that can also shoot off the dribble, which would make facilitating even easier for Lewis Jr.

Lewis Jr. also has the ability to shoot the ball. He shot 36 percent from three on close to five attempts per game this past season. While 36 percent is about the league-average percentage, the young guard has shown that he is a capable threat from downtown, something the Knicks haven’t had at the point guard position in quite some time.

Defensively, Lewis Jr. still needs work. Though he averaged 1.8 steals last season, using his quickness to play the passing lanes, he will have to improve both his individual and team defense.

One way he can get better is by adding more weight to his body. Lewis Jr is listed at 165 pounds. He is going to need to bulk up a bit to keep up defensively at the next level. With new head coach Tom Thibodeau getting settled into New York, he is smart enough to put Lewis Jr. in positions where he will be stable on the defensive end.

The draft is soon approaching (October 16), although that could change based on the league’s response to the pandemic. While it is still unknown what the Knicks do with their eight pick, if they decide to stay put, drafting a player like Kira Lewis Jr. can only help improve the team.