1) Potential trade down target for the Knicks: Aleksej Pokusevski
One of the most intriguing prospects in the 2020 NBA Draft is Serbian big man Aleksej Pokusevski. Nicknamed “Poku,” the 7-footer could be a steal as a late first round pick with lottery potential. By trading down, the Knicks can afford to take a flyer on him while still having extra picks to secure a reliable point guard.
As the Knicks recover from the trade of Kristaps Porzingis and the failure to recruit Kevin Durant, perhaps Poku can wipe away those disappointments as a big man who offers similar uniqueness as those two players with his size, agility, and shooting potential.
While his height and wingspan (7-foot-3) suggests he is a prototypical center, Poku can theoretically play any forward position, at times moving more like a guard than a big man. His game can use some polish, but with the right development path, he could easily become the next unicorn in the NBA.
Poku is the perfect modern-spacing big, who can score in a variety of ways—either in transition, off the catch, or in pick-and-roll opportunities. His passing game is something that could be tantalizing to a coach like Tom Thibodeau who has employed playmaking bigs in his lineup in the past.
What separates him from other shooting bigs is his agility on the floor, which allows him to be used in a variety of ways, either starting a play with the basketball in his hands, or moving without the ball in actions not typically designed for seven footers.
It will be interesting to see if Leon Rose, who is reportedly looking to beef up the organization’s development staff, is willing to place his bets on a high-risk/high-reward selection like Poku. However, if the Knicks are able to gain assets in trading down to get him, it might be a gamble worth taking.