March is prime scouting season for fans and front offices of NBA teams like the New York Knicks. The NCAA tournament presents ample opportunity to watch and critique the best draft prospects each year. Players rise and fall on the proverbial draft board throughout the three-week tournament, and this year will be no different, even if the outside world and some of the logistical circumstances surrounding the event are.
With Kentucky missing the tournament, the Knicks front office will have to do the unthinkable and look at other colleges and universities when scouting draft prospects over the next month. The 2021 draft class is considered strong and there are several players worth watching during the NCAA tournament.
There will be much focus on Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham, USC’s Evan Mobley, and Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs, and these players will likely be out of the Knicks draft range, barring a late-season collapse, a lottery miracle, or crazy trade. As noted above, though, that does not mean the Knicks are screwed.
There are oodles of high-quality players in this draft that could help New York immediately and propel the franchise closer toward consistent success. Let’s not forget that Immanuel Quickley was the 25th overall pick this year. Other under-the-radar 2020 picks, such as Tyrese Halliburton (12th overall), Tyrese Maxey (21st overall), and Saddiq Bey (19th overall) have already outperformed those picked at the very top of the draft, save for LaMelo Ball.
It is realistic to expect both of the Knicks’ first-round picks this year to fall within the late lottery-early 20s range. With that in mind, today we will go over three intriguing but slightly under-the-radar guard prospects playing in the upcoming NCAA tournament and project them onto the Knicks’ roster.