As the 2021-22 season comes to an end for the New York Knicks, it’s now almost time to finally reflect. Sure, there have been some ups and most certainly some downs, but overall, I can’t say I was too disappointed by what transpired.
Sounds crazy, right?
I once expected great things out of a re-tooled and re-vamped Knicks team packed with offensive firepower and the homecoming of New York’s very own, Kemba Walker. I didn’t expect another 4th-place finish in the Eastern Conference, but I did expect a guaranteed playoff berth.
But that ship has sailed … long, long ago. I switched my focus from this season and onto next season and the future around the time Kemba got benched (the first time).
The silver lining from this year is that we, as fans, have finally got our guy. It was never supposed to be Julius Randle, and this year proved that.
RJ Barrett, the team’s homegrown draft pick, is finally becoming a crown jewel for the Knicks. He’s becoming that true, star player that a team can build around.
We also got a chance to see flashes of really special, young talents that will make up the team’s core for (hopefully) years to come in Mitchell Robinson, Quentin Grimes, Immanuel Quickley, and so on. I won’t pretend I know what the future brings for this team, but I know that if handled properly, they can be really good for a really long time.
This is what brings me to this year’s draft. The Knicks will likely have a pick in the top 10 selections and, if nothing else, the front office has drafted extremely well over the past two seasons. There are plenty of intriguing prospects this year, especially closer to the top.
Today, we’re going to focus on some Kentucky Wildcats because, as we know, the Knicks love them some Kentucky players. Not only that, but Kentucky is a favorite amongst a lot of fans to win the entire March Madness tourney, so we’re likely going to see a ton of these guys over the next couple of weeks.
The spotlight will be on these three players as they look to improve on their draft stock heading into the 2022 draft.
New York Knicks fans need to watch these Kentucky Wildcats during March Madness.
3. Shaedon Sharpe
Shaedon Sharpe is first on this list … and the bad news is that he won’t be featured during March Madness as he’d chosen to redshirt this season. BUT, he could very well be picked in the top five of this year’s draft without having played even one minute of collegiate basketball.
Sharpe, 18, is a 6-foot-6 guard out of Canada, a fellow countryman of our very own RJ Barrett.
Sharpe graduated from Dream City Christian (Arizona) early and enrolled for the spring semester at Kentucky — with the expectation he would only practice with the team and then play in games next season. Speculation that the Canada-born Sharpe could suit up this season began to rise, however, when ESPN reported in January that he could potentially enter the 2022 NBA draft.
Calipari put the rumors to bed Monday morning via Twitter.
“After talking with Shaedon and his parents, we want to end all of the speculations by again saying that he will not play for us this season,” Calipari wrote. “He is committed to bettering himself and our team in practice this year and being better prepared to lead us next season.”
Sharpe was the No.1-ranked prospect of the 2022 high school class. He averaged 22.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists while shooting 55.6% from the field and 36.1% from 3-point range.
He could be a true wild card in the draft as we don’t really know what he’s capable of at the next level, which may actually deter teams from selecting him with a top pick.
Sharpe doesn’t fill an area of immediate need, but if he’s still on the board by the time the Knicks make their selection, Leon Rose better make a call to his buddy Coach Cal and find out as much as he can about the bright, young prospect.
He might just be too good to pass up on even if they don’t really need another shooting guard.