The New York Knicks didn’t move up in the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery, meaning that they’ll be picking No. 11 overall in the 2022 NBA Draft. While there’s always a possibility that they could trade the selection, the front office may be intrigued by the talent available in the late lottery.
While the Knicks weren’t awful defensively last season, they did take a large step back, falling from third to 11th in defensive rating. They gave up at least 120 points in 13 games this past year in comparison to just seven games in the 2020-21 season.
Given the offensive potential of players such as RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and Obi Toppin, New York may want to add a defensive specialist to its young core.
3 defensive-minded prospects the Knicks could select at No. 11 in NBA draft
3: Jeremy Sochan: Forward, Baylor
As a freshman last season, Jeremy Sochan averaged a modest 9.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game while shooting 47% from the field. While these numbers aren’t elite, he’ll still be picked in the top half of the draft due to his immense defensive potential.
At 6’9″ with a 7’0″ wingspan, Sochan is extremely versatile on the less glamorous end of the court. He thrived in Baylor’s switch-heavy defense, which is a good sign that he’d fit in New York as head coach Tom Thibodeau usually has his team switching 1-4.
Sochan ranked within the top 20 in the Big 12 conference in both steals and blocks per game, fusing elite athleticism with impressive defensive instincts.
Combining his height with his 230-pound frame makes it nearly impossible for bigger forwards to back him down into the paint, but his exceptional speed allows him to stick with smaller ball carriers.
At just 19-years-old, Sochan still has lots of room to grow, and learning under Thibodeau could potentially turn him into one of the best defenders in the NBA within a few years.
The Knicks might use him as a defensive specialist as a rookie, then slowly integrate him into the rotation as he further develops his offensive arsenal.