Jalen Duren might not be the first name that New York Knicks fans think of when talking about prospects and the No. 11 overall draft pick, and while he’s definitely not one of the first names they would take, he’s an intriguing prospect that has plenty of potential at the NBA level.
The Memphis product can be compared often to Andre Drummond. While that may scare some Knicks fans, if they do embrace the youth in 2022-23, the high-octane offense that would be led by RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, and Immanuel Quickley would suit Duren perfectly. We could see him being a fantastic complimentary piece for this franchise.
Despite all the social media activity, the Mitchell Robinson situation seems murky right now. If the Knicks don’t bring back their 2018 second-round draft pick, could Duren potentially be the replacement that the Knicks look to as they seek to make it back to the playoffs after a disappointing 2021-22 season?
How does Jalen Duren fit this current New York Knicks squad?
Like we mentioned above, if the Knicks do embrace the youth movement, then the starting lineup will be made up of mainly the characters that were New York’s brightest spot in 2021-22; the bench.
While the starters had their moments, and Barrett showed more and more flashes of the star he can and will become in the NBA, it was the bench led by Quickley and Toppin that stood out, as they played a fast-paced, high-energy offensive game. That suits the style of Duren perfectly.
Standing at 6-11, 250 pounds, Duren is as physical as any player in the upcoming draft. His game relies mainly on athleticism, hustle, and pure intensity. While that can lack at times, as one of his criticisms is his motor, especially when the game slows down, he could affect this team and its offensive output tremendously.
Unfortunately, Duren lacks range. But if the Knicks look past that, they could find themselves a player similar to Robinson, but with more youth, athleticism, and potential.
Ultimately, it’s not the ideal fit, but sitting back at No. 11 (if that’s what New York decides to do), the Knicks don’t exactly have the luxury of choice. If they see their top targets fall off the board without moving up, Duren could be an intriguing, high-potential piece to add to the core.
Will Jalen Duren be available when the New York Knicks draft at No. 11?
This draft class is one that will stand out in a few years as producing plenty of great (while not elite) talent throughout the first round. While Duren has plenty of good qualities and potential, it’s unlikely that any team is passing on one of the talented wings at the top of the class to take him.
With the Knicks picking at No. 11, as good as Duren can be, the question marks will have him still sitting on the board, which will leave New York with a decision to make on which hole it’d like to fill going forward.
Will the New York Knicks draft Jalen Duren if he’s on the board at No. 11?
To answer this one accurately, the Knicks must first internally answer plenty of questions about where this franchise is going. Is Julius Randle your man going forward? Do you trust Quickley as the point guard of this team? Will Robinson be back? Are you going with the youth movement or swinging a big-time trade?
Once they’ve answered these questions, then the front office can look at what they’ll do at No. 11. If they aren’t bringing Robinson back, and are indeed embracing the youth movement that fans are ready and willing to get behind (see: the New York Rangers), then Duren comes firmly into play at No. 11.
With so many great wings in this draft, it’s hard to see New York taking this course, as there are other options, like trading for Myles Turner or bringing Mo Bamba home that can fill the potential gap at center.
For that reason, it’s unlikely that the Knicks will bring the Memphis product in at No. 11. If it does happen, however, New York would be getting someone with untapped potential who could ignite the team in the same vein as Toppin on the fast break. Fans would be excited, but shouldn’t be expecting more than No. 23 has given over the past few years.