It's never too early to look ahead to the draft, even though the New York Knicks are a playoff team and not a team banking on a high pick. It's been well over a year since New York drafted a player, as the team went without a pick in 2023.
The 2023 pick that the Mavericks sent the Knicks as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade didn't convey as it was top-10 protected.
Looking ahead to 2024, New York has its own first-round pick, as well as another top-10 protected pick from Dallas (that should convey), as well as a top-18 protected pick from Detroit (that shouldn't convey), and a top-12 protected pick from Washington (that shouldn't convey).
In Bleacher Report's latest 2024 NBA Mock Draft, the Knicks are slated to select shooting guard/small forward Kevin McCullar Jr. at No. 17. The 22-year-old is playing in his fifth season of college basketball, his second at Kansas after spending his first three years at Texas Tech.
NBA Mock Draft: Knicks select Kansas wing Kevin McCullar Jr at No. 17
Kevin McCullar Jr. is averaging a career-high 18.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 1.1 steals per game, shooting 51.6% from the field.
He's posted a triple-double twice already this season. On Nov. 14 against then-No. 17 Kentucky, McCullar finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in 37 minutes. On Nov. 20 against Chaminade, he posted 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists in 35 minutes. The Jayhawks won both games.
McCullar has an impressive resume. He's a three-time All-Big 12 selection, was a finalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year in 2021-22 and 2022-23, and made the Big 12 All-Defensive Team last season. So far in 2023-24, he's been named the Big 12 Player of the Week and the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week.
The six-foot-seven wing can do a little bit of everything, which will make him a valuable prospect in the 2024 NBA Draft. An area of his game to keep an eye on is his three-point shot, as he's shooting 29.6% from deep.
If McCullar's high level of play continues, there's a good chance he'll be off the board when New York makes its selection. If he's still available, though, the Knicks shouldn't hesitate to bring the wing to NYC.
In the same mock draft, Bleacher Report predicted that the Knicks would also walk away from the first round with Florida State's Baba Miller. The sophomore forward isn't as exciting of a prospect as Kevin McCullar Jr., but he's still a player New York fans should monitor, especially because of the team's lack of depth at forward.