Knicks flush with 2022 NBA Draft options for roster upgrades


Knicks flush with 2022 NBA Draft options for roster upgrades

Trade up. trade down Use the pick for an established player. pat stand.

The Knicks and President Leon Rose are full of options for the 2022 NBA draft Thursday night at the Barclays Center. There’s a multitude of directions to go, a multitude of options to improve a roster in desperate need of a jolt after a dismal 37-win season.

The most popular would be to find a way to get in the top 5 to land Jaden Ivey, the mega-talented guard from Purdue who could fill the franchise’s perennial point guard void.

The Kings have had discussions about the No. 4 for weeks, Ivey reportedly prefers to play elsewhere than Sacramento, and the Kings are loaded with De’Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell at point guard. On Monday, Ivey appeared downright wistful at finding his way to the Knicks, saying he would be “honoured” to play there and brought it up unprompted when asked about potential fits for his skillset .

The 6-foot-4 Ivey has drawn comparisons to Russell Westbrook, Ja Morant and Donovan Mitchell for his electric first step and elite athleticism, and could form a dynamic tandem with building block RJ Barrett.

Jaden Ivey
USA TODAY sports

“I don’t know exactly what the package is, what it takes. I assume it would matter,” ESPN draft insider Jonathan Givony said on a Zoom call on Wednesday. “Jaden Ivey has as much star power as any other player in this draft. The Knicks need a star, especially in the backcourt.”

A move up to four or even five by trading with the Pistons would clearly require a lot, likely several future picks and one of the Knicks’ youngsters under Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes. According to multiple reports, they’ve held talks with those teams, but the more likely scenario is that the Knicks stay at No. 11. At this point, chances are they’ll have an intriguing array of players to choose from, with Westchester One-and-done Duke guarding AJ Griffin, centering Jalen Duren and Mark Williams, and winging Johnny Davis, Ochai Agbaji and Malaki Branham.

The Knicks coached Griffin, Williams, Agbaji and Branham and met Davis, Wisconsin’s Big Ten player of the year, at last month’s draft combine. They did a lot of background work on Griffin, sources said, and his father Adrian, an assistant coach with the Raptors, previously worked with Tom Thibodeau at the Bulls.

They could opt to surround Barrett with a shooter like Griffin or Agbaji, or maybe the Knicks will show their hand by drafting one of the big men, a sign that future free agent Mitchell Robinson won’t be returning. Then there’s the possibility of the pick being pushed back for an established player like the Pacers’ Malcolm Brogdon, though ESPN reported that the Knicks have balked at the potential move.

Trading down is not out of the question either. The Knicks have drafted a lineup of players expected to range from the low teens to early 20s, including candidates such as Kentucky point guard Tyty Washington, G-League Ignite wing MarJon Beauchamp and LSU wing Tari Eason.

Tyty Washington

The 6-foot-3 Washington said Wednesday he hasn’t had any further contact with the Knicks since they took him out to dinner and invited him to practice. However, the Knicks have become known as the “Kentucky Knicks” and “Orange and Bluegrass,” employ John Calipari’s longtime confidante William Wesley, and need a leading guard.

“He’s a prototypical NBA point guard,” Kentucky assistant Oliver Antigua told The Post. “He’s a great height, arm length and very creative with the ball. He’s more athletic than you give him credit for. He’s a guy who scores on three levels.”

As the draft nears, the Knicks could go different paths. They have been connected with a variety of prospects and have been involved in trade talks with a number of teams.

On Thursday evening, Leon Rose has the chance to strengthen his squad. How he does that remains to be seen.

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