What should the Knicks do with the 9th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft?
By: Josh R.
It’s the Knicks fans favorite time of year again, June! No, not because they are in the NBA Finals competing for a championship, but because we have the opportunity to get excited for our potential future star.
Over the past 2 decades, the New York Knicks haven’t had much success drafting players at all. They haven’t had much success in anything but that is a whole different story. Ever since Phil Jackson took over as President and primary decision maker, they actually drafted decently well. Phil hit it out of the park with drafting Kristaps Porzingis, until the injury, and we all have high hopes for Frank Ntilikina, as he develops. But, there’s still plenty of work to be done.
What do the Knicks need in this year’s draft?
Let’s be straight up honest, the Knicks need whatever they can get. They are not stacked at any position and every single player on the team has major question marks. Porzingis now with a injury history, Frank still isn’t a consistent contributor on the offensive end. Dotson has yet to play long enough to deem him a long term starter and the rest of the team are under contract for 3 years or less.
They simply need to add whatever talent they can get their hands on. The obvious need is an athletic forward who can defend and add some scoring. They have KP, they have Frank, however, both of them play multiple positions and it wouldn’t hurt to add depth around them even if it isn’t a position of need.
New York struck gold when KP landed to them at number 4 and after just a few months, he became a fan favorite and the future star of the team. That being said, they still need another star, especially in today’s NBA. (See Golden State Warriors). Ntilikina is a solid prospect and may be a good player in the future, but he likely will be more of a “glue guy” then a top point guard. That being stated, who would be the best player to take at #9 if they are available?
Collin Sexton PG – Alabama
An absolute beast, but the Knicks don’t need another guard, who can’t shoot from deep.
Miles Bridges SF – Michigan State
Athletic, talented and can shoot, but a bit undersized for a wing and isn’t the quickest laterally.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander PG – Kentucky
It would be real fun to see him and Frank in the backcourt together with that insane length, but the Knicks need some real offense.
Top 5 Options:
5. Wendell Carter Jr. PF/C – Duke
Wendell Carter Jr. is not a flashy player and won’t get many people excited when he gets his name called. But he’s a good rebounder, a capable shot blocker, can score out of the post and a has great court vision for a big man. Carter has long arms and can shoot the 3 ball. I see a potential Al Horford meets Draymond Green. He will easily fit next to KP and there would be no temptation to resign Enes Kanter.
4. Mikal Bridges SF – Villanova
If Mikal Bridges were 3 years younger, he’d be a top 5 pick in this draft. The league loves long athletic defensive minded wings who can shoot 43% from deep. But and a big but, he will be 22 before the 2019 season starts and that is a cause for concern. He will be an immediate upgrade to any team with his talent and experience, but we might already know his ceiling. While the Knicks can use a player like Bridges, but they can use a superstar even more.
3. Kevin Knox SF – Kentucky
Kevin Knox went quite under the radar in his lone season at Kentucky. He was not the most heralded recruit and Kentucky did not have a great season for Wildcat standards. He didn’t have a bad year, but he didn’t make name for himself the same way De’Aaron Fox or Malik Monk did. He’s got a great stroke, can create on his own and can play the 3 or 4 position. Knox superstar potential and can be a good defender. He may have a bigger bust potential than others, but he could be the best wing in this year’s class. Knox can develop into something special since he’s only 18 now and be 19 in his first NBA season. He’s still growing and can a ton of upside.
2. Trae Young PG – Oklahoma
The most mesmerizing player in college this year, Trae Young became a must watch on any night. 19-year-old kids just don’t shoot this well, it’s unheard of. We didn’t know who Steph Curry was until March of his sophomore year at Davidson and that was something to watch, let me tell you. Trae is small and not a good defender, but he has the most franchise-changing ability in this draft. His shot and skill should only develop with more experience, the heaves and bad turnovers will diminish with better coaching and teammates. The guard position is not currently a position of need for New York, but if he is there at 9, this might be the only way we get over missing out on Curry by one pick in 2009.
1. Michael Porter Jr. SF – Missouri
Yes, I am well aware that he missed all, but 3 games. Yes, he seems to have a bit of a lazy playing style, but this guy was supposed to be the top player in the draft before the injury. Can a back injury lead to down the line issues? Maybe. But what if he’s a 25 PPG scorer and can be the number 2 (or 1) to KP. Philly drafted an injured player named Joel Embiid and that seems to be working out decently well. He can play the 3 and 4 and score from anywhere on the court with great size and athleticism. If MPJ unlikely drops to 9, Mr. Perry & Mr. Mills, please take him.
Obviously, anything can happen on draft night and any one of these players can be taken well before the Knicks pick at 9. This is a unique draft in which any player from 1 to 15 can be great or a bust. There are no Ben Simmons’ or Anthony Davis’ this year. Let’s get the best guy on the board and continuing to develop this team.
You’re on the clock New York.