New York Knicks, 8 Too Late?

As has the rest of the season, the NBA Draft Lottery did not fall in the Knicks’ favor. Opposed to moving up in to the Top 3, New York actually fell back to pick number eight.

Eyes were set on De’Aaron Fox, but now? My thoughts:


De’Aaron Fox, was the prime candidate for New York. An aggressive and athletic point guard, the possibility of drafting him gave Knicks fans hope for the future. Now, after falling back to eight, it seems he will certainly be off the board.

The 76ers, Kings, and Magic will all pick before New York, and desperately need a point guard out of the draft. In Knicks style, plan A has all but gone to waste, so I explored plans B, C, and D.

Dennis Smith Jr. 

A point guard out of North Carolina State University, he is considered a dominant scorer. In college, Smith averaged (18.1) points and (6.2) assists, showing signs of an explosive future in this league.

One thing I noticed about the young guard, just in footage I’ve seen is his ability to make plays above the rim, at only 6″2. He seems to be a team first ball player, ready to facilitate and pass the ball before grabbing his own buckets. He’s not the pick and roll star that Malik Monk is, but he did shoot (36%) from behind the arc.

Defensively speaking, he averaged (1.9) steals for NC State, and did well blocking shots for a guard. His ability to finish through traffic in the paint and reach the foul line, may make him the perfect apprentice for former MVP Derrick Rose. 

Expectations were heavy on Smith, after his team went only (4-14) in ACC play. Such adversity may have set him up for the love shown in the Garden. Drafting Smith won’t be a bad move for New York, and I firmly believe he’ll be available at eight, due to having previously torn an ACL two years ago. Injury prone players usually fall, regardless of raw talent.

A playmaking point guard with ability to transcend the rim, may be just what New York needs to pair with the also young Porzingis.

Frank Nitilkina 

Is this Milwaukee? No, but his wingspan would fit in. A French point guard, his wingspan reaches almost 7″0. He’s lengthy, and a good ball handler, but his size may not be ready for the NBA, at 6″5 and 190 lbs. 

At eighteen, the Frenchmen is considered very mature in regards to his basketball IQ. A floor general that puts the plays first is something the Knicks desperately need. Smith makes plays, but Frank truly holds a pass first mentality.

He excels in pick and rolls, and doesn’t have a bad three-point shot. Placing this young and lengthy guard alongside Porzingis may be a risky move, but so was drafting the Latvian in the first place.

Personally, I’m not a fan of drafting international players, and especially point guards. The experience factor is huge, and the Knicks need a big change now. That’s something some of these other guys can offer, whereas he would be more of an investment opposed to a purchase.

Malik Monk

is arguably the best outcome for the Knicks in this draft. Most fans are doubting his availability at number eight, but weren’t we so sure he would be there at seven? Anything can happen on draft night, and I’m a firm believer he falls to eight.

I’ve written one previous column on Monk/Foxso I’ll keep this short.

Monk is a sharpshooter from deep, and is a dangerous pick-and-roll option to play with Kristaps. His defense may lack at times, but he runs a mean fast break. Playing the Kentucky guard at the one provides opportunity for triangle success, something we haven’t seen yet.

In Conclusion

Reminder Knicks fans, falling to pick number eight doesn’t mean we just write off drafting some talent.

Although De’Aaron Fox was the fan favorite, my money is on the Kings taking him at pick five. Malik Monk will either get snatched by Minnesota (which will only make it sting worse) at seven, or will grace the Knicks at eight.

Dennis Smith Jr. is the next best player, but I have an creeping suspicion he may get drafted by Orlando. If not, and Monk has been picked, he will be welcomed by KnicksTwitter with open arms.

Please, Phil Jackson, if you are reading this. Do not screw this up, as you did with every other thing ever. 

Go Knicks.

All stats and information provided by NBADraft.net, ESPN, and NBA.com. Featured image provided by Draft Express via Google Images. 

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