By: Gianluca Varile
After yet another abysmal season and Draft Lottery the New York Knicks fan base seems to believe all hope is lost. However, receiving the eight pick in the 2020 NBA Draft might be a blessing in disguise.
With two cornerstones of the franchise in R.J. Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, the Knicks have two key pieces of their long tenured rebuild. The Knicks have vowed for a natural shooter and scorer among the point guard position for about a decade. Could this finally be the draft where they get one of their missing pieces. Here are some options for the Knicks if all goes right at 8.
Option 1: Killian Hayes
If the Knicks choose to stay at pick eight and move neither up nor down, their options heavily depend on what the teams do before them. On many experts draft boards Lamelo Ball (G Australia) is ranked as the number one point guard (Zero chance of the Knicks getting him at 8), followed by Killian Hayes (G France), Tyrese Halliburton (G Iowa State), Cole Anthony (G UNC), and Kira Lewis Jr. (G Alabama).
Most mocks suggest all but two of those guards should be available for the Knicks at 8. Killian Hayes is the one that is most intriguing if yet to be picked. He is a 6'5, left handed facilitator with a smooth jump shot and ability to become a premier point guard in the league today. In his past season in the euro league, Hayes averaged almost 12 points and 5.7 assists per game, while shooting 48% from the field. He would fit in perfectly within the Knicks lineup and would add a much needed shooting touch.
Option 2: Cole Anthony
Cole Anthony is a 6‘3 natural scorer and primary option for an offense. He has smooth ball handling and an elite ability to create space for an open shot or pass. The UNC guard averaged 18 and a half points to follow along with 4 assists and almost six rebounds, while also being a proven defender. With Anthony growing up in New York, as a Knicks fan, some believe this pick is meant to be.
Main concerns with Anthony come with efficiency and field goal percentages. Anthony shot 38% from the field and 34.8% from three. NBA executives believe this to be a reason for Anthony to fall possibly out of the lottery (picks 1-14). One thing with Anthony that cannot be ignored however, was the lack of talent around him at North Carolina. The Tar Heels had a disappointing season, recording only 14 wins and 19 losses, 14 of them coming within the conference.
With Anthony taking a high percentage of shots while also being surrounded by lackluster talent, it is no wonder why his field goal percentages took a decline. Surrounded with the right talent, Anthony can possibly develop into an elite scorer in the NBA.
Option 3: Going Forward?
If the Knicks are not in love with one of the point guards available at 8, the might look to the forward position. There are already people within the Knicks organization that support the pick of Isaac Okoro (F Auburn) and Devin Vassell (F Florida State) at 8.
Okoro (6'6 225) averaged almost 13 points to go along with 4.4 rebounds and 2 assists. In his 28 games played at Auburn, he had a 51.4% field goal percentage (which is very promising), but only shot 29% from three which is considerably less than average. He makes up for his three point shooting with his effort at the defensive end however. Averaging almost 1 block and 1 steal per game.
Vassell, a 6'6 180 pound forward averaged similar offense stats to Okoro, at almost 13 points per game as well as 5 rebounds and 1.6 assists. What sets him apart from Okoro however is the three point shooting. Vassell shot 41 and a half percent from three while shooting 49% from the field and exudes stellar defensive potential (averaged 1.1 blocks and steals per game).
The New York Knicks certainly have a plethora of options at eight, that will put plenty of pressure on the front office, to make the right pick and move this team forward instead of remaining stagnant. The anticipation builds as all Knick fans await the future.