It turns out that some New York Knicks fans were just screaming into the void, as their prayers for lottery luck went unanswered when the team was granted the 11th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Another year and another pick that won’t be high enough to help turn the franchise around.
Now, this isn’t to say that there aren’t promising players the Knicks should be thrilled with drafting in that range. However, picking late in the lottery traditionally hasn’t been kind to this team.
As much as I trust the front office given their drafting track record, I would much rather see the 11th pick get moved in a trade package for the right price. Trading up or using the pick to off-load some contracts and/or get a young established player better fits New York’s current situation.
What does a lottery pick mean for the New York Knicks?
Additionally, a player picked 11th overall should ideally have a role with significant playing time. So that begs the question, does the team even have the room for who they’d potentially pick?
I think that the answer to that question at the moment is an emphatic no. Essentially, I don’t see the value in adding a rookie to the Knicks’ currently constructed roster. There are too many players in New York, young, old, and everything in between, that deserve minutes.
The best scenario to come from using the pick to draft a new player would be finding the point guard of the future. The pick isn’t high enough to draft top prospects Jaden Ivey or Shaedon Sharpe, and it’s likely too low to nab TyTy Washington Jr. or Bennedict Mathurin. Even Dyson Daniels could be out of reach.
But, even if one of these guys were there for the taking, the Knicks already have players at point guard who deserve a shot at running the show. Many fans have come around to the idea of moving forward with Immanuel Quickley as the starter, while Deuce McBride has shown he can be an impact player.
Let’s say that New York drafts a wing. The consensus in draft circles seems to be that if you can draft one of those point guards then the Knicks should attempt to acquire someone like Johnny Davis because “you can’t have too many wings.”
That sounds fine until you realize that RJ Barrett, Quentin Grimes, and Cam Reddish should all be playing at least 18+ minutes a night. And if Evan Fournier and Alec Burks stick around, those guys will already be eating into most of the available minutes at shooting guard and small forward.
And we all know the duo of Julius Randle and Obi Toppin is a crowded enough situation at power forward.
Alright, fine, I guess we gotta go with a big-man right? Mitchell Robinson isn’t guaranteed to return and Taj Gibson can be waived at a moment’s notice. It’s also a foregone conclusion at this point that Nerlens Noel is gone. Drafting a center is the solution, right?
Weeeell… I probably don’t need to remind you that the year is 2022 and that the NBA is a very guard and wing-oriented league.
Even at No. 11, it isn’t very wise to draft a center simply to fill the position. It’s arguably the easiest position in basketball to replace. If your name doesn’t start with Nikola, Joel, Bam, Rudy, Karl, or DeAndre then teams won’t really be bent out of shape choosing someone else over you.
It also just so happens that the top three players in the draft are all 6’10 and taller. New York doesn’t have a shot at those guys even in a trade-up scenario. Jalen Duran and Mark Williams are cool, but are they big enough game-changers? Probably not. The Knicks are likely just as better off sticking with Jericho Sims and signing a free agent center.
Basically, New York has a ton of routes that could be taken in the draft. Leon Rose and company will have their hands full on all fronts this offseason. Many decisions are on the way regarding roster construction. But based on who is on the team right now, there isn’t a clear-cut answer to what kind of player they should select, if they even select one at all.