CHICAGO, IL – JUNE 24: Head Coach Tom Thibodeau, President Leon Rose, and General Manager Scott Perry of the New York Knicks look on during the 2021 NBA Draft Combine on June 24, 2021, at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Talented 2021 NBA Draft Is Only One Night Away, And A Lot Of Eyes Are On The Knicks

For NBA and College Basketball fans, the draft is a night of intrigue and excitement. When you consider that tomorrow night’s draft will be one of the deepest in recent memory, there is certainly a lot to watch for. One of the franchises with plenty of options this offseason is the New York Knicks. The Knicks, who finished 41-31 and were the fourth seed in the East, have the most cap space in the NBA and possess three of the top 32 picks in the draft.

There have been rumblings as to who they may try to select, but it is all speculation as of right now. Let us discuss some of the recent rumors entailing what New York may decide to do.

Trading Up to Snatch Someone

Ever since the Knicks won their two tiebreakers to end up with the 19th and 21st picks in the draft, some people assumed they would use them to move up. Considering that New York had a VERY successful 2020-2021 season, they now qualify as a win-now team, so trading up to select someone who could provide impactful play for them right away is not out of the question. The team has been linked to at least one player who may not be there at 19:

Chris Duarte

This one is perhaps the most likely. The 24-year-old sharpshooter from Oregon is one of the most NBA-ready prospects in the draft, but the Warriors may decide to select him with the 14th pick. The Knicks obviously know this, considering they offered the 19th and 21st pick to Golden State for the 14th, only for it to be declined. New York has worked Duarte out multiple times, most recently by himself.

If he somehow falls to 19, they probably would not hesitate to take him. However, that may be the only way to get him without giving up any young talent already on the roster. Duarte recently had this to say about his Dominican heritage and potentially playing for the Knicks:

“Not a lot of kids make it out and be on the biggest stage. It means a lot to me and my people. It would be great. [New York City] has a big Dominican population. I know I’d have their support. The city is going to crazy if I end up in New York. We’ll see what happens.”

Chris Duarte via NY Post

As tomorrow night inches closer, it is becoming more and more likely that the Knicks will not try to trade up for anyone else besides Duarte, and seem content with picking at 19 and 21. With that being said, we must examine their potential selections with these picks.

Staying at 19, 21, and 32

With trading up off the table, the Knicks still have plenty of options with their remaining picks. It is known that the Knicks, and specifically Tom Thibodeau, are prioritizing wing shooters and point guards when making decisions about who to draft. At 19, 21, and 32, there should be some players remaining on the board who fit their largest needs.

Miles McBride

According to Marc Berman of the NY Post, Thibodeau has been very high on Miles McBride.

“According to one league source, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau was pushing for West Virginia sophomore point guard Miles McBride, who has been projected in some mocks as an early second-round or late first-round pick. It’s unclear at which slot Thibodeau would prefer to select McBride — No. 19 or 21 in the first round, or No. 32 early in the second round — but the 20-year-old impressed him in his Knicks workout.”

Marc Berman, NY Post

The West Virginia guard showcased almost everything the Knicks need out of a point guard. Last year, he averaged 15.8 points per game, 5 assists per game, and 2 steals per game. He increased his 3pt % by 11 points from his freshman year to his sophomore year. He may be a reach at 19 or 21, but if he is still available at 32, the Knicks could be getting the steal of the draft for the second year in a row. Just look at him shutting down the prospective first overall pick, Cade Cunningham:

Via: @ZachMilner13 on Twitter

Trey Murphy III

If the draft had been held three weeks ago, Trey Murphy III would have easily fallen to 19. While this is still possible, it is becoming more likely that he is chosen before then. The 3-and-D wing from Virginia has been rising in many draft boards as of late due to his performance in workouts and the understanding that his game appears to be translatable to the NBA.

Murphy III’s numbers were not as strong in his junior year as his sophomore year but he still increased his three-point percent to 43% and his FG % to above 50%. If the Knicks are fortunate enough to have him fall to them, they will add a much-needed perimeter presence on both sides of the ball.

Knicks Could Still go Other Ways

Despite everything mentioned above, this is all speculation until tomorrow night. Leon Rose, Scott Perry, World Wide Wes, and Tom Thibodeau may decide to go in different directions, but their needs are clear. Look for them to do anything they can to acquire a point guard or wing who can play both sides of the ball. All in all, Knicks fans are hoping to make draft steals simply routine with their picks in one of the deepest drafts in recent memory.

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