It seems like year in and year out, the Knicks are constantly changing directions. They didn’t have much of a concrete vision last summer as they signed a plethora of veterans to pair with their young talented players. Recently, there are reports saying that the Knicks will be making a play for a veteran star like Chris Paul, another potential move that again blurs the direction that they want their franchise to head into.
Having said that, the Knicks also have a decision to make in the upcoming draft. They have the 8th overall selection, although there are also speculations that they will try to move up the draft to possibly select a more elite prospect like LaMelo Ball.
But assuming that the Knicks will keep their 8th pick, here’s a couple of names that the team should target, particularly in providing steady reinforcement to their shaky backcourt.
Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State
It doesn’t take an expert to see that New York needs a steadier hand in the point guard position. Obviously, the Frank Ntilikina experiment has been tiring. It doesn’t mean that the Knicks should just give up on Ntilikina and get rid of him. I just think that they are developing him the wrong way.
Instead of grooming him to be a primary ball-handler, the Knicks could also look into developing him into the mould of a Marcus Smart. Ntilikina’s length and instincts make him a very good defender, and making him as an off-guard will help him focus on improving his shooting and finishing abilities.
Having mentioned all these, the Knicks should make Haliburton their top priority in the draft. At 6-foot-5, Haliburton comes with excellent length for the point guard role, although he may have to bulk up more. But his passing vision is tremendous. He shows patience in letting plays develop, rather than forcing things and making those jump-passes that coaches absolutely discourage. His shooting form is unorthodox and a bit slow in the release, but his stellar 42% clip from the three-point line proves that he has the capacity to be a deadly long-range gunner.
On top of all these, Haliburton thrives on defense. He is not a vertically-explosive athlete, but his lateral quickness is off the charts. Playing him together with Ntilikina and Mitchell Robinson could wreak havoc in the defensive end, especially considering that Haliburton’s off-ball defensive instincts are already advanced.
Killian Hayes, Ratiopharm Ulm
Hayes is another playmaking prospect that the Knicks should consider. Like Haliburton, Hayes is a 6’5 point guard who already has vast experience in playing overseas. He is not as athletically-gifted as other prospects, but his feel for the game makes him an outstanding facilitator.
Hayes is not a speedy ball-handler, but his ability to effectively accelerate and decelerate helps him get by his defenders. He makes the right decisions in pick-and-roll situations, and has a variety of creative finishes around the rim.
However, Hayes has to pick up more on his off-ball scoring abilities to co-exist with RJ Barrett. If Hayes can show off a decent three-point shot, he and Barrett will be able to find ways to complement each other.