After a major step-back in 2021-2022, the New York Knicks will certainly hope to get an impact player with the eleventh pick in the NBA Draft. However, the team should also seriously ponder the idea of hunting for more top-20 picks or trading their selection for a win-now talent.
After a season where the team was one of the biggest surprises in the league and earned the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Knicks fell like an Empire State Building-sized rock in Tom Thibodeau’s second season as head coach. New York finished with a 37-45 record this season and was not even able to secure a spot in a play-in game.
At the start of May, they didn’t find any luck in the NBA Draft lottery either. Despite having a decent percentage chance of scoring a top-seven pick, the Knicks will end up picking at No. 11 in this year’s annual collegiate selection event.
Let’s take a look at the player they will most likely take with their first-round pick, and a couple of other scenarios the team could follow to improve their team for next season and beyond.
2022 New York Knicks draft picks
- 1st round, 11th pick
- 2nd round, 42nd pick
New York Knicks draft Duke center Mark Williams
Heading into the 2022-2023 season, the New York Knicks will have two glaring positional needs. Center and point guard. The team’s floor general spot has constantly been a problem since team legend and NBA Hall-of-Famer Clyde Frazier called it a career in 1979. But, the sort of point guard they really require likely won’t be available at 11.
However, there are some options to fill the center spot that is worthy of being taken at that point in the draft. With Mitchell Robinson likely on his way out after the player and organization couldn’t agree to an extension, coach Thibodeau will want a new anchor for his defense that he can mold. Duke’s Mark Williams would be a perfect fit.
- Mark Williams stats (2021-2022 NCAA): 11.2 PPG, 7.4 REB, 2.8 BLK
The team’s front office has an affinity for Duke and Kentucky talent so that already makes him a strong possibility. But being 7-feet tall, and with a 7-foot-7 wingspan is a darn good start if a team is looking to draft a center. Last season, he was an outstanding rim protector in one of the best conferences in the country, the ACC, and actually shot well from the free-throw line at 73%. Which is not common for big men from the amateur ranks.
This team isn’t likely to be an offensive force next season, however, if they can sure up their defense and be a force on that side of the ball — like they were when they made the playoffs two years ago — that would be a smart way to make the best use of the draft pool.
Knicks add draft capital, trade Julius Randle for 20th pick
If New York’s front office feels they will not be able to turn the franchise around this offseason they could look to build around their young core instead. Which would mean giving 2020 first-round pick Obi Toppin more playing time. A starting lineup with Toppin and Julius Randle in the frontcourt would be a defensive nightmare and give Thibodeau an ulcer. To let Toppin truly shine the team would have to move Randle.
While his value isn’t at a high, a team like the San Antonio Spurs could see the merits in pairing him up with young star Dejounte Murray. The Spurs also have three picks in the first round. A scenario to make the money work would be to move Randle to San Antonio for Doug McDermott, Josh Richardson, and the 20th pick in June’s draft. The Spurs would get a second needed star while the Knicks would continue their youth movement,add a solid shooter, and trade deadline chips.
Knicks move 11th pick and players for Bradley Beal
The Knicks could choose to go for a big star now and move the 11th overall pick, as well as a valuable young talent like Toppin to help land a proven scorer to pair with Randle and budding All-Star RJ Barrett. One player they may be able to get with such a haul and much more could be Bradley Beal.
Beal is on the last year of his contract and there has been rumored interest from the Knicks in the Wizards star for years. A package of the 11th pick, Toppin, Kemba Walker, Alec Burks, Immanuel Quickley, and Cam Reddish should be enough to land Beal. Especially since most of those players have team options after next season.
Past 10 New York Knicks first-round picks
|Kai Jones (traded)
|Keon Jones (traded)
|Tim Hardaway, Jr.