The New York Knicks picked up an additional 2020 first-round pick from the Clippers when they sent Marcus Morris out west, at the deadline. That pick could bring some valuable talent to MSG.
At the February trade deadline, the New York Knicks dealt Marcus Morris to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for their first-round pick. If the NBA season is suspended, that first-round pick is currently slated to be the 27th selection in the draft.
While this upcoming draft class is littered with talent, it isn’t as top-heavy as years past. There is no consensus number one pick like Zion Williamson in 2019, Ben Simmons in 2017, or Anthony Davis in 2012. With lottery teams trying to swing for the fences in hopes of picking up a superstar, there will be many solid players that fall to pick 27. Here are three that the Knicks should draft if they’re available.
The University of Maryland power forward had an incredibly successful sophomore season, improving in virtually every statistic. Jalen Smith averaged 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game while making the All-Big Ten first team. His relentless energy, combined with his otherworldly athleticism, made for some impressive highlights.
While his defense is his calling card, he’s starting to show an improved body of work on offense. Smith put up his 2020 numbers as mentioned earlier on 54/37/75 shooting splits, suggesting that he can also space the floor in the pros. With RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson doing most of their damage in the paint, a potential stretch four like Jalen Smith could compliment them perfectly.
“3&D players” are highly coveted throughout the NBA, and Texas Tech guard Jahmi’us Ramsey has all the makings of one. His stats of 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game are solid, but they don’t tell the full story.
Ramsey is a stalwart defender, and his ability to fight through screens is extremely underrated. He’s also shot 43 percent from three on the year while averaging 5.2 attempts per game, Ramsey isn’t afraid to let it go from deep. His form is exact, and he’s adept at shooting both off the dribble and in catch-and-shoot situations.
While he can be inconsistent at times, his overall production with the Red Raiders is undoubtedly more than enough to justify a New York Knicks selection near the end of the first round. He’s also just 18-years-old.
Duke freshman Cassius Stanley shares the same position as Ramsey, but their styles of play couldn’t be more different. Stanley is one of the most athletic players in the entire draft, producing highlight-worthy dunks on a nightly basis.
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His athleticism is elite, but other aspects of his game need some improvement. His scoring comes to mind first, as he put up just 12.6 points per game. His shooting splits of 47/36/73 are passable, but it’s unclear if his jumper can translate to the pros.
Selecting Stanley would be a high-risk, high-reward decision. He could still end up being a solid role player without a consistent shot, similar to what dunk contest-winner Derrick Jones Jr. does for the Miami Heat.
The New York Knicks could find a diamond in the rough with the Clippers’ first-round pick. It may very well be one of these three.