New York Knicks: Players to Draft in Worst-Case Lottery Scenario
Here are three players who fit the mold of having heavy amounts of star potential and bust potential.
The Knicks have shown a tendency to draft based on potential. This has worked in some cases (Mitchell Robinson) and failed in others (Kevin Knox). In 2020, we could see the Knicks go in a similar direction depending on how the ping pong balls fall.
The son of former Knick Greg Anthony, point guard Cole Anthony had an up-and-down season with North Carolina. The former third-ranked high school player in the country averaged 18.5 points per game in college, but there were still many concerns. His finishing at the rim was poor (38% from the field), his passing numbers were mediocre (4.0 assists, 3.5 turnovers) and his defense was questionable at times.
However, there were also positive signs; his shooting from deep was much better than his 35% mark indicates, as he took just under seven attempts per game while often firing away from well beyond the three-point line.
His teammates were also very poor shooters, which could be an answer to the meaning behind his low assist numbers. UNC shot just 30.4% from three collectively, which ranked 313th in college basketball. Anthony might also blossom playing in Madison Square Garden, as he is a self-proclaimed New York Knicks fan.
The Knicks have been linked to stretch bigs like Danilo Gallinari and Christian Wood in free agency, but they could potentially fill that role by selecting Serbian power forward Aleksej Pokuševski in the draft.
Pokuševski put up modest numbers of 10.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game in Greece, but his potential is astounding. The seven-footer hit 1.4 threes per game on 32.1% shooting, which looks even more promising due to his smooth form and 78% mark on free throws.
He also racked up 1.8 blocks and 1.3 steals per game, while averaging an amazing 4.8 assists per-36 minutes. Serbia has produced lots of NBA talent as of late which includes Nikola Jokić, Bogdan Bogdanović, and the fun-loving 7’4″ Boban Marjanović.
There is always a large amount of risk when drafting unproven foreign players, but Pokuševski seems like a risk worth taking.
Aaron Nesmith is expected to be a fringe lottery pick for one obvious reason: shooting. Nesmith had his collegiate season cut short due to a foot injury, but he still impressed scouts in his 14 appearances.
The 6’6″ guard/forward hybrid shot 52.2% from three on 8.2 attempts per game. His shooting isn’t sustainable for a full NBA season, but his 82.5% free throw mark helps show that his video game-like numbers can translate to the pros.
If they don’t, it’s a different story, Nesmith doesn’t have much going for him outside of his jumper and his defense, rebounding, and passing all need extensive work. Additionally, it’s always risky to draft a player based on 14-game sample sizes.
Nesmith could be the next Tim Hardaway Jr., or he could be the next Klay Thompson.