All of the suffering last season — the 65 losses, the Carmelo Anthony knee problems, the D-League-level starters — led the Knicks to tonight’s NBA draft. No, the Knicks did not secure the No. 1 pick. Or the second. Or the third. But there remain talented players the Knicks could come away with if they cannot find a partner with which to trade down.
If either Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor or D’Angelo Russell slip past the top three, the pick would seem to be a no-brainer for the Knicks. Assuming they don’t — and they probably won’t — here are amNY’s picks for who would benefit the Knicks the most going forward.
Although just 19, Mudiay — who was born in Democratic Republic of Congo, schooled in Dallas and played professionally in China — has tremendous upside. Although the Knicks may want someone who can help more immediately, the 6-5 Mudiay is a slashing point guard that figures to become a stout defender and, perhaps in a few years, an All-Star.
Everyone keeps asking if the stretch forward from Latvia is Dirk Nowitzki or Darko Milicic. Forget that question; he’s the Zinger, and he’s somewhere in between. Porzingis played meaningful minutes against the best in Europe, posting statistics roughly in line with most of Kentucky’s finest. With a wide array of skills, he shouldn’t be a stiff in the NBA and could become a star.
It won’t be hard for the Knicks to find someone through free agency who can help Melo score, but Cauley-Stein can make up for many of the team’s issues on defense. A relatively rare three-year college player with top-five draft stock, the versatile big man will make Derek Fisher happy with his staunch defense and allow Anthony to put more focus on what he does best: scoring.