If the New York Knicks do select a point guard with the eighth overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft, it probably won’t be Cole Anthony.
The North Carolina product who struggled mightily during his freshman year last season plummeted down draft boards after originally being in the conversation for a top-five pick.
A season that saw him shoot just 38% from the floor looks as though it has scared away the Knicks, who are “leaning away” from taking Anthony at No. 8 or even if they trade down to the No. 14 or 15 range, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
It doesn’t mean the Knicks will shy away from taking a point guard — though the pickings are slim in a draft class that isn’t the deepest we’ve seen in recent years.
French product Killian Hayes is projected to be off the board before the Knicks pick, making Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton a potential option for a team that is still starving for a franchise point guard.
The 6-foot-5 sophomore posted 15.2 points and 6.5 assists per game last season with the Cyclones — numbers that won’t necessarily jump off the page at you. But this is a versatile prospect with great passing ability while creating efficient shots for himself. He shot 50.9% from the floor during his two years at Iowa State.
Suddenly the Knicks are presented with a more mature prospect to work with at the point guard position that could be molded under the correct system.
New president Leon Rose is in the midst of instilling a new culture with the Knicks, thus leading to a potential purging of selections that could coincide with the latest rumors linking the team to Oklahoma City Thunder veteran point guard Chris Paul.
There has been plenty of speculation that the Knicks would have to give up Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina as a part of the deal to get the 10-time All-Star.
At 35 years old, Paul’s best days are behind him, but he’s still a productive point guard with a winning pedigree — even if he’s yet to win a championship. He’s made the playoffs 12 of his 15 seasons as his team’s primary floor general, thus bringing an injection of success the Knicks have rarely had in decades past.
With two years left on his current contract, he would also serve as an invaluable teacher to whoever is next in the Knicks’ point-guarding ranks, whether that’s Haliburton, Anthony, or one of the organization’s current options.