It’s been a long time since the New York Knicks made a truly impactful selection in the NBA draft. That could very well change in 2015, when the team is all but guaranteed to have a top pick in the first round.
Through 49 games, the Knicks have the league’s second-worst record at 10-39. They are just one game ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves, who currently have a 25 percent chance to get the No.1 overall pick in the lottery. New York is three games behind the Los Angeles Lakers, who have the fourth-worst record in the NBA.
New York hasn’t even possessed a first-round pick in three of the last five years. They’ve had four lottery picks in the last 12 years, none of which spent more than 3.5 years with the team or ever become an All-Star. The upcoming draft, though, will have some very talented players selected at the top, and the Knicks have a very good chance of getting one of the first few selections.
Below are three potential draft picks for the Knicks in 2015.
The Duke freshman is clearly the top prize in the draft. He was the No.1 prospect before the season started, and has more than lived up to expectations, averaging 18.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. He isn’t a freak athlete, but he looks ready to have an immediate impact as an offensive player in the NBA.
New York needs help at every position, but they’ll likely have to replace their top scoring big man. Amare Stoudemire is a free agent this summer, and he could be gone before the season ends. The Knicks have reportedly talked about buying Stoudemire out, and the veteran has said he’ll weigh all of his options.
He might be the best prospect available, other than Okafor. There isn’t as much known about him as other potential draftees, since he decided to sign a $1.2 million contract to play in China, but he’s thrived overseas. NBA executives have told Yahoo Sports that the point guard has increased his draft stock, averaging 17.7 points, six rebounds and six assists per game.
However, an injury has limited Mudiay’s playing time in China. After playing just 10 games, an ankle injury prematurely ended his season. Playing so few games could affect his draft stock, but the Knicks might still take him with a top-three draft pick. Kyrie Irving played just 11 games in his one season at Duke, and he went on to be the draft’s No.1 pick and be named the Rookie of the Year.
The freshman has been extremely impressive in his first season with Ohio State, averaging 19.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game. He exhibits an elite shooting ability, making 44.6 percent of the 6.4 three-pointers he attempts each game, and his skills as a passer should translate nicely at the next level.
Even when the Knicks made the playoffs a few years ago, the team was, somewhat, lacking in the backcourt. Now that they have traded J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, they need a guard that can make plays. Langston Galloway has emerged as a nice surprise this year, but it’s unknown how well he would play over the length of a full season.