2021 nba draft
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Mock drafts are all over the place for the 2021 NBA Draft. Who do the experts have the New York Knicks taking?

Danny Small

It’s going to be a different kind of draft night for the New York Knicks this year. For the first time since 2016, they won’t have a lottery pick to make.

However, that doesn’t mean they will be completely quiet in the first round. New York owns the 19th and 21st picks in the draft, which might be enough compensation to move up for their guy.

So who do the experts think the Knicks are going to take in the first round? Let’s take a look.

ESPN — Jonathan Givony

#19 — Jared Butler, PG, Baylor

Excerpt: “One of the deeper teams in the NBA, the Knicks could look to bolster their backcourt with Butler, who can play on or off the ball and whose readiness could be very attractive at this stage of the draft. He is a capable ball handler, shooter and defender and showed he already knows how to play an efficient role alongside other good players en route to winning a national championship while earning Most Outstanding Player honors in the NCAA tournament.”

#21 — Sharife Cooper, PG, Auburn

Excerpt: “While it remains to be seen how much of an appetite the Knicks will have for adding two first-round picks to their already crowded rotation, if they do keep the pick, they can afford to take a swing on whichever prospect they deem to have the highest long-term upside regardless of positional fit. There’s a strong case to be made for Cooper as the most talented player available at No. 23. He’s an elite ball handler and passer who is an absolute wizard operating out of pick-and-roll thanks to his terrific burst, creativity and feel for the game.”

SB Nation — Ricky O’Donnell

#19 — Sharife Cooper, PG, Auburn

Excerpt: “Cooper is one of the great shot creators in this class, but his arrival into the draft comes with questions about his size and shooting ability. Cooper’s freshman debut at Auburn was delayed by eligibility issues, but once he got on the court he put up the highest assist rate (51.2 percent) in the country. He was a master at drawing fouls (he went 18-for-21 at the line in a win over Missouri) and showed incredible creativity as both a passer and ball handler. Fixing Cooper’s three-point stroke (22.8 percent on the year) will be a massive undertaking, and he’s likely always a defensive liability given his size (6’1, 180 pounds). There’s no denying how uniquely talented he is at creating for his teammates, though, which gives him a great opportunity to outplay this type of draft slot.”

#21 — Chris Duarte, SG, Oregon

Excerpt: “Duarte spent a couple years at the JUCO level before transferring into Oregon and establishing himself as one of the better three-and-D prospects in this class. The 6’6 wing hit 42.4 percent of his threes and 63.1 percent of his two-point attempts this season while shooting 81 percent at the foul line. Duarte also a sky-high 3.2 percent steal rate and 2.8 block rate while showing impressive perimeter mobility for the Ducks. He’s already 24 years old and will be the oldest player drafted in this class, but his easy projection to an NBA role makes him a worthy option in the late first.”

Bleacher Report — Jonathan Wasserman

#19 — Chris Duarte, SG, Oregon

#21 — Usman Garuba, F/C, Real Madrid

Excerpt: “We have the Knicks taking Garuba at No. 21, but if they aren’t able to package this pick with No. 19 to move up, it wouldn’t be surprising if they traded it outright, knowing they pick again at No. 32. It’s highly unlikely they keep all three selections. Regardless, Garuba is a coach Tom Thibodeau-type player, given his elite defensive IQ.”

The Athletic — Sam Vecenie

#19 — Isaiah Jackson, C, Kentucky

Excerpt: “In this case, drafting Jackson could give them some insurance if they decide not to pay Mitchell Robinson this summer and just pick up his fourth-year team option. Given the way their defense has operated with Noel in the middle after Robinson was injured, I don’t think I’d be beating down the door to pay Robinson more than $15 million per season. Drafting a center like Jackson could give them the kind of high upside that Robinson also presents while restarting the rookie contract timeline and keeping the salary cap sheet clean for other fits this summer and into the future.”

#21 — Jalen Johnson, F, Duke

Excerpt: “The Knicks had a ton of success this year with a big playmaker in Julius Randle, with him initiating from the high post and passing to teammates. He also was good at grabbing and going off the glass and creating offense quickly. Johnson, if he hits his ceiling as a scorer, could play a pretty similar role.”

Elite Sports NY — Danny Small

#19 — Jared Butler, PG, Baylor

Excerpt: “The Knicks are searching for a long-term option at point guard for the umpteenth year. Jared Butler is as steady as they come and he could become an immediate contributor for the Knicks. He is dealing with a heart issue and has yet to be cleared for the draft.”

#21 — Chris Duarte, SG, Oregon

Excerpt: “We aren’t so sure that the Knicks are holding onto picks No. 19 and 21 (they could package them to trade up to the lottery), but if they do, Chris Duarte would be a steal here. He’s a dogged defender who can play on or off the ball on offense. If there is any player who screams ‘Thibs guy’ in this draft, it’s Duarte.”