The New York Knicks have plenty of options available if they want to draft a shooting guard who can boost the offense.
The New York Knicks need some offense and the best place to find it is in the NBA Draft.
Last week, we discussed point guards the team could draft. Even with Damian Lillard rumors swirling, the Knicks desperately need help at the position and should look to draft accordingly.
But what about shooting guard? Sure, RJ Barrett and Reggie Bullock can interchange at the 2 and 3, but the Knicks still ranked 26th in scoring offense. The team’s struggles were only magnified in the playoffs not only by Julius Randle shutting down, but no one being able to keep up with Atlanta’s Trae Young and Keven Huerter.
This means that with the Nos. 19 and 21 picks in the NBA Draft, the New York Knicks would also be wise to consider a shooting guard. Granted, the Knicks’ pick(s) wouldn’t necessarily play significant minutes, but would still add some much-needed punch on offense.
Meanwhile, these five prospects could be good fits at Madison Square Garden.
No. 5: Josh Christopher, Arizona State
Christopher has athleticism for days and can absolutely handle a demanding coach in Tom Thibodeau. He’s not much of a shooter and his scoring potential is heavy on upside, but he’s still only 19 years old. RJ Barrett took a big step forward after his rookie season, and so could Christopher in his own career.
As to his fit with the New York Knicks, Christopher is a bit of an odd duck. Assuming Alec Burks leaves in free agency, he’ll likely be asked to provide instant points off the bench. That’s a lot to ask of a rookie, particularly one who also needs to work on defense. But Josh Christopher has legitimate talent as well as ridiculous upside. Playing for Thibodeau, he could soon become a good fit in New York.
No. 4: James Bouknight, UConn
Bouknight fits the New York Knicks almost to a tee. He grew up in Brooklyn and played at the renowned La Salle Academy before transferring to prep school in Massachusetts. Furthermore, on a recent Zoom call at the NBA Draft Combine, Bouknight said playing in New York “would be a dream come true.”
Bouknight has the height at 6’5″ to play the 2 and averaged 18.7 points for the Huskies last season. He needs to improve his shooting, having shot just 29.3% from three. Turnovers could also be a bug-a-boo his rookie season. Thankfully, he can hold his own on defense and that plus his scoring could net him some minutes off the bench in a Knicks uniform.
No. 3: Cameron Thomas, LSU
Thomas is absolutely fearless with the ball in his hands, which is both a blessing and a curse. He averaged 23 points per game for the Tigers last season, but shot just 40.6% from the field and 32.5% from downtown. His defense is also suspect and he posted a -0.8 defensive box plus/minus (DBPM).
Yet, if Burks leaves, Thomas’ energy off of the New York Knicks bench would be infectious. While he works on his range, he’ll have no problem driving to the basket for some buckets. Thomas also does a good job limiting his turnovers and has the motor to keep up with Thibodeau’s demands.
No 2: Moses Moody, Arkansas
Like any shooting guard, Moses Moody is prone to streakiness. He can drive the lane and is even confident in the mid-range, and is fairly competent on defense. In his sole season at Arkansas, Moody posted 16.8 points on 42.7% shooting, and even made 35.8% of his threes.
Like everyone on this list, Moody’s purpose on the New York Knicks is to provide offense off the bench. There’s still room for improvement with his range, and he’ll have the usual growing pains associated with any freshman entering the pros. So long as he listens to his coaches and they, in turn, are patient with him, Moody will succeed in New York.
No. 1: Chris Duarte, Oregon
Chris Duarte makes sense for the New York Knicks for several reasons. On the basketball side, he was an absolute monster for the Ducks in 2020-21. He posted 17.1 points per game and shot an unbelievable 53.2% from the field and 42.4% from three-point range. This culminated in a TS% of 65.7, and Duarte also had a 3.6 DBPM.
But let’s shift away from basketball and focus on Duarte’s own story. He grew up in the Dominican Republic and played his last two years of high school basketball in Troy, New York, about 150 miles north of MSG. On top of being an absolute spark off the bench, there’s a bigger reason he fits.
New York City has a large Dominican community and in drafting Duarte, the Knicks would tap into a whole new group of fans. A sea of Dominican flags would become the norm at the Garden. The Kid Mero is already a huge Knicks fan. Think of how much he’d love the team if Duarte wore the orange and blue!
Anyway, like many NBA rookies, Duarte first needs to learn how to play outside of a fast-paced college offense. If he can keep up with Thibodeau, he could become a fan favorite overnight.
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