jaden ivey
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

If the Knicks pick high in the lottery, they should take a long look at these five players.

The writing is on the wall for the New York Knicks. After blowing a 28-point lead to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, the Knicks appear destined for the lottery.

New York currently owns the ninth-best lottery odds, but they could potentially move all the way up to five in that department. Even if they finish as low as ninth, that would give them a 17.4% chance at a top-four pick.

If the Knicks were to land a high-lottery pick, who should they target? Here are five prospects who they could target with one of those picks.

Jabari Smith Jr., Auburn

Jabari Smith Jr. is one of my favorite players in this draft. Where should we start? His size and athleticism? Defensive versatility? Three-point shooting?

Smith is a 6-foot-10 wing who can cover just about anybody on the floor and although he’s not completely comfortable initiating offense yet, he’s knocking down threes at a 42% clip.


If the shot creation comes, Smith could be a perennial All-Star and a franchise cornerstone. If it doesn’t he’s going to be a dominant defender who can serve as an off-ball threat on offense. It’s impossible to dislike Smith.

Paolo Banchero

Paolo Banchero is a scorer’s scorer in a 6-foot-10 body. Would drafting Banchero add to the logjam at power forward? Yes, but it might still be worth it to take the Duke freshman at this spot.

Julius Randle’s future in New York isn’t set in stone and Obi Toppin hasn’t proved that he can become a legitimate starter in the NBA yet. Banchero is oozing with talent and could eventually be the No. 1 option the Knicks need.

Chet Holmgren

Next up is Chet Holmgren, the combo big man who might look like he’s a kid, but he plays like a beast.

Holmgren has been near the top of 2022 mock drafts for years and his freshman season at Gonzaga is further proof that he belongs. Holmgren is producing at an insane clip on a loaded roster. He dropped 18 points, hauled in 17 rebounds, and blocked four shots in a recent game against Pepperdine.

There are going to be concerns from teams about his slight frame, but his incredible skillset is going to outweigh those concerns for a lot of teams.

Jaden Ivey

OK, it’s time to shift the focus from the big men to the ballhandlers. The Knicks are still in desperate need of a point guard of the future. Jaden Ivey is more of a combo guard, but he has tremendous upside as a ballhandler.

Although his pick-and-roll game in the halfcourt might take some time to develop, he is already elite in transition. His ability to get downhill with speed should eventually translate to the halfcourt.

The point guard of the future? Maybe. Maybe not. But either way, Ivey has a bright future in the NBA as a secondary ballhandler.

Johhny Davis

Johnny Davis is another combo guard who may actually be a wing, but there aren’t many true point guards we think are worth a top-four pick in this draft. The talent among the bigs and these combo guards would likely outweigh New York’s need for a point guard.

Davis is a guy who has flown up draft boards throughout the season. His consistent production for Wisconsin is putting him in National Player of the Year conversations. Top-four might seem like a reach for Davis at this point in the season, but a deep run into the NCAA Tournament could elevate his draft stock even further.

Knicks, Nets, NY/NJ college hoops, and sports betting reporter. Mostly basketball, but a little bit of everything when it comes to NY sports. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.