Hey folks! I’ve been mostly writing over at postingandtoasting.com, but today’s article had an overlap with another writer, so I’m posting mine here. Enjoy.
The 2022 NBA Draft will be held this Thursday at 7:30 p.m., and until then, the New York Knicks rumor mill will be grinding out heaps of content for your consumption. Luckily, I’m here to curate for you.
On Monday, Zach Braziller reported in the NY Post that Big Ten Player of the Year Johnny Davis (6’5”, 196 lbs, Wisconsin) feels positive about the prospect of playing for the Knicks.
“I feel that Tom Thibodeau is really high on defensive guys, so I feel like if I was to get drafted by the Knicks I could come in and make an impact immediately on the defensive end especially,” he said over Zoom on Monday.
In his sophomore season, Davis averaged 19.7 points, 8.2 boards, and 2.1 dimes. His 30% three-point shooting is a concern, but the talented wing finds other ways to score, and he gives good effort on defense.
The Knicks spoke with Davis at the Draft Combine in Chicago, but he did not have the pleasure of working out at their Tarrytown facility.
Don’t expect Johnny to wilt in the glare of New York’s bright lights. With a Taco Bell ad already in the can, the dude is already working on being a star.
Later in his article, Braziller reported that, unlike Davis, Mark Williams (7’2”, 243 lbs, Duke) did have an individual work out for the Knicks. In his sophomore season, the Blue Devil center averaged 11.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks.
With unrestricted free agent Mitchell Robinson still not re-signed and Nerlens Noel in a witness protection program, New York might deem it prudent to shore up its depth at the five.
“It went well. I feel like I went after it,” Williams said. “Every drill we did, I feel like I did pretty well. As far as fit, the things I bring to a team immediately, just a guy who’s going to run the floor, catch lobs, defend and protect the rim, want to win. Ultimately, [those are] the biggest things I can bring from Day 1.”
Meanwhile, over at the Daily News, Stefan Bondy was talking Jaden Ivey(6’4”, 205 lbs, Purdue).
According to Bondy, Ivey has not been in contact with the Sacramento Kings, who hold the fourth pick, which is where many Draft watchers rank the guard.
“It’s not a conscious decision,” he said. “I never really made the decision not to talk to Sacramento. It just kind of happened.”
Reportedly, the Kings are open to trading the pick, and Ivey mentioned the Knicks as a team that could land him. As Bondy pointed out, “Ivey is represented by CAA, which is closely associated with the Knicks because it counts team executives Leon Rose and William Wesley as former employees.”
At CAA, Ivey shares an agent with another Knick, Julius Randle. Bondy quoted him as saying:
“Obviously a tremendous opportunity. A tremendous organization in the New York Knicks,” Ivey said. “Obviously I’d be honored to be able to play there. I think they recently just played the playoffs (in 2021). I feel like I can complement that organization and help them win if they drafted me.”
Moving up for Ivey sure seems like a long shot, but he’s a talent worthy of making the attempt. For the Boilermakers last season, he averaged 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists. Think of him as a taller, broader version of Ja Morant. Intrigued?
Another name in Knicks news is Tari Eason (6’8”, 215 lbs, LSU). An exciting wing, Eason averaged 16.9 points and 6.6 rebounds last season. His recognitions include: 2020-21 AAC All-Freshman – 1st Team, 2021-22 All-SEC – 1st Team, and 2021-22 SEC Sixth Man of the Year.
Rather than moving up in the draft, the Knicks could trade down for a mid-round player like Eason. Then they’d get their man and maybe another draft pick, too. Leon Rose & Co. jumped up and down the draft boards the past two years. Don’t be surprised if they do so again.
Finally, there’s AJ Griffin (6’6”, 222 lbs, Duke) still hovering in the wings. The ACC All-Freshman averaged 10.4 points and 3.9 boards in 39 games this season. Forbes reports that the Ossining, NY native would be thrilled to don the blue and orange.
“Obviously, I grew up here and I think that would just be a fun time in New York. I know the plays and I know most of the players. It would be really, really, really good. I don’t know what emotions I would be feeling about that [getting drafted by the Knicks.] I just know it would be exciting. I played at MSG two times last year, it’s just an experience like no other. It would just be an amazing experience.”
Griffin is a promising prospect whose injury history has scared some teams off. If his knee troubles are behind him, Griffin could be an electric player in the NBA.
As a fellow Blue Devil, he has talked with RJ Barrett a time or two. On the subject of playing with RJ, AJ said, “I think just from watching him play and how he plays I think we could be good together.”
Griffin’s last workout was with the Knicks and he called it “great.” In addition, he worked out for San Antonio, New Orleans, Portland, and Indiana.