New York Knicks NBA Mock Draft 2020: Prospects to Target

Draft History

New York KnicksIt’s becoming a trend that teams with poor draft histories have struggled to find success in the NBA. The New York Knicks are no exception. The team has consistently failed to maximize their draft capital and get out of the bottom of the Eastern Conference. While the Houston Rockets have only had three losing season in the entire 21st century, the New York Knicks have only had four seasons above the .500 mark. Something has to change with the New York Knicks and that change should hopefully begin with the 2020 NBA Draft.

The Knicks’ only successful draft picks, strong role player to all-star, in the past decade have been Iman Shumpert in 2011, Tim Hardaway Jr. in 2013, and Kristaps Porzingis in 2015. However, due to mismanagement, none of these players remain on the team. With Porzingis being a perennial all-star that the Knicks don’t have, his absence is even more devastating to Knicks fans. The past three drafts have seen the Knicks draft Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilinka, and RJ Barrett with high lottery picks. Sadly, the first two have not impressed and are likely fringe starters at their best. The jury is still out on RJ Barrett as he didn’t have the most impressive first season either.

The Knicks have got to do better. They drafted Frank Ntilinka when guys like Zach Collins, Luke Kennard, Donovan Mitchell, Bam Adebayo, and John Collins were still on the board. In 2018, the Knicks drafted Kevin Knox when Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Mikal Bridges, Miles Bridges, and Donte DiVincenzo were all still available. Let’s just hope the Knicks get it right in 2020.

Team Breakdown

As currently constructed, the Knicks starting five includes Elfrid Payton, RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson. Of the five, I only see Barrett, Randle, and Robinson as safe starters heading into the 2020-2021 season. While a lottery pick, Knox hasn’t shown much when on the floor. For example, Knox hasn’t shot better than 40% from the field in either of his first two seasons. His three-point percentages aren’t any better, failing to reach above 35%. Lastly, he doesn’t rebound or distribute the ball particularly well and is weak on the defensive end of the ball. If the Knicks draft a small forward, which is likely, expect that rookie to compete for the starter role.

Elfrid Payton signed a two year $16 mil contract with the Knicks in 2019. So he will be back in 2020. However, Payton is not the long-term answer at the point guard position for the Knicks and could be relegated to the bench or play a mentor role for a point guard the Knicks draft. This would mean that Frank Ntilinka may soon be on his way out of New York via a trade. While disheartening given the investment, the Knicks need to find their point guard of the future, especially on that complements RJ Barrett.

Lastly, the Knicks lacked more depth at the wing positions. After RJ Barrett and a disappointing Kevin Knox, the team doesn’t have many viable perimeter players. I look for the team to add this player with their early second-round pick. A combination of the second-round pick, Kevin Knox, Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis, and potentially Elfrid Payton is a good bench unit that will hold its own on the court. If the Knicks do it right, they could have a very exciting roster come next season.

Draft Range

The Knicks come into the 2020 draft with two first-round picks. The first of which is projected to be number six while the second first-round pick is projected to be 25. The Knicks also have the opportunity to add to their draft night with the projected 38th pick in the draft. In that range, the Knicks can certainly find a steady contributor. With R.J. Barrett, Julius Randle, and a slew of young emerging players, the New York Knicks are in a great position to build a core that will last them for years. For the sake of Knicks fans, we hope this core can turn the team into a winning franchise.

The Knicks are set at shooting guard and power forward with Barrett and Randle. I would also argue that the Knicks are set at the center position with Mitchell Robinson. With so many moving parts such as Elfrid Payton, Taj Gibson, Dennis Smith Jr., and more, I can’t pinpoint the exact direction the Knicks will go in this draft. However, I am very confident in saying the Knicks will target at least one perimeter player that complements R.J. Barrett’s skill set. If I had to best guess, this would be a point guard with the lottery pick, and a small forward with the late first-round pick. With the second-round pick, I assume they go perimeter again given their depth in the frontcourt. Overall, this draft gives the Knicks the opportunity to change the course of their franchise.

Prospects to Target

Again, I’m looking at the Knicks to target the point guard and small forward position with their first-round picks. With their early second-round pick, I expect the Knicks to draft another young perimeter player to provide depth to their bench. Their frontcourt is set for the present and future, so no need to waste draft capital on a position the rookie most likely won’t even get playing time. As I continually mention, if the Knicks get this pick right, they could be set for the future at all five starting positions.

Deni Avdija

SF 6-9 210 Lbs. – Israel


With Deni Avdija, the potential is limitless. He reminds me a lot of Luka Doncic, with his gifted passing ability and a jack-of-all-trades forward. He can play four positions on the court and effectively be a secondary point guard. This is especially valuable for the Knicks who lacked that secondary ball-handler on the perimeter.

The accolades continue with Deni Avdija. I love his shooting ability. He has a mean step-back, can effectively hit threes and mid-rangers, and can create his own shot. He’s great off the pick and roll which will work well alongside Julius Randle, a pick and roll monster in his own right. While he has all this offensive potential, his defense has been above average as well. I see him as a valuable addition to the duo of Barrett and Randle with the potential to become a Doncic-Esque point forward.

Killian Hayes

PG 6-5 195 Lbs. – France


Hayes is simply put a fit on almost every team. He’s the quintessential point guard that every franchise needs – playmaking, shooting, and defense – at the position. His ceiling is out of this world and should easily contribute to the success of the Knicks. No longer should the Knicks have lapses on offense with Hayes on the court. He has a knack for making plays out of nothing.

I was thoroughly impressed with Hayes’s shooting ability. With a remarkable ninety percent free throw percentage, Hayes is a natural shooter. In addition, Hayes shot 39 percent from three. He’s shown an ability to be an elite perimeter shooter in the Eurocup which will translate to the NBA. Furthermore, his mechanics are nearly perfect. He keeps his elbows to his side, releases the ball at its highest point, and finishes with fluidity. With his passing and shooting ability, Hayes will keep coaches up at night.

Speaking of passing ability, Hayes’ vision is extraordinary and accurate. He knows where his guys should be before they get there. His passes are pinpoint accurate, catching guys right in stride. I love the touch he puts on his passes, it just seems so smooth when watching his tape. Overall, he’s a creative playmaker that will constantly destroy defenders that fall asleep and force the opposing offense to stay on their toes.

Josh Green

SG 6-5 200 Lbs. – Arizona


At 6-6 210 pounds, Green has an ideal frame to play the shooting guard position What’s great about Green is that he understands how to leverage his frame. For example, Green uses his 6-11 wingspan to jump passing lanes at an elite level (1.5 Steals per game). He’s an in-your-face defender that knows how to dig his feet into the ground and square up on post-ups.

While listed as a shooting guard, Green took over the point guard role when fellow draft prospect Nico Mannion sat. Under Green, the offense thrived as he showed great ball-handling skills and court vision, making nearly every pass required without turning the ball over. I like Green playing the point guard position in spurts for his NBA team. He forces opposing coaches to gameplan against a look totally different from Eric Bledsoe. Also, I love that Green is unselfish with the ball in his hands. He’s always willing to make the extra pass, displaying his high basketball IQ in the process. Any coach will love to add him to their team.

He fits well with Barrett given his length and potential to be an elite three and d player. With Barrett, Randle, and Robinson struggling to shoot the ball, Josh Green is a must. If the Knicks go for Hayes of Avdija, the Knicks have two starters that can space the floor.

Immanuel Quickley

PG 6-5 185 Lbs. – Kentucky


After coming to Kentucky for an additional season, Quickley showed an improved game at all aspects of the floor. Now, he enters the draft as the quintessential do-it-all prospect, one that can create plays for himself and his teammates, shoot at an efficient range, play good defense, crash the boards, and anticipate passing lanes. However, Quickley just doesn’t do anything at an elite level which is why he is an early second-round prospect. Despite his lack of elite traits, I think Quickley could make a name for himself in the league as a capable starting point guard that won’t take care of the ball, shoot when needed, and make plays.

While the Knicks have Elfrid Payton, Payton is a non-shooter who doesn’t fit Barrett and Randle given their inability to shoot the basketball. While Quickley is not the most polished shooter, he’s great at catch and shoot situations which will contribute to some spacing on his team. Again, what’s nice about him starting on the bench is that he gets the time and leash to grow his shooting stroke. Quickley has Shai Gilgeous-Alexander type upside.


With at least one of the two points guards in LaMelo Ball and Killian Hayes being available at the pick number six, I likely see the Knicks going in that direction. Both are elite point guard prospects with all-star potential. I have no problem with the move given their need for an elite point guard to lead this core. While the Pistons are the only team that truly needs a point guard in the top five, another team such as the Timberwolves or even Warriors could look to add one of these elite guards. And at that draft position, it is more imperative to draft the best player available. That is why I presented the Deni Avidja scenario.

If the Knicks can’t get Hayes or Ball, the next best option for this team is Deni Avidja. As of now, he’s a “poor man’s Doncic” but not too poor. I love his above-average defense to go alongside his elite passing and shooting ability. He perfectly complements RJ Barrett as Barrett is more of the stereotypical isolation slasher. On the other hand, Avdija is the more finesse playmaker for his teammates. I love this fit the most with RJ Barrett out of all the top ten prospects.

With their late first-round pick, I could see the Knicks go a variety of directions, but I don’t think point guard is feasible at this position. All the second tier point guard prospects are expected to go before the Knicks pick and the next viable point guard, Immanuel Quickley is projected around pick 40. I don’t see the Knicks reaching for Quickley at pick 25. Instead, I see the Knicks going for depth/insurance at the shooting guard/small forward position. Out of all the perimeter players in this range, I think Josh Green is the most polished. He fits well alongside Barrett with his ability to create his own shot and dish it out to his teammates. He’s a natural leader with a high IQ and will boost the team’s bench on day one.

With the early second-round pick, I think the Knicks go with Quickley. He’s eerily similar to Gilgeous-Alexander with his all-around ability. He has room to grow offensively, but his presence on defense will be a plus for this team off the bench. Getting drafted in the second round also lowers the expectations on Quickley, which is especially helpful given the New York media market. I love the long-term fit of Quickley on this squad.

Miles Jasper is an incoming law student studying employment and labor law. Miles’ passions lie within the salary cap, collective bargaining, and labor relations between leagues and their players. He also likes to analyze college prospects and participate in fantasy sports. In his free time, Miles is an avid runner who also enjoys poker, cooking, and watching movies.

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