Knicks Encouraged to Target Baylor Wing in Upcoming Draft

Jeremy Sochan, New York Knicks

Getty Jeremy Sochan, New York Knicks

The New York Knicks have seldom been a team to rely on the draft for their roster construction.

When you’re one of the biggest markets in the league, you usually have considerable pulling power during the free agency period. Or at least, that’s how things used to be. Now, the Knicks are on a barren run of form that spans the last two decades, and players no longer see the Knicks as a destination where they can settle down with their families.

Until the Knicks return to relevancy, their chances of landing prime targets on the open market are slim. As such, the front office needs to approach their roster construction differently and begin thinking like a small market team looking to contend in a couple of years, which means prioritizing the draft.

Luckily, the Knicks will have a lottery pick this year due to their stop-start performances this season, which will give them a chance to add another high-upside talent to their young core. has the Knicks selecting 11th in the upcoming draft, which should provide New York with a legitimate opportunity to find somebody that can contribute right out of the gate.

In a recent interview between Marc Berman of the New York Post and Seth Greenberg of ESPN, Jeremy Sochan was the draftee named as the best fit for the Knicks and as a player that could impact winning both now and in the future.

“Sochan can shoot the ball and is a very good passer,’’ Greenberg said. “He rebounds his position. His upside is great. He can put it on the floor with skill and has a pretty release. Just has a really good feel for a young player and a competitive spirit that I really like. He’s a legit 6-9 player that has a floor game and plays multiple positions. He can step out and shoot and beat you off the bounce. He’s a guy who I think is really undervalued,” Greenberg told Berman.

The RJ Barrett Conundrum

Part of the issue with drafting another wing is that the Knicks will eventually need to decide on RJ Barrett’s future with the franchise. Judging by his performances to close the season, the former third overall pick is likely part of the team’s future. Still, with most of his minutes coming at the small forward position, Barrett’s presence could limit the potential development of Sochan.

Of course, Barrett has played the shooting guard position in previous years, spending 72% of his time there as a rookie and 79% as a sophomore. It’s fair to assume that if Sochan was NBA-ready or developed into a starting-caliber player, Barrett could slide back into the shooting guard spot with Sochan as the small forward and Obi Toppin at power forward.

“The size, skill, versatility, development, and he’s got an edge to him. They’re going to have to decide what they will do with RJ Barrett. Sochan has a versatility about him and a monster, monster upside as a 3-4 combo. With all the hassle with Julius, where’s their depth at that position?” Greenberg detailed to Berman.

Of course, there’s also a chance that the six-foot-nine rookie is seen as a potential power forward instead of a small forward, at which point Toppin would slide down in the rotation. Either way, by drafting Sochan, the Knicks could be solidifying a young wing trio to help lead them back to the playoffs in the future, and they would be doing so under cost-controlled deals that also afford New York bird rights for when they eventually hit free agency.

The Knicks Might Need to Trade-Up

According to Greenberg, Sochan is projected to come off the draft board with the eighth or ninth pick, which means that unless the Knicks get lucky, they may need to trade up to get their man – should they have a legitimate interest, of course.

As things stand, nobody knows who will occupy those spots in the draft, as the lottery is still several weeks away. But, if we use Tankathon’s mock draft based on current odds, the New Orleans Pelicans (who receive the pick courtesy of the Anthony Davis trade with the Los Angeles Lakers) and San Antonio Spurs are likely to occupy those spots.

The Pelicans look set in the wing department, especially after Trey Murphy had such an impressive rookie year off the bench, especially from three. The Spurs, on the other hand, maybe different, but the Knicks could hope that the coaching staff would rather develop Romeo Langford than another rookie. New York could entice either team into a trade if they were willing to package a future pick and maybe a young project.

If the draft lottery is kind to the Knicks, they may not need to trade up, as they could fall within range to select Sochan outright, and that could potentially be the best-case scenario for a team looking to re-establish their identity.

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