Point guards and the New York Knicks are like a cinderella story – always looking for the owner of a glass slipper. Unfortunately, over the last half-decade, if not more, almost every guard that has passed through Maddison Square Garden has come up short.
Throughout this season, we’ve seen Kemba Walker, Derrick Rose, Miles McBride, and Immanuel Quickley all take turns running the offense, with differing results. Yet, after the Knicks’ sudden resurgence towards the end of the season (they went 12-7 from March 1), it’s becoming clear the team’s best chance of returning to the post-season is through their young players.
Quickley has proven to be a viable combo guard, and McBride has shown flashes of future potential, while Obi Toppin and RJ Barrett are future stars of the team. And now, with another shot at a lottery pick in the NBA draft, the Knicks have the ability to try and finally solve their point guard conundrum for the foreseeable future.
In a recent mock draft by Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Knicks selected TyTy Washington out of Kentucky with the 12th pick of the draft. While the rookie guard doesn’t possess elite athleticism, he does project to be a high-level playmaker with upside as a perimeter scorer, which could see him well-placed alongside high-level play finishers like Barrett and Topin.
Who is TyTy Washington
Washington is a one-and-done prospect out of Kentucky. A six-foot-two guard who averaged 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game during his maiden season at the collegiate level, shooting 45.1% from the field and 35% from deep over 31 games.
“He sees the whole floor and can make every pass, whether it’s a lob, a dish to a cutter, or a kick out. A lethal midrange scorer who makes 52.5 percent of his floaters and 43 percent of his dribble-jumper 2s. He has every move he needs to become a potent 3-point shooter with side steps and stepbacks, though he’s made just 30.4 percent of dribble-jumper 3s at Kentucky,” O’Connor noted in his scouting report.
Washington could easily slide into the team’s first or second unit as a rookie and develop on the fly. With such a good feel for the offensive side of the floor, the Knicks would have their playmaker intact for the start of next season, which could allow Toppin and Barrett to continue their development as scorers and off-ball threats.
However, due to the Kentucky product’s limited athleticism, he doesn’t project as a high-level perimeter defender out of the gate, and given head coach Tom Thibodeau’s propensity to prioritize defensively sound players, there’s no guarantee Washington would get the minutes he needs to develop into a point guard of the future in New York.
Unlikely to See Walker Back In New York Next Season
Kemba Walker was an unfortunate casualty of the Knicks season. The former All-Star guard has been in decline since knee issues derailed his time with the Boston Celtics, and now, with limited burst and a suspect three-point shot, Walker is likely to be looking for his third team in as many years.
What we saw from Walker this season was always part of the risk. No longer one of the quicker guards in the league, and unable to get a reliable lift on his shots, Walker is a shadow of the guard the dominated the NBA while with the Charlotte Hornets, and his “Iron Man” nickname has also become a thing of the past.
Now, the Knicks will be looking to move on from a player they thought could be a crafty reclamation project to help provide some scoring to an already impressive defensive unit.
And, just like that, New York is back to the drawing board, looking towards the draft for some cost-controlled high-upside talent, as it’s become clear that’s the Knicks best path forward in the coming seasons.