The New York Knicks are one of few teams with multiple first-round picks in the 2021 NBA Draft, slated to pick at 19th and 21st overall.
All of the Houston Rockets (3), Oklahoma City Thunder (3), and Orlando Magic (2) have multiple picks as well, leading many to speculate that the draft order will look a lot different when all is said and done.
With so many teams in possession of the draft capital to move up, and others potentially looking to move down, nothing about the 2021 NBA Draft is guaranteed.
What does that mean for the New York Knicks?
Bleacher Report draft analyst, Jonathan Wasserman, predicts they’ll join in on the expected trade frenzy.
Wasserman: ‘Everyone Expects Them to Trade Up’
When doing a Q&A on Twitter, Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman was asked if he expected the New York Knicks to trade up in this year’s draft.
He responded with a confident yes, saying it’s the expectation around the league:
As Wasserman notes, the front office has rarely let anything slip since Leon Rose was brought in to oversee operations.
But with picks 19 and 21, and an overall desire to compete as opposed to develop talent, this seems a a reasonable outcome for the Knicks.
Thibodeau: Knicks Targeting ‘Wings Who Can Shoot’
Tom Thibodeau, fresh off of his first season at head coach for the New York Knicks, was asked (via @krispursiainen on Twitter) during the ESPN broadcast on Friday as to whether or they’ll prioritize playmaking in the 2021 NBA Draft.
His response was largely vague:
It’s something that we’ve talked about going into the season. Obviously we wanted to build our foundation starting with our defense, and then of course, adding to our shooting and our offense. We’re always looking to add that shooting, and it’s not just the shooting the three, but it’s going off the dribble as well.
Still, it’s safe to say fans can expect new faces in the point guard rotation next year with all of Derrick Rose, Elfrid Payton, and Frank Ntilikina headed for free agency.
But when asked if any players at the combine stood out to the Knicks, Thibodeau did mention one position of need:
You have to be ready for all the possibilities, whether you move up, or back, or trade out…We’re looking for wings and guys who can shoot. So there’s a number of guys that we think are gonna be good pros. There’s a lot of value here.
Should New York truly be eyeing a move into the upper tiers of the draft, what’s to expect of a package featuring the 19th and 21st pick?
Perhaps one of Charlotte or New Orleans would bite on a deal for either the ninth or 10th overall picks? Neither are necessarily braced for a title run next year, and would likely gladly welcome multiple young contributors on next year’s roster.
Any of Franz Wagner, Keon Johnson, or Moses Moody could be available within that range, and all fit the archetype that Thibodeau described.