As the Eastern Conference’s No. 4 seed this season, the New York Knicks defied expectations and made the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season. Julius Randle was named the league’s Most Improved Player and to the All-NBA second team. Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau earned NBA Coach of the Year honors during his first season with the team.
But New York’s first-round postseason exit, being defeated by the Atlanta Hawks 1-4, made it clear that there is still a lot of work to be done for the Knicks to become one of the East’s truly elite teams.
With the No. 19, No. 21, No. 32 and No. 58 picks in the upcoming draft, New York could easily use some of these as trade leverage while also keeping some for itself. This route could allow the Knicks to add both experienced players and new younger talent.
Should the Knicks keep their second-round picks, in particular, they could use one to take Wichita State’s Tyson Etienne — who according to Forbes’ Chris Grenham, worked out for the Knicks on Tuesday.
Having just finished his sophomore season, it’s possible Etienne doesn’t remain in the draft. He still has until July 7 to withdraw from the draft and keep his college eligibility. In the event he goes undrafted, it’s possible New York could pick him up as an undrafted free agent.
Here’s what you need to know about Etienne and how he can contribute to the Knicks:
Etienne stands at 6-feet-2 and 200 pounds, so he’s a little undersized for a guard. But Wichita State describes him as a “do it all shooting guard.”
This past season, the sophomore guard was the American Athletic Conference’s co-Player of the Year. He played and started in 22 games, averaging team highs of 16.3 points in 33.8 minutes per game. This was a notable improvement compared to the 9.4 points in 24.6 minutes per game he averaged during his freshman year.
In addition, Etienne shot 37.1% from the field. Outside of scoring, he dished out 2.5 assists per game and grabbed 3.4 rebounds per game.
As a smaller guard, Etienne’s 3-point shooting skills will make him a more attractive draft prospect. During his sophomore season, he shot 39.2% from 3-point range while putting up 7.5 3-point field goal attempts per game. These numbers made Etienne into Wichita State’s most reliable 3-point shooter.
If he can maintain such a percentage in the NBA, Etienne could help the Knicks maintain their spot as one of the league’s best 3-point shooting teams — an important feat in today’s era of basketball.
In regards to what Etienne can offer, Mike Luciano of Raptors Rupture mentioned this among his other strengths:
When he’s in a zone, he shows the blinding speed, ability to harass ball-handlers on the defensive end, and 3-point shooting that could help him hit the ground running at the professional level.
In an interview with Rookie Wire, Etienne noted his ability to play both guard positions. But an average of 2.5 assists per game isn’t that of a traditional one guard, and the Knicks need playmaking. His size could also limit his potential as an NBA point guard.
He also needs to work on being a more efficient scorer. During the 2020-21 season, Etienne shot better on 3-pointers at 39.2% compared to 37.1% overall from the field.