The New York Knicks are fortunate to have two first-round picks in the NBA draft this year: Nos. 19 and 21. It gives them options as they decide how to move forward with constructing their roster this offseason — particularly the point guard position the Knicks need to upgrade.
New York is expected to use the picks to move higher into the draft to give itself a better chance at selecting one of the better prospects. But the Knicks could find a good point guard fit in the draft without moving up.
Tre Mann, a point guard from Florida, is projected to be selected in the second half of the first round, so it’s likely that Mann will be available to the Knicks at either time that they’re on the clock for their first-round draft spots. Increasingly, Mann is rising up draft boards and could be a steal for the Knicks.
Mann worked out for the Knicks on Tuesday.
“I watch Tre Young, Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry, Bradley Beal, Devin Booker — guys like that where I feel like they’re crafty,” Mann said to Pacers.com in a post-workout interview. “They create their own shots and just have the same type of game that I have.”
All of the guards that Mann mentioned are ones the Knicks would surely like to have — if they could.
Even though Lillard has been linked to the Knicks, whether New York could actually acquire any of those players remains to be seen. But Mann could be a good, younger choice that provides the Knicks with what they need moving forward.
Mann spent two years at Florida prior to declaring for the NBA draft. He was the Gators’ leader in minutes and scoring during his sophomore season at 32.4 minutes and 16.0 points per game. His efficient 45.9% from the field and 40.2% on 3-pointers also made him the team’s best scorer. The guard also posted averages of 3.5 assists and an impressive 5.6 rebounds per game.
At the NBA Draft Combine, Mann measured in at 177 pounds and 6-feet, 4.25 inches with shoes and 6-feet, 3.25 inches without shoes. So he is a bit shorter than the 6-foot-5 advertised on Florida’s official athletics website.
Mann is described as a “combo guard with range and the ability to facilitate” on the Florida Athletics site. This trait makes him a more valuable potential pick, but it’s his scoring that is really drawing attention and could benefit the Knicks.
NBC Sports Bay Area’s Josh Scrock noted that Mann offers versatility as a scorer:
Mann is a crafty scorer who has a wide array of offensive moves that include a soft floater, a deadly step back and a pull-up jumper that is lethal. He has a great handle and is a threat to score on all three levels off the pick-and-roll.
Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau appeared on the broadcast for the NBA Draft Combine and specifically mentioned that the Knicks are “always looking to add that shooting” — not only 3-point shooting but also shooting off the dribble.
Given Mann’s playmaking and scoring abilities, he could be a great choice to fill New York’s needs.
Mann could have trouble going up against more built guards because of his thinner 177-pound frame. So he will need to add some muscle to give him a better chance at holding his own against other backcourt players in the NBA.
He also needs to work on ball handling and playmaking. Mann had a near 1-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio with his 2.8 turnovers and 3.5 assists per game.
Daily Knicks’ Adam Kester pointed out that, albeit having a “great feel,” Mann needs to work on pick-and-roll sets:
While he’s comfortable out of the pick-and-roll, Mann is still going to have to increase his processing speed at the NBA level. He is a nice passer with motion around him, but he’s going to have to work on his playmaking awareness and improvisation.
With 1.4 steals per game as a sophomore at Florida, Mann has proven he is a willing defender. But he still needs to improve upon his defensive game — especially if he ends up on the Thibodeau-coached Knicks. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor said that, on the defensive end, Mann is “sloppy on closeouts and falls out of his stance on the ball.”
Mann, who’s 20 years old, isn’t among the youngest draft prospects. But he’s still young enough to improve and further develop his game as starts his professional career.