The Blue Route NBA Mock Draft- #3 New York Knicks

With the third pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks select…

Blue Route is bringing you draft coverage leading up to the NBA draft on June 20th, 2019. The Philadelphia 76ers are slated to select 24th pick in the draft. The NBA draft often sees movement, trades, and drama, so to prepare you for various potential outcomes, the Blue Route will be giving you draft profiles for the all of the likely top picks, as well as our very own mock draft.

2019 NBA Mock Draft Results
  1. New Orleans Pelicans – Zion Williamson
  2. Memphis Grizzlies – Ja Morant

Current State of the New York Knicks

It’s bad. It’s very bad. 

The Knicks have become the league’s laughing stock for the past few years; ranging from the countless Stephen A Smith rants to James Dolan arguing with fans. Disfunction and a team devoid of talent is plaguing the big market franchise. 

I could write a ton about the dumpster fire that has become the New York Knicks, but I think a Stephen A Smith clip best describes the situation:

Late January is typically the time in which the NBA has a “calm before the storm” — in the few weeks leading up to the trade deadline. Kristaps Porzingis and the Knicks had other plans, after what became a failed meeting between the two.

Porzingis was fed up with the disfunction and submitted his trade request to the New York front office. It was a shocking news development, but nobody was ready for what happened next. 

In what felt like 5 minutes after news of the trade request broke out, Adrian Wojnarowski decided to break NBA Twitter. The Knicks immediately traded their franchise player for — what felt like — cap space and a few first round picks. 

The Knicks decided to bank on tanking this season and getting star level talent in free agency. 

Looking ahead into 2019 Free Agency

You can practically trace every big name free agent to a rumor involving a move to the New York Knicks. While the franchise is dysfunctional, it’s still New York City. A ton of NBA players find it appealing to live in a big city. 

Kyrie Irving is one of the more common names associated with moving to the Knicks via free agency. Individually, he had a great season, averaging 22.2 points, 5.7 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game on great shooting splits (49% FG, 40% 3PT, 87% FT). 

The Celtics were a weird storyline in the NBA, having a lack of overall team chemistry that often pointed back blame to Kyrie Irving. It’s very possible Kyrie Irving could see interest in joining the Knicks and gaining a fresh start.

Kevin Durant is another big name that’s often been linked to the New York Knicks. He’s proven to be one of the best players in the NBA and has helped Golden State win 2 championships. 

The Knicks have gotten rid of their bad contracts and have filled their salary cap with expiring deals or cheap rookie contracts. 

The Selection – RJ Barrett

Chris Deibler, on behalf of the Pelicans, shocked the world by picking — what was meant to be the Knicks’ savior in — Zion Williamson number one overall. Jason Blevins took the best talent available in Ja Morant for his Memphis Grizzlies. 

That really leaves me with one obvious choice, RJ Barrett. At this point in the draft, he’s easily the best talent available; and putting it nicely, the Knicks need all the talent they can get. 

He was a solid second option for a successful Duke team. Barrett is a crafty left handed player that is excellent at slashing and finishing around the rim. He has the size and athleticism to play any position between shooting guard and power forward, which is important depending on who the Knicks may get via trade/free agency. 

RJ Barrett isn’t Zion Williamson. You know, the guy that Knicks fans photoshopped into New York uniforms with countless photos. However, Barrett has proven to be worth the third overall pick in this top heavy draft. Knicks fans should be happy with this pick. 

Rookie Prediction

RJ Barrett’s role and individual averages will ultimately be effected by who joins the team in a few months. Barrett can put up some solid individual numbers if the Knicks strike out in free agency. After all, he would be their franchise player at that point. 

Expect Barrett to take a backseat role if a big name does choose to come to the Big Apple. He would be the second or third option at that point, which could help/hurt his development depending on how you look at it. 

Regardless, I expect the Knicks will use Barrett in a wide range of positions. I could see him playing shooting guard or power forward next to their other young talent in Kevin Knox. Playing power forward would allow Barrett to get more opportunities at the rim, which is where he’s at his strongest. 

I’ll be optimistic for the Knicks fans reading this and predict that they get one big name free agent. In that case, I could see RJ Barrett averaging somewhere along the lines of: 15 PPG, 6 RPG, 3 APG.