How Seriously Should the Knicks consider trading their No. 3 Pick?
On Draft Lottery night, the New York Knicks won the 3rd overall pick in the draft. New York fans were less than ecstatic, realizing that their chances of drafting Zion Williamson were essentially gone. Now that a few days have gone by and the dust has finally settled, the New York front office has a decision to make. The team has a chance of drafting a top tier college prospect who could help reshape the franchise. On the other hand, following reports that Anthony Davis still wants out of New Orleans, the Knicks could make a play at the coveted player. With just about a month until the draft, the question is what should the Knicks do?
What would NY be giving up?
At this point it would be a stretch to say that New York will end up with Zion Williamson or Ja Morant. However, there is another top tier prospect that was once projected to go number 1. That prospect is RJ Barrett, who averaged 22.6 points per game for Duke while grabbing 7.6 rebounds along with 4.4 assists. Not to mention, he shot a very clean 45.4% from the floor. As his scouting report suggests, between his footwork and quick first dribble, he will be someone who can score in this league. Of course, just like all rookies, he has some work to do. For him, his free throw and three point shot needs improvement. Not to mention, he needs to put more attention into the defensive end of the floor. In spite of this, Barrett is still full of promise and can turn into a great player.
In addition, there is a question of how much would the Knicks have to give up. The New Orleans Pelicans are not an easy team to negotiate with (I.e. trade talks with the Los Angeles Lakers) and will likely ask for everything plus the kitchen sink in order to deal Davis. This potential package could include the third pick, a second round pick, Kevin Knox and either Frank Ntilikina or Dennis Smith Jr. While negotiations haven’t happened yet, the Knicks need to be ready to combat such a big ask. Moreover, prior to all of that, the Knicks’ front office needs to weigh if the promise of Davis is more valuable than all of these prospects.
It’s no stretch of the imagination that Anthony Davis is a top 10 player in this league. During the 2018-2019 season, he averaged 25.9 points per game along with 12 rebounds. He also added 2.4 blocks per game as well. There’s no question that Davis could positively impact both the defensive and offensive end for New York. In fact, it may even be wise for the team to make a trade, seeing how unlikely it is that the Knicks get Zion Williamson. However, the Knicks need to consider the total package.
Davis is about to enter his 8th season in the NBA. He has yet to ever make it past the first round of the playoffs, which he spent most of his career missing. Besides his year and half season with Demarcus Cousins, who was injured for a majority of the time, this league has never really seen Davis play with another superstar. In fact, he hasn’t even been able to attract another star to play with him over these last few years. Now, it stands to say that Davis is still young. At only 26 years old, Davis still has a lot of basketball left to play. However, that assumes that he stays healthy, which is something that has been apparently difficult for him. Regardless, Davis could fill a lot of holes that the Knicks would have going into next season. Additionally, with the promise of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving coming to the Knicks, Davis could help form the next great Big 3 in the NBA.
The Next Big 3?
It’s hard to see a combo of Durant, Davis, and Irving not being successful. Yet, this assumes that each of those players knows the pecking order. That is the risk that teams run when they bring three alpha players together. Will Irving or Davis be okay taking a constant back seat to each other or Durant? Will it eventually be the case that one of the three drops in production?
Let’s look at the last Big 3 that Irving was a part of. He, Kevin Love, and LeBron James joined forces to create a dynasty in Cleveland. The team saw some success, winning one championship in four years, but Love was was forced to take a huge backseat to James and Irving. Since then, Love’s career has never really recovered. Such a fate could befall a member of New York’s potential Big 3.
There is also the possibility that this new look Knicks could end up looking more like the San Antonio Spurs of years past or even the Warriors. Instead of one player dropping off, each member dominates one aspect of the game, allowing the others to flourish. Even still, in this scenario there is an alpha (i.e. Tim Duncan, Stephen Curry, etc.). Thus, however it plays out, either Durant, Davis, or Irving will have to be comfortable taking a back seat. While the obvious choice may be Irving, it still stands to ask if Davis would or could be the guy that fills the role as the third option.
The promise of Anthony Davis is one that is certainly intriguing. He may end up having far more success in the Eastern Conference than the Western. However, given that we haven’t seen him do much in this league yet and his injuries can be persistent, is he worth the Knicks gambling their future? With Draft night just about a month away, the Knicks have some time to mull over their impending decision.