When the 2020 NBA Draft kicks off, all Knicks fans will have their eyes set on the team’s No. 8 pick, and whether or not the team can move up or down from that spot. And rightfully so, as a top-10 pick in the draft is some very valuable real estate.
But don’t forget about the 27th pick the team also holds.
Sure, there’s less of a chance of the Knicks landing a franchise-changing player at that spot, but there have been plenty of so-called “diamonds in the rough” who have went either late in the first round or in the second round and turned out to be Hall of Fame-level players.
So with that in mind, here are five players the Knicks could potentially target with that 27th pick …
PG Tyrell Terry, Stanford
If the Knicks are looking for a point guard who can score, Terry might be worth the risk with their second first-round choice. The Stanford product probably would have benefitted from at least one more year in college, but there’s no doubt that Terry could be one of the better sharp-shooting point guards this draft has to offer.
Terry shot a whopping 40.8 percent from beyond the arc with the Cardinal, showing off an almost effortless form. The problem with Terry, though, is that he’s listed at 6-foot-3, 160 pounds, and he could get pushed around in the NBA. But he’s only 20 years old, so he could certainly fill out more as a pro.
The shooting tools are there, but size could be an issue for Terry.
PG Nico Mannion, Arizona
The 19-year-old could be a bit of project, but do the Knicks have the patience to bring along a young point guard? If they do, Mannion could be an interesting choice.
Listed at 6-foot 3, 190 pounds, Mannion is a creative guard who has a little bit of everything to his game, as he averaged 14.0 points, 5.3 assists, and 2.5 rebounds to go along with 1.2 steals for game. He can hold his own in the pick-and-roll game, and also loves to create his own shot, though sometimes that can go against him as he holds onto the ball longer than he should and gets into trouble.
Mannion is a bit of a raw prospect after just one year at Arizona, but there’s plenty of potential there if he ends up with the Knicks as a late-round pick.
PG Malachi Flynn, San Diego State
Flynn showed off his solid overall game at both Washington State and San Diego State, averaging 17. 6 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 5.1 assists during his final season with the Aztecs. It was one of the best single seasons in SDSU history, as he was named Academic All-Mountain West and became the second Aztec to be named to the John R. Wooden Award All-American Team and the third Aztec to be named a consensus second-team All-American, joining Kawhi Leonard (2011) and Michael Cage (1984).
Listed at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, Flynn is also a solid shooter from beyond the arc as well, shooting 36.3 percent from the three-point line over the course of his college career.
Flynn may have gone somewhat unnoticed on the national stage since he played his games out west, but he could certainly make a name for himself in the Big Apple.
PG Theo Maledon, France
The Knicks have gone the French point guard route before, right? Sure, Frank Ntilikina hasn’t quite lived up to his draft status, but that really shouldn’t prevent the Knicks from taking a hard look at Maledon.
The issue, though, is that the 6-foot-5, 175-pound point guard actually has a style to his game very similar to Ntilikina: a long, athletic guard with a solid defensive skillset, with the potential to grow on the offensive end. He may be a little bit more willing to create for himself, especially in the mid-range game, but he’s still a fairly inconsistent shooter from deep.
But Maledon seems to have a high basketball IQ, and he could be a developmental prospect that thrives in Tom Thibodeau’s system.
PF Jaden McDaniels, Washington
At 6-foot-10, 200 pounds, McDaniels has all the physical tools to be a really intriguing NBA prospect.
He averaged 13.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.4 blocks with the Huskies, but he also leaves a lot to be desired, as he just hasn’t quite seemed to put all of his tools together into one picture. On paper, he has the ability to be an energizing player up front, either as a stretch four or undersized center. But he doesn’t use his size as well as he should, and often plays with more finesse than power.
McDaniels might be one of the most polarizing and riskiest players in the draft, but if you’re the Knicks, a team that has been down on their luck for two decades, maybe it’s worth taking a chance on such a high-ceiling prospect.