The Knicks have a multitude of options in this year's NBA Draft, but their choice can't be made in a vacuum. Their broader rebuild plan will be a factor in which prospect(s) they decide to bet on -- namely the free agent bonanza beginning on July 1.
The dream scenario for the franchise is picking up two superstar-level players, with the popular pairing being Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. If the Knicks are to end up signing the two -- perhaps a tall task at the moment with rumblings that Irving is leaning toward the Nets -- which rookie would be the best fit for a squad led by those elite talents?
Barrett's game may not seem like a conducive style to squeeze between two other ball-dominant scorers, but if the Knicks want to make the most out of this pick, taking Barrett and maximizing his talents is the way to go. How better to assure he reaches his potential than by bringing him in to learn under two seasoned superstars?
Some things will translate immediately. Durant and Irving would get Barrett amazing looks in transition. His playmaking potential will have the benefit of those two finishing Barrett's dimes. Where his game is weaker, Durant and Irving can help the most. His three-point shooting is a concern, but having to space the floor for those two will urge Barrett to run New York's shooting machines until they break.
Having to defer to a couple of clearly superior players will also help Barrett learn how to play in a complementary role early, and all the while they'll be in his ear with pointers and critiques that will benefit him in the long run.
If you land Durant and Irving, you're no longer rebuilding. You're competing. And of all the players in the Draft pool not named Zion Williamson, there's one that brings the perfect balance of potential and pro-readiness as well as an obvious role to play on such a team from day one.
Culver can contribute immediately defensively -- something the Knicks will need from their surrounding cast to propel the Durant-Irving combo to the Finals and beyond. The fit will hinge on how well Culver's three-point shooting translates, but he'll have the benefit of awfully open looks with those two stars on the floor.
Similarly to Barrett, the inherent risks in this pick are minimized by the sheer presence of Durant and Irving. It's unclear how much Reddish will be able to create for himself or others at the outset of his NBA career, but filling the gaps for Durant and Irving could help ease his way into the box score with opportunities off catch-and-shoots, cuts and transition.
Positionally, Reddish's potential as a stretch four fits like a glove next to the stars working the perimeter from above the break. Getting him in pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop action with either could be a devastating combo.