Here's our weekly Knicks mailbag with SNY's NBA Insider Ian Begley...
@Jdazz6: I would like to know if the Knicks do not retain Coach Miller, who's the most realistic replacement as coach? And of those options, who would be the best at developing these young players?
The most realistic replacement at coach is a tough one to answer. I'd think that the Knicks could get any of the following coaches if money isn't a mitigating factor: Tom Thibodeau, Kenny Atkinson, Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, Mike Woodson. Usually, money isn't a holdup when the Knicks are pursuing a coach. Steve Kerr is one recent exception to that rule.
Also, I see John Calipari as a less realistic option because of the money it would likely take to lure him from Kentucky. He's also publicly said he's not interested in the job. But because of his relationship with Knicks president Leon Rose, I'm not taking him off of my list of candidates until Rose hires someone else.
With regards to player development, Atkinson and Thibodeau have the most recent track records of success. Woodson, Jackson and Van Gundy all have their own player development success stories. But if the Knicks are looking for the most proven commodity from a player-development perspective, you'd think Atkinson is at the top of the list.
Player development will certainly be an important factor for New York, but I'd be surprised if that was the sole determining factor in the club's search (assuming they don't retain Miller as head coach).
Also, it's important to have a head coach with a track record of player development. But it's just as important -- if not more important -- to have assistants and staffers who excel in that area. They are the people who deal with it on a granular level day in and day out.
@progducto: Knicks drafting ethos: still early in this new build, likely new incoming coach, Rose implementing his squad, so on and so forth. When does the team decide to look for immediate contributors in the draft vs. projects?
Even though Rose hasn't made any additions/subtractions to his front office, I assume that decision has already been made. Because the Knicks have three picks among the first 38 selections, they can go with a mix of projects and players who are more ready to contribute. The Knicks are in the early stages of yet another rebuild (though it's the first under Rose), so it's safe to assume that they are comfortable drafting a long-term project over a player who they'd project to contribute right away. One potential factor to consider: If they draft a "project," they should do what they can to make sure that the prospect can handle scrutiny and criticism. As we've seen with Kevin Knox, some Knicks fans don't have much patience for young players who aren't showing consistent progression. That public criticism/negativity can be detrimental to any young player, particularly one who is more sensitive to those things.
@kk_snacks: What point guard in this upcoming draft fits the Knicks the best, assuming they miss out on (LaMelo) Ball?
David Fizdale said earlier this month that he thought the Knicks needed a point guard who can knock down perimeter shots. People currently in the organization feel the same way. Why is this so important for New York in particular? If you force the defense to come over a screen on a pick and roll to defend the ball-handler's shot, it opens things up for the roller. For the Knicks, that would be Mitchell Robinson. Robinson was effective as a roller while playing with guards who weren't consistent threats to knock down shots. Having him share the floor with an elite shooter would create opportunities all over the floor for New York.
I say that to convey that the best point guard prospect for the Knicks (outside of Ball) is the player who projects as the best shooter. Some scouts see Kira Lewis Jr. as that player. Lewis Jr. is widely projected as a late first-round pick. But the opinions there are all over the map. Others believe Tyrese Haliburton will be a strong shooter at the next level. There are questions about Cole Anthony's shot. Regardless of who New York selects, it's in the club's best interest to find a lead guard who can knock a shot down.
@hekkmart: Is there any scenario where New Orleans doesn't match an offer for Brandon Ingram and the Knicks land him? Cheers!! Hope you and yours are well.
Thank you, Hekkmart. Right back at you. New Orleans is building around Zion Williamson. Ingram, 22, is a player that perfectly fits the Pelicans' timeline. So it's hard to see Pelicans president David Griffin letting Ingram walk (particularly if Williamson likes playing with Ingram). Given those factors, it seems unlikely that the Knicks will have a chance to sign Ingram. But given where they are in the team-building process, they can afford to throw a massive offer sheet at Ingram and force New Orleans to match.
@TyKwonDoughh: Knicks draft positions with their 3 picks and how to make the most out of them. Their late first-rounder in particular… who should be players we target in the later end of the first round?
With those later picks, so much depends on what happens in front of them. I'll have more on this after talking to scouts/people around the league, but I'd think small forward is a position they'd target with their late first- or early second-round pick.
@burnerszn_: What draft prospect do you think the Knicks are leaning towards as of right now?
Thanks for the question, burner. I don't have anything strong enough to report there yet.
@junkyard41: Leon floated that Elton Brand rumor out there so that Philly would feel like they should keep him… not bc we actually want him. Right?!
I don't know specifically where the Knicks or Rose stand on Sixers GM Brand. I got to know Rose a bit when Carmelo Anthony was a Knick and he doesn't strike me as someone who is leaking rumors about his thinking to anyone. He seems to hold his cards close to the vest. And I think Philly would evaluate Brand independent of if other teams covet him.
@KnoxWLRD: Ya'll about Mitch breaking the FG%, TS%, and offensive rating record all time?
The NBA hasn't decided yet on whether the season will be resumed. We'll get clarity on any records Robinson may have set at that point.
@Pragdeficit: Knicks draft targets?
It's too early to say this with any accuracy right now but I'm sure we'll be talking about this a lot in the coming weeks/months.
@Mavrik2190: Can you put in order the top 4 point guard prospects in the upcoming draft and why each is in the slot you put them in?
Thanks for the question, Mavrik. I'd rather talk to scouts/coaches about this than share my own opinion. I'll do that and will write stories with their opinions closer to the draft.
@Keithaskins: What are the odds Dolan retires Kyle O'Quinn's number one day?
No. 9 is already retired in my book.
@munschauer: What is the biggest position of need that the Knicks need to address in the upcoming draft?
Has to be point guard. They've been searching for consistency there for most of the past two decades.
@Bbbbbbrenbren16: Was there ever a story on the Knicks that was difficult to report and made you roll your eyes?
There were no stories that made me roll my eyes. They all have varying degrees of difficulty to report, particularly those with sourced information. A few of the more surprising stories include the Derek Fisher-Matt Barnes story, Charles Oakley's ejection/arrest and Kurt Rambis allegedly liking an inappropriate tweet.
@Kyle_Chin Why are so many Knicks fans obsessed with Kelly Oubre?
I didn't know they were, but Oubre is a talented young player. The Knicks haven't had many of those in the last 20 years or so, so I can see why fans would covet Oubre.
@Pennstatethor Has any team historically been more victimized by the NBA draft lottery than the Knicks? They have not had any upward movement in 35 years.
I'm not big into conspiracy theories but if you are, the Knicks benefited from the biggest one in the Patrick Ewing lottery. They've had some bad lottery luck since then (not moving up since the Ewing lottery), but I don't attribute that to anything other than the laws of probability.