The 2018 NBA Draft has just ended, so it's never too early to look ahead to 2019.
With a return date for Kristaps Porzingis still a major question mark given his ACL injury, the Knicks figure to be in the lottery again in 2019.
Given the loaded top of that draft, thats a good thing.
The latest 2019 mock draft from ESPN.com has the Knicks getting 6-foot-6 Duke freshman Zion Williamson, an athletic freak who has 1.5 million Instagram followers and 132,000 Twitter followers due mainly to his dunking prowess.
Williamson told me recently that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski compared him to LeBron James in terms of how he would use him at Duke.
"[Coach K] told me he'll use me as an all-around player, like how he used LeBron with Team USA," Williamson said. "If he needs me to bring it up the court sometimes I will. If he needs me to post up a smaller player, I will. If I need to come off a screen and shoot a couple jumpers, I will, It's just whatever he needs me to do, I'll be able to do it."
Kryzewski was able to persuade Williamson to choose Duke over Kentucky, Kansas and in-state schools Clemson and South Carolina.
"He and his family are first class," Coach said when Williamson signed in April. "We're not only bringing Zion in, but his entire family. Zion is a unique player and certainly one of the most gifted athletes that has come into the ACC. He's heck of a basketball player and a young man, and an outstanding leader."
Krzyzewski's experience winning five NCAA titles and three Olympic gold medals helped persuade Williamson to join a blockbuster recruiting class that also includes projected No. 1 pick R.J. Barrett of Canada and No. 4 Cam Reddish.
"I just trust in Coach K. He's done this before with the USA team with a lot of talent," Williamson said. "And just playing with Cam and R.J. would make us better basketball players."
Williamson believes that the four freshmen -- including point guard Tre Jones -- should be able to coexist because they are multi-positional players.
"I think that's what makes us unique," he said. "We're all very unique players and we're all very unselfish and we all want to win so we feel with those combinations we can go far."
ESPN recruiting analyst Paul Biancardi has studied Williamson extensively.
"He's a fantastic basketball player away from the highlights and the dunks," he told Greensboro.com. "I don't think people realize how good a basketball player he is. I knew after his sophomore year that he was more than a dunking machine and more than a highlight. ... I saw it in different competitions. I saw him read the game. I saw his skill level for a guy his size, with the frame, the power, the strength make guard-type plays. And I saw him just punish people in the paint. He's one of the few guys I've ever seen who can throw an alley-oop perfectly to a teammate and at the same time finish an alley-oop as well as anyone I've ever seen."
"It's his ability to finish a break - anything in transition, anything in space. You have a decision to make: Do you want to step in and get run over or are you going to let him finish? He's a powerful finisher who takes contact with him to the rim. ... He does an awesome job - he's one of the best I've ever seen - of elevating through contact. He can have bodies all around him and just elevate in tight spaces and finish. ... He has great IQ to see the game. I love his ability to handle the basketball, not as a point guard but as an attacking player from the wing or the top of the key or the baseline. From his penetration he can make a pass. He's not just a bull trying to get to the rim. He'll beat the first line of defense and if he sees somebody open he has the precision and the accuracy to make the pass and the willingness to do it. He can take it off the glass defensively, push it and be the guy facilitating or finish."