The Knicks, who could have a top-10 pick in this year's NBA Draft, are interested in selecting Frank Ntilikina or Malik Monk, reports ESPN New York's Ian Begley.
Ntilikina, a 6-foot-5 French guard, is considered to possibly be a lottery pick with his quickness at the guard position.
Kentucky's Monk has averaged 20.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists this season.
The reported interest in both Ntilikina and Monk gives an immediate idea of the type of player the Knicks are hoping to nab, come June's NBA Draft. Phil Jackson has always had an appreciation for taller, stronger point guards, even dating back to his coaching days.
Interestingly enough, both guards will likely go through some sort of transition period. Whereas some prospects may be ready to jump right in and play a role, each aforementioned player will need additional maturation time. Still just 18 years old, Ntilikina will need to adjust to the nuances of the NBA game and learn how to build up communication with his teammates. Ntilikina has an unselfish nature about his play, but his instincts need to develop some. His real uniqueness comes on the defensive end, where he has great awareness. Ntilikina switches well, has solid lateral quickness, and is strong enough to cover both guard positions.
On the other hand, Monk has a more natural explosiveness about him. He attacks the basket and gets down the court with ease. Monk has eyes for the basket and likes to score. However, if his teammates are quick enough to run with him, he'll likely provide his team with a taste of "Lob City," ala the Clippers' brand of basketball. Starting alongside De'Aaron Fox at Kentucky this season, Monk has mostly had to defer and play off the ball. He'll likely need to come into his own as a floor general and someone who can naturally get others involved.
The fact that Ntilikina and Monk will both need time to develop sort of aligns with the Knicks' reported intrigue in a more veteran floor general like Jrue Holiday or Jeff Teague. A player like that could provide New York with the leadership they need right away, while serving as a mentor to a young prospect still finding their way.
Whereas a more seasoned player (who played more lead guard in college) may be able to help pace the Knicks' offense early on, both Ntilikina and Monk seem to have greater upside. This would finally prove the Knicks are exhibiting the type of patience they need, with regard to building a stronger team for a more sustainable long term run.