The Knicks are faced with many an option with their No. 3 pick in this upcoming NBA Draft, including trading down to pick up two lottery players instead of one, and the chance at one of two ball-dominant, high-ceiling college stars. An impending free agency period in which New York is expected to sign a major star only complicates matters.
Perhaps most importantly, the Knicks just need to avoid a calamitous mistake. Every asset they compile is crucial towards their rebuild, and patience is wearing thin for this team to finally get it together. Here are some of the high-risk selections the front office should consider passing up on.
Anyone but R.J. Barrett and Ja Morant
This may seem fairly obvious, but sometimes not doing the simple, widely-accepted move is a major risk in itself. Both of these players are projected to have major impacts in the NBA, while this Draft has consistently been described as a crapshoot further down the board.
There's definitely some risk that comes with drafting one of these two. The Russell Westbrook formula hasn't taken on a great reputation in recent years, which is a worry for Morant's ceiling. Any time you're bringing in a score-first guy who needs the ball in his hands like Barrett, it carries the risk of him providing nothing on the court if his shot's not falling
However, they're the consensus number two and three picks for a reason, and New York trying to outsmart the basketball world and themselves carries a real risk.
The Knicks have reportedly shown some interest in Reddish, who is expected to be picked shortly after the top three. New York likely doesn't take him unless they trade down, but doing so is a big bet on development, something the Knicks have struggled with in the past.
Reddish undoubtedly has an NBA frame, but there's a lot of rawness in his game and fogginess as to where he'd fit in the pros. His shooting will need to take a step up, as will his feel for handling the ball in the halfcourt. He wasn't prone to draw contact at the rim in college and it only gets tougher to do so against NBA bigs. His lone season at Duke was mired with inconsistency and was disappointing overall, granted the NBA may be a better place for his skills to shine.
With all this risk comes amazing potential reward. Reddish is projected to be picked so highly for a reason. If his game comes together, he's a sure-fire All-Star one day. But if the Knicks want a sure thing out of this Draft, they may consider passing on Reddish.
Kevin Porter Jr.
Hailed as one of the most talented prospects on the board, Porter Jr.'s stock slipped mightily due to uninspired numbers and conduct issues that led to a suspension and worries from pro talent evaluators. He would likely be available at No. 10 should the Knicks swap their pick with Atlanta for that and the eighth pick.
That said, the last thing a developing team wants in its young locker room is a chemistry-killer, and despite that, Porter Jr. is a risky prospect strictly talking basketball. He's another gifted scorer who won't bring much else to the table if his shot is awry, and his struggles with decision-making could plague him early on in his NBA career.
Doumbouya is the latest in a long line of mystery-man overseas prospects whose talent and development can end up as anyone from Frank Ntilikina, to Dennis Schroder, to Giannis Antetokounmpo. He's the youngest player in the Draft at 18 years old, his jumper won't be ready on day one, and he's generally very raw. And yet, he's consistently projected in the top ten.
The team that takes Doumbouya is betting on his athleticism and build, as well as their player development program. The only real guarantees you have with Doumbouya is how he'll excel in transition, and where he doesn't have to make complicated reads, his defense.
Knicks fans may not have the patience for another import who isn't ready to contribute effectively right away.