Now that the ping pong balls have dropped, there's no question anymore: the Knicks will select eighth in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Walt "Clyde" Frazier's regal suit didn't bring the team any good fortune, as New York actually slipped one spot from their most likely place. As unfortunate as that may be, the end to all the speculation should come as a relief to the organization. Now that they know where they'll be selecting, they can forge ahead with a more realistic plan. Out the door along with the possibility of a top-three pick are the pipedreams of Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball.
The team has the luxury of two formidable building blocks in Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez. As it currently stands, Carmelo Anthony is still in town and his no-trade clause will make him difficult to move, if Phil Jackson's continued critiques of his star haven't turned teams off already. The frontcourt represents some assurance for New York. Unfortunately, the backcourt doesn't boast the same amount of stability.
The Knicks desperately need a point guard. Their team has lacked intelligent and unselfish floor generals to rely on dating back to their Atlantic Division title in 2012-13. Luckily enough, they'll have their pick of the litter for such a player, even at the eighth spot.
Among those expected to be available, Malik Monk has more notoriety as a well known NCAA stud. He has great speed and is more of an explosive scorer. He'd bring excitement to the bright lights of the Big Apple, but isn't as natural of a facilitator. It remains to be seen if he can be the player the Knicks need.
Frank Ntilikina might be the safest bet for New York, given their recent success in targeting international talent. Their scouting staff has proven to have a keen eye for talent across the pond. Ntilikina will need time to adjust to the stateside game, but his defensive prowess would also ensure that the Knicks begin to make improvements on both ends of the floor. Clearly still a club in transition, Ntilikina's arrival would help New York cement more of an identity of who they want to be moving forward.
Dennis Smith Jr. may also be a possibility depending on how the teams ahead of the Knicks draft. Smith Jr.'s stock has wavered due to some uncertainty regarding his game and overall maturity, but he may have the greatest upside of all. It's just a matter of if the Knicks are willing to roll the dice or care to target more of a sure thing. They'd reportedly be interested in Monk and Ntilikina, whereas Smith Jr. hasn't been in the conversation as much to this point.
NBA teams are often advised to prioritize talent over need when targeting prospects. The Knicks can rest assured that this draft helps them fuse both. A point guard would provide this team with stability and make things easier for the talented players around him. What New York should not do, however, is get tempted by a player like Josh Jackson, a talented forward who would likely be more of a complementary player in this lineup. What's more, until Anthony is officially moved, that spot is otherwise occupied.
There are more pressing questions at the point guard position and this is a perfect opportunity to begin shoring up that void. A veteran point guard may be needed to help ease this transition, but at least the Knicks could pair him up with a youngster to mold for the future. The objective in this draft should be clear.