Who do the Knicks draft in 2018?

The Knicks will more than likely end up with the 8th or 9th pick by the end of this final tank push to end the season, so who will they snap up in what looks to be a loaded draft class?

With less than 20 games remaining in the season and the Knicks sinking further to the bottom of the Eastern Conference, the objective in New York has long since shifted from winning enough games to make the 8-seed to giving the younger players more running time and discussing options for 2018. Part of this is determining which players from this year's roster will be returning for the next season (Enes Kanter, for example, is due for a new contract and many within the Knicks fanbase are divided on whether he is worth bringing back or setting loose. Mudiay, on the other hand, is as good as gone), but the greatest emphasis is on who New York will take with their pick in the 2018 draft.

New York have preached for some time now about the need to build a strong, young core through the draft and for the most part they've stuck to it, with Willy Hernangomez being the only aberration thus far. Ok, Mudiay is objectively... not great by most measures, but we would've had to pay big bucks to keep Doug McDermott at the end of this season, and Mudiay is helping us lose games to snare a better draft pick, so i've talked myself into why that trade wasn't a total dud. Right now though, the Knicks need a sure thing; someone who can help them right away to win games and potentially sniff the playoffs so when New York actually have cap space in 2019, we become attractive enough to A-level free agents that will hopefully boost ourselves into legitimate contenders.

More than anything else, the Knicks need a wing player (Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee are best played at shooting guard, Lance Thomas might be the only real 3 on the Knicks roster and he shouldn't be seeing starting minutes), but the jury's still out on whether Frank Ntilikina will develop into the floor general of the future or if he's best utilised playing off the ball, so it's not totally unrealistic to assume that the Knicks might draft another point guard, especially if certain players become available. With that in mind, let's take a look at three potential draft picks we could be seeing in a Knicks uniform in 2018.

Mikal Bridges - Villanova

A number of potential draft lists have Bridges being picked by New York with what will more than likely end up being the 8th or 9th pick, barring a catastrophic win streak by the Knicks in these remaining weeks, and looking at the Villanova junior's resume it's easy to see why: 18 points and 5 rebounds along with a steal and a block per game in his last season at 'Nova, while shooting a blistering 44% from outside the three line. Some scouts have made early, lofty Paul George comparisons, but Otto Porter Jr. might be a more reasonable one. 

With his athleticism and length (7-foot 1" wingspan), Bridges has the potential to be an excellent perimeter defender as well, being quick enough and long enough to guard multiple positions. As 3-point shooting and perimeter defense are easily the Knick's worst attributes, Bridges would provide desperately needed help for the team in two distinct areas.

Trae Young - Oklahoma

As the NCAA's leader in scoring and assists, Trae Young could be the shot in the arm the Knicks need to take their game to a higher level, especially if Frank Ntilikina's best value is determined to be as more of an off-ball secondary playmaker rather than the floor general the Knicks so desperately need. Young would immediately bring a new dynamic to how New York play: the Knicks are one of the worst teams in the league at both 3-point shooting and scoring at the rim, two things Young excels at. While defense remains his most common criticism, this would be mitigated by having him start at point guard with Ntilikina playing at the 2. 

While Young was projected to be a top-5 pick at the start of the year, his projection has since fallen as other college teams have learned to gameplan for him, taking advantage of his weaker supporting cast at Oklahoma. This might not be such a problem in New York, playing alongside the all-star Porzingis and other scoring options in Kanter and Hardaway Jr. 

It also means that he might sink far enough for New York to grab him on draft night, which also presents another interesting factor that Young would bring. Recent comments made by Young indicated that he would love to be drafted by the Knicks, saying that being drafted by the Knicks would be a "blessing". For a squad that's still trying to build a cohesive team identity and winning culture, this could be enough to give Young the edge over other potential picks.

Miles Bridges - Michigan State

By sharing a similar height, weight, wingspan and scoring output to Mikal Bridges, New York may consider Miles Bridges if Mikal is snapped up with an earlier pick. Where the two Bridges (no relation) differ, however, is in their offensive versatility: Mikal is much stronger in creating his own shot off the dribble, shooting from distance (44% compared to Miles' 38%) and taking the ball to the hoop. 

There's every chance that Miles will fall out of the top-10 pick range, partly due to the strong influx of one-and-dones in this years draft class, including 18-year-old Slovenian prodigy Luka Doncic, but also due to the fact that his stats remained relatively unchanged from his freshman to sophomore year, so his ceiling seems more set in stone. If New York accidentally wins a few more games during this final tank push of the season and end up with a higher pick, Miles Bridges would have to be evaluated as a potential option.

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