Trae Young, team have mutual interest

Recent New York Knicks rumors involve Oklahoma point guard Trae Young, as there is reportedly mutual interest between the two parties.

New York Knicks rumors are picking up with the 2018 NBA Draft quickly approaching. The Knicks will have two selections in the draft, as they landed the No. 9 overall pick in the NBA Draft Lottery. New York will also be picking No. 37 courtesy of the Oklahoma City Thunder, via the Chicago Bulls, from the Carmelo Anthony trade last September.

The Knicks, like every other team in the NBA, were on hand last week in Chicago for the NBA Draft Combine. The five-day event gave prospects a chance to showcase their skills and interview with teams.

There were a number of rumors that emerged from the combine. Two prospects, Chandler Hutchinson and Mitchell Robinson, reportedly received promises from teams in the first round. Knicks rumors also emerged from the draft combine.

Prior to the event, Ray Young, the father of Oklahoma prospect Trae Young, spoke with the New York Daily News. He told them that Trae could handle the spotlight that comes with playing in New York.

“That’s what Trae lives for. He lives for that type of stuff. Just think about it: He’s probably the most talked about, most publicized kid in this draft and he’s been through it all,” Young’s father, Ray, told the Daily News.

“So for him to be in a market like New York and understand that it’s all about winning — and if you don’t win, there’ll be some scrutiny — he’s already been through it.”

There is no denying that it takes a special kind of player to succeed in New York. The pressure put on players by the media and fans is something that causes many people to wilt. Young dealt with pressure not many, if any, other players in college basketball had to deal with last season.

Young had a magical season, averaging 27.4 points, 8.7 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game. The points and assists both led the nation.

While Young and his family may like New York, it takes two to tango. According to reports, it sounds like the Knicks would be a more than willing dance partner.

According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Knicks have the hots for Trae Young, so the feeling seems to be mutual.

At a quick glance, the fit makes some sense. Last season the Knicks used their first round pick, No. 8 overall, on Frank Ntilikina. Ntilikina was selected as a point guard but is looking more like a 2-guard after his rookie season.

If Ntilikina remains at shooting guard, he and Young, in theory, would make a good pairing. Their strengths and weaknesses would play well off of each other. Young is a facilitator that can take pressure off Ntilikina having to run the offense. On the other end of the court, Ntilikina has already shown the defensive chops to get the job done, something Young is not highly regarded for.

Opposing offenses are going to pick on Young no matter where he lands. Having a strong defender next to him is imperative, and the Knicks have that in place. While Young and Ntilikina would be a good pair, can the Knicks afford to select Young?

They are not hurting in the backcourt for players. Arguably the biggest positive takeaway from last season for the Knicks was the play of Trey Burke. He at least earned the chance to be the starting point guard to begin the 2018-19 season. New York also has Emmanuel Mudiay, a former lottery pick himself. Ntilikina could also be groomed into a lead guard as well.

That makes three players already capable of playing point guard on the roster. Instead, a wing player could be where the Knicks look, as small forward is the biggest hole currently on the roster.

There isn’t a shortage of wing players in this year’s draft class. Michael Porter Jr., Mikal Bridges, Miles Bridges and Kevin Knox could be available for the Knicks once they are on the clock with the ninth overall pick.

If any of those players are available, it is the direction New York should go in. While Young is a good pairing on paper with Ntilikina, there is a bigger need on the wing than in the backcourt.

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