You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Knicks.
Should the Knicks go for the best fit or the best player available in this year’s draft? — Yaron Rahmani
The Knicks need to go for the best fit and that’s a point guard for the future because it’s so difficult to snare an elite one in free agency.
It is a weak draft in which some believe there’s not a whole lot of difference among the top-12 rated players. That’s highly unusual. Might as well go for need.
The Post has learned unequivocally LaMelo Ball is currently the top-rated point guard on the Knicks’ board.
That should hardly be surprising, knowing new president Leon Rose likes to shoot for the stars. Knicks officials believe the 6-foot-7 playmaker/driver has one of the higher upsides in the entire draft despite his lack of a 3-point shot. Rose has already dealt with outspoken father Lavar Ball when his sons were briefly with Creative Artists Agency.
The Post already has reported league insiders believe father Lavar Ball will attempt to steer him to the big-market Knicks. What does that entail if the Knicks stay at the sixth spot in the draft? They’d probably have to trade up into the top 3 with a club not so hot on either LaMelo or Lavar. Hopefully that team won’t ask for a king’s ransom.
If the Knicks remain at No. 6 after the lottery drawing, Ball is not expected to fall to that slot. Keep an eye on the Pistons and Ball in the lottery. Detroit is one of the few teams dying for a point guard, too.
If the Knicks are in the 6-10 range, Cole Anthony, Tyrese Haliburton, Killian Hayes, Tyrese Maxey — maybe even trading back for R.J. Hampton or Kira Lewis — will all be in play.
Taking the best player available — such as Israeli point forward Deni Avdija — does not seem the way to go in this PG-heavy draft of equality.
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Argentina has a new Manu Ginobili in point guard Facundo Campazzo; could he be a Knicks solution for next season? — Juan
You mean the next Pablo Prigioni, the Argentine who didn’t land in the NBA and with the Knicks until age 35? Campazzo was passed over early in his career because of his size but Campazzo keeps getting better as a field general for Real Madrid in the Spanish league. Word is the buyout on Campazzo is onerous and there’s pandemic complications.
Campazzo is now 29 years old, but the Knicks need a definitive starter. Maybe a name to keep more in mind for 2021 when Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr. are free agents.
“He’s a 5-11 J.J. Barea but he is a pick-and-roll wizard,’’ ESPN’s draft wizard Fran Fraschilla says. “He’s an exciting player and magical passer.’’ The Knicks have their European scout, Kevin Wilson, imbedded in Spain. Former Knicks European scout Tim Shea said of Campazzo: “He’s shown constant progress over the years and skill development, especially the last few years with Real Madrid. He’s been ready. A pure point guard.’’
If the Knicks trade for CP3, shouldn’t it be the Thunder who pay with a draft pick to get him off their books? (Otherwise) this would be Carmelo-to-Knicks at the cost of stripping the team down and losing cap flexibility all over again. — Cee Fitz
With the salary-cap tightening considerably because of the pandemic revenue losses, Paul’s salary won’t fit unless the Knicks give up salary. The Knicks would love to pawn off the final year of Smith’s contract at $5.7 million. They may have to add either Kevin Knox’s ($4.6 million), whom The Post reported Rose isn’t yet sold on, or Ntilikina’s ($6.2 million), too.
Paul turned 35 on May 6 and stands to make $45 million next season. There’s been talk of an amnesty clause being instituted because of the pandemic. Maybe the Knicks could see if OKC amnesties Chris Paul, who would become a free agent and loves Rose, his former agent.
Both Kobe and Jordan had higher usage rates, and isolation volumes when they ran the triangle than Melo did. In fact, Melo’s usage rate was among the lowest in his career under Phil Jackson’s regime. It’s pretty obvious the problem wasn’t Melo. What’s your take? — Kevin V.
Jackson won 11 NBA rings as an NBA head coach, two as a player. Anthony never won a title. I’d side with Jackson’s philosophies on what it takes to build a title contender.