New York Knicks 'excited' to own 3rd pick in NBA Draft

 eu.northjersey.com  05/17/2019 19:57:13  2  Chris Iseman

CHICAGO� The Knicks will leave the NBA Draft Combine armed with a top-three pick and a variety of potential options ahead of them.�

Whatever route they choose, the Knicks will have the chance to acquire a high-level player.�

"Were excited about where we are," president Steve Mills said Friday.�"We know well get a good player at 3. So its something were excited about and look forward to."

The Knicks didn't win the Draft lottery on Tuesday, meaning they won't have the chance to draft former Duke sensation Zion Williamson.�

But with a top-three pick, the Knicks can draft one of the best players available. It'll likely come down to either Ja Morant or RJ Barrett.

But the Knicks have spent this week preparing for a variety of scenarios. Mills said the team spoke to about 30 different players.

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That includes Morant and Barrett, and it also includes Texas Tech product Jarrett Culver, who could be an option if the Knicks decide to trade down a few spots.�

"We want to build this the right way," Mills said.�"We always said were going to continue to work hard during the draft process. We believe were a team that can draft well and this is all part of our plan and growing our team."

There's also a completely different scenario.

With the Pelicans owning the No. 1 overall pick, they're poised to draft Williamson. But they could choose to trade all-star center Anthony Davis in the coming weeks.�

The Knicks could use their third pick to build a package for Davis, who according to reports, still plans to not re-sign with the Pelicans despite the imminent addition of Williamson.�

The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are two other teams likely to pursue Davis.

But according to an ESPN report, Pelicans owner Gayle Benson is opposed to dealing Davis to the Lakers. Benson denied that report to a New Orleans radio station, calling it "absurd."

Regardless, it could become�a two-team competition between the Celtics and the Knicks.�

Boston could build a package of young players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.�

But if Kyrie Irving decides he doesn't want to stay with the Celtics, then Boston might not pursue Davis as aggressively, or at all.�

That means the Knicks could have the top offer.�

When asked if the Knicks could look into moving their pick, Mills said the focus is on the Combine.�

"Were here to evaluate the players that are here and well keep moving along in our process," Mills said.

This week provided the Knicks' first steps in what could be a franchise-changing summer.�

They have a high draft pick that they could use to draft a young, impact player, or they could trade for a star.

And free agency isn't too far away. The addition of Kevin Durant and Irving still looms as a strong possibility.�

The Knicks' work this week is just the beginning.�

"It's been a good week for us," Mills said.�

Email: iseman@northjersey.com�

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