Jaden Ivey would be happy to land in New York if the Knicks can maneuver a trade to select him in the NBA Draft on Thursday, but it will cost them dearly to do so.
ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas, who on Tuesday compared the Purdue point guard to “a bit of a combination” of Ja Morant and Dwyane Wade, said the Knicks had better be ready to drop “a lot” to move from No. 1. 11 in a potential deal with the Kings to No. 4.
“It depends on what they’re willing to part with and what Sacramento is willing to take. If I were to pick four in this draft, I’d like it a lot, and I can imagine Sacramento will feel the same way with this pick,” Bilas said on a conference call. “Because Jaden Ivey is a valuable asset whether you have him in the team or a valuable asset whether you want to trade him later.
“He is super talented. … These are difficult and difficult decisions. I have no idea what they want to part with, but it better be a lot if someone has to give up the fourth pick.
Ivey, 20, a consensus second-team All-American this season in leading Purdue to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, said Monday, without being asked about the Knicks, that “there might be situations where I can land at New York.
The Knicks would likely have to give up their first-round pick this year, along with the future draft capital and one of their young players — perhaps Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes or Cam Reddish — to jump into the lineup of the fourth (Kings) or fifth overall pick (Pistons).
The 6-foot-4 Ivey could finally provide a long-term answer to the Knicks point guard. He averaged 17.3 points with 3.1 assists while shooting 35.8 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore last season for the Boilermakers.
“He’s so dynamic and explosive,” Bilas said. “He’s a bit of a combination of the speed and explosiveness of Ja Morant and then the size and length of Dwyane Wade.
“He’s not as powerful as Wade was coming out of [college], at least still out of Marquette in 2003. But what an explosive athlete, incredibly fast on the open floor. He can shoot it; he is a creator of plans. I think his defense will improve or should improve because he hasn’t been the most focused defender, but there’s not much to complain about on the offensive side with Jaden Ivey. He’s a star caliber talent.
If the Knicks stay where they are at No. 11, Bilas said their direction will depend on how the top 10 plays out before they’re on the clock. But he mentioned Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis, Duke forward AJ Griffin and Ohio State forward Malaki Branham as those potentially available in their lineup. ESPN’s most recent mock draft has the Knicks taking on Griffin, a 6-6 wing who averaged 10.4 points and shot 44.7% from long range as a rookie for the Blue Devils.
Bilas thinks 18-year-old Griffin — the son of former Tom Thibodeau assistant Adrian Griffin — would be a perfect fit for the Knicks.
“Oh, absolutely. I think he could go almost anywhere because he can shoot it and he plays hard,” Bilas said. “But he’s still so young. He’s got development to do, everything like a number of other 19-year-olds who entered the draft, they are not yet finished products.
Notre Dame first-year guard Blake Wesley, who ESPN says is expected to be selected 20th overall, revealed he was part of a four-man practice Monday at the Knicks’ Tarrytown practice facility.
“For what Tom Thibodeau wants, I think he wants a defenseman as a point guard, and I can do both,” Wesley said. “I can defend, I can score and involve others, and just play my part. Anything he wants me to do, play it.