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NBA PM: Knicks Still Chasing Ricky Rubio

With the Knicks still reportedly interested in Ricky Rubio, they may be tipping their draft plans.

Moke Hamilton

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This past February, the New York Knicks flirted with the Minnesota Timberwolves about the possibility of trading Ricky Rubio to the Big Apple. The Knicks had interest in Rubio dating back to 2009. That year, Rubio was drafted by the T-Wolves with the fifth overall pick in the draft—three spots ahead of the Knicks. The franchise opted to select Jordan Hill at eighth and has struggled to find consistent play at the point guard position since.

According to a report from Ian Begley of ESPN New York, some in the Knicks organization remain hopeful that the Knicks can still find a way to acquire Rubio. There are some obvious pros and cons to the addition, but what makes it most interesting is what it may say about the thinking of Phil Jackson and his front office.

In last week’s draft lottery, the Knicks secured the eighth pick in what is considered to be a guard heavy draft. Having consistently been a position of weakness for the Knicks, zeroing in on a young guard seems to make a lot of sense. However, with Jackson’s noted affinity for playing in his beloved triangle, there’s now reason to wonder.

Many around the Knicks organization believe that Carmelo Anthony has played his last game with the franchise, and Jackson has already let it be known that he believes Anthony would be better off elsewhere. With a dearth of small forward talent on the roster and concerns about scoring points without Anthony, it might make sense for the Knicks to look to replace Anthony with a younger wingman who could excel alongside Kristaps Porzingis.

That’s why the Rubio report is interesting.

Although the seventh pick isn’t preferable to, say, the third, the Knicks will certainly have an opportunity to grab one of the six intriguing prospects on the board after Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball are (presumably) selected by the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers: Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson, De’Aaron Fox, Dennis Smith, Jonathan Isaac and Malik Monk.

If the Knicks truly are interested in Rubio, however, it could be a tipping of their hand.

Some familiar with the thinking of the front office in New York have cautioned against buying into the conventional wisdom that says the Knicks should draft a point guard with an eye toward developing him for the future. The acquisition of Derrick Rose was done, in part, to give the Knicks an opportunity to gauge whether and to what extent that an “attack guard” would mesh within the offensive philosophy. Early on, though, it was quite obvious that Rose wasn’t happy being forced into the system.

One can only wonder how a young explosive guard would take to the same demand.

As cautioned earlier, teams generally approach the draft in one of two ways: some pick the prospect with the best perceived value, regardless of the pieces that currently sit on their roster. One of the most recent examples of occurred back in the 2009 draft—the very one where Rubio was drafted. Despite having a bevy of talented guards on the roster, including Jamal Crawford and Monta Ellis, the Golden State Warriors selected Stephen Curry with the seventh overall pick.

It’s safe to say that was a wise decision, though it was high-risk.

In the most notable occurrence of the opposite—a team selecting based on perceived roster need—the Detroit Pistons passed on Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh back in 2003.

At this point, nobody seems to know for sure what the Knicks are thinking regarding their biggest need, but their apparent interest in Rubio is noteworthy. Generally, point guard appears to be a position of strength across the league. Almost every team either has one that has proven himself to be really, really good or appears capable of being really, really good. For that reason, one could argue, it makes little sense to use an early pick on acquiring a point guard, especially if there are bound to be plus contributors available on the free agency and trade markets.

That becomes even more true if the Knicks continue to be married to Jackson and the triangle.

This is precisely what makes covering the draft so interesting. Often, it’s difficult to figure out what teams are thinking, what’s real and what is a smokescreen. Considering that the Knicks continue to have registered interest in Rubio, however, this is noteworthy.

So on the night of the 2017 NBA Draft, as crazy as it may seem, don’t be surprised if the Knicks walk away having not selected a guard.

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Legacy

Looking For A Few Great Voices!

From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

Basketball Insiders

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From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

We are considering adding new voices for the 2020-21 NBA Season, and what we are looking for is very specific.

Here are the criteria:
– A body of professional work that reflects an understanding of the NBA and basketball.
– Must live within 30 minutes of an NBA team.
– Must be willing to write two to three times per week on various topics as assigned.
– Must write in AP style and meet assigned deadlines.
– Be willing to appear in Podcasts and Video projects as needed and scheduled.
– Have a strong understanding of social media and its role in audience development.
– Be willing to work in a demanding virtual team environment.

Some things to know and consider:
– We are not hiring full-time people. If you are seeking a full-time gig, this is not that.
– This will be a low or non-compensation role initially. We need to understand your value and fit.
– We have a long track record of creating opportunities for those that excel in our program.
– This will be a lengthy interview and evaluation process. We take this very seriously, so should you.
– If you are not committed to being great, this is not the right situation for you.

If you are interested, please follow these specific instructions, Drop us an e-mail with:

Your Name:

The NBA Market You Live Near:

And Why We Should Consider You:

We do not need your resume, but a few links to work you have done under the above information would be helpful.

Please send all of this to: openings2021@basketballinsiders.com

 

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Headlines

#17 – Aleksej Pokusevski – Oklahoma City Thunder

David Yapkowitz

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With the 17th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select Aleksej Pokusevski from Serbia. The Thunder completed a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire the pick.

Pokusevski is a long term project, but one that has has an intriguing skillset. A 7-footer with good speed and quickness, Pokusevski plays like a wing and can pass like a guard. But, to truly thrive at the next level, Pokusevski will need to put on some serious weight.

Again, he’s a project. But Pokusevski’s ceiling is sky-high. And, with a rebuild ahead of them, the Thunder have more than enough time to work with him and ensure he reaches it.

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Mock Drafts

2020 NBA Mock Draft – The Final 60-Pick Mock

What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Steve Kyler

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What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Here is a final look at the 2020 Draft, and how it may play out in this final 60-pick Mock Draft of the 20202 NBA Draft process:

 

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