The New York Knicks are in a conundrum as presently composed, as they still have veterans and are attempting to win games, but find themselves located towards the basement of the NBA standings. At the moment, only six teams have a worse record at this point of the season with only 13 games remaining on the schedule.

At this point, it would behoove the Knicks to lose games in order to increase their chances of a higher lottery pick position. For now, the odds are heavily in their favor to land at least a top ten selection.

Although the NCAA tournament was condensed to sixteen teams over the weekend, many top prospects for the 2017 draft remain involved. Which of these players should the Knicks and their fans pay special attention during the coming weeks?

Lonzo Ball – PG UCLA

At age 19, with a 6’6 frame, Ball presents freakish ability from the point guard position. He is a gifted passer and has the size to grab rebounds and shoot over the average sized point guard.

Lonzo is often compared to Jason Kidd in terms of his ability to impact a game with rebounding, defense, scoring, and passing. He has a taller build than Kidd, but needs to fill out his thin frame to compete at the next level.

Ball has excelled from beyond the arc this season for UCLA, shooting over 40% from deep. Scouts however, have gone as far as to call his jump shot “ugly” and have hinted that it may need to be rebuilt.

For the Knicks, Ball may be out of reach due to his top three predicted draft value. A couple more losses could move them closer to attaining him, especially if teams allow his father, Lavar, to negatively affect their perception of Lonzo on draft night.

Josh Jackson – SG/SF Kansas

Fresh off of turning 20 in February, Jackson is a two-way wing with potential to be a dynamic player at the next level. Jackson can do it all, as a freshman this season he is averaging 15.3 points with 3.1 assists and 1.5 blocks and steals per game.

For a freshman to score and assist at that clip, while being the secondary ball handler on his team, displays the offensive potential this young man possesses.

The blocks and steals also reiterate his defensive prowess, and his ability to be effective on both ends of the floor. For this reason, he is often compared to Kawhi Leonard, arguably the top two- way player in the NBA today.

Like Ball, Jackson could also be out of the Knicks range as a projected top five selection. However, multiple off the court issues this year earned him a suspension from the team for the start of the Big 12 tournament and could impact his draft stock.

If he slides down the board a few slots and the Knicks find his off court issues to be passable, Jackson could be a slam dunk pick to insert next to Kristaps Porzingis for years to come.

De’Aaron Fox – PG Kentucky

It’s no secret that one of the Knicks biggest needs is a two-way point guard, and De’Aaron Fox may be the answer to Knicks fans’ prayers. Fox is a 6’4 left handed point guard, best described as a pure scorer with great court vision and elite defensive tools.

As a freshman, Fox has averaged 16.1 points with 4.0 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. De’Aaron is commonly compared to Atlanta Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder.

Fox has room for improvement in his overall size, weighing only 175 pounds, and with his control. If he can focus his ability and add muscle to his frame he can be an elite floor general in the NBA.

De’Aaron has been flying up draft boards since the start of 2017, mocked anywhere from 10th to 5th, he should be in the Knicks selection range.

Any of these three players would be a welcomed addition and future building block for the New York Knicks. With Kristaps Porzingis already on board, it is imperative the team adds another young talented player to advance their rebuilding effort.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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