The Knicks are heading toward a dead end with their attempts to trade up in the 2021 NBA Draft. President Leon Rose is sitting with three first round selections, but teams simply don’t want to move out of the lottery, no matter how many additional picks they’re gaining. The latest report indicates that the Knicks have contacted the Golden State Warriors to gauge their interest in a potential trade, which would give them the 14th overall pick.
Golden State rejected the offer; New York is going to have to put together a more enticing package that involves more than just the 19th and 21st selections.
According to Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report, the Knicks have already been rejected once from trading up:
“A source says the Knicks have made calls to late-lottery teams about trading up. I’m told the Warriors turned down Nos. 19 and 21 for No. 14. The Knicks don’t have strong enough draft assets to get into the top 10, and now it seems like a long shot they can get into the late lottery.”
If New York can’t manage to move up a few spots, it is entirely possible they sit right where they are and target a few quality prospects. Options like Sharife Cooper, Trey Murphy III, Isaiah Jackson, and Jared Butler could be up for grabs. One player who is climbing the draft board is Chris Duarte out of Oregon, who recently worked out for the Knicks and is excited about the perspective idea of joining them next season.
“It will be great! New York has a big Dominican Republic population. I know I will have their support here. I know that it’s gonna go crazy if I end up in New York. We’ll see what happens,” Duarte said of potentially landing with the Knicks on Tuesday via a Zoom call.
Duarte is a fantastic three point shooter, averaging 17.1 points last season on 42% shooting from range. He averaged 5.5 attempts per game, hitting on 2.3. He also shot 53% from the field over 11.6 attempts, showcasing efficiency in both categories. He would be an ideal 3-and-D player for Tom Thibodeau, featuring as a primary guard. At 6’6″ and 190 pounds, Duarte could add a bit more mass to his frame. He projects as a versatile shot maker, who has elite mechanics and effectiveness. Duarte is 24 years old, far older than the average prospect in the first round, similar to Obi Toppin last year.
Overall, Duarte is a prospect with great upside but lacks a bit of physicality inside around the rim. He doesn’t get to the free-throw line enough and relies heavily on a shooting prowess to carry his offensive production. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the Knicks need a versatile scorer they can depend on to drive to the rim, as well as connect on shots from being on the arc. Currently, the Oregon product ranks 23rd on ESPN’s best available board, but he is climbing the ranks and could be in the conversation at 19 for the Knicks.