Jaden Ivey would welcome landing in New York if the Knicks can maneuver a trade up to select him in the NBA draft on Thursday, but it will cost plenty for them to do it.
ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas, who compared the Purdue point guard Tuesday to “a little bit of a combination” of Ja Morant and Dwyane Wade, said the Knicks had better be prepared to give up “a lot” to move up from No. 11 in a potential deal with the Kings at No. 4.
“It depends on what they’re willing to part with, and what Sacramento is willing to take. If I were drafting at four in this draft, I’d want a lot, and I can imagine that Sacramento is gonna feel the same way with that pick,” Bilas said on a conference call. “Because Jaden Ivey is a valuable asset whether you have him on the team or a valuable asset whether you want to trade him later.
“He’s super-talented. …Those are tough, tough decisions. I have no idea what they want to part with, but it better be a lot if somebody’s gonna give up the fourth pick.”
The 20-year-old Ivey, a consensus second-team All-American this season in leading Purdue to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, had said Monday, without being asked about the Knicks, that “there could be situations where I can land in New York.”
The Knicks likely would have to surrender their first-round pick this year, along with future draft capital and one of their young players — perhaps Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes or Cam Reddish — to vault into the range of the fourth (Kings ) or fifth overall picks (Pistons).
The 6-foot-4 Ivey could finally provide a long-term answer at point guard for the Knicks. 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 sort of a little 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 yet coming out of Marquette back in 2003. But what an explosive athlete, incredibly fast in the open floor. He can shoot it; he’s a shot creator. His defense I think will improve or should improve because he’s not been the most focused defender, but there’s not a whole lot to complain about on the offensive end 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 unfolds before they are 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 range. ESPN’s most recent mock draft has the Knicks taking Griffin, a 6-6 wing who averaged 10.4 points and shot 44.7 percent from long distance as a freshman for the Blue Devils.
Bilas believes the 18-year-old Griffin — the son of former Tom Thibodeau assistant Adrian Griffin — would be a good fit for the Knicks.
“Oh, absolutely. I think he could fit almost anywhere because he can shoot it, and he plays hard,” Bilas said. “But he’s still so young. He’s got some developing to do, just like a number of other 19-year-olds coming out in the draft. They’re not finished products yet.”
Notre Dame freshman guard Blake Wesley, projected by ESPN to be selected 20th overall, revealed that he was part of a four-player workout Monday at the Knicks’ training facility in Tarrytown.
“For what Tom Thibodeau wants, I think he wants a defender as a point guard, and I can do both,” Wesley said. “I can defend, I can score and get others involved, and just play my role. Whatever he wants me to do, just play it.”