After dropping to the No. 3 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks made it very clear out of the gates they want RJ Barrett, which many saw as a consolation prize for losing out on Zion Williamson.
At one point, Barrett was considered the best player in this year’s draft until Williamson absolutely dominated in historic fashion on the college level.
Barrett to the Knicks seemed like an inevitability. Not only because the 18-year-old is widely considered the third best player, but because if the Knicks attempt to trade for Anthony Davis, the idea of teaming up Williamson and Barrett on the New Orleans Pelicans might be enough for them to accept an offer.
Now, there are reports the Knicks may not even want Barrett, according to Sean Deveney of Sporting News:
Rumors have even cropped up about the Knicks considering Culver over Barrett with the No. 3 pick. At the least, the Knicks will weigh the option.
Barrett said shortly after the 2019 NBA Draft lottery that he hopes to end up on the Knicks or Los Angeles Lakers with the No. 3 and 4 pick should the Memphis Grizzlies follow through on their promise to select Ja Morant at No. 2:
According to an NBA source, the 6-foot-7 Duke swingman prefers if he drops past Memphis, to No. 3 or No. 4, to get to play with either the Knicks or Lakers.
It seems unlikely the Knicks would pass up on Barrett for the reasons listed earlier. But if they do, it would be significant for the Lakers. The Lakers could take Barrett at No. 4 and use him as leverage to get Davis from the Pelicans with the same idea of a Williamson-Barrett tandem.
Jarrett Culver is a supremely talented player, which means the Knicks may legitimately be considering this option. However, unless the Pelicans are telling them to pick Culver, the Knicks doing so may remove them from the Davis sweepstakes as their assets currently on the roster simply aren’t strong enough at the moment.
With June 20 quickly approaching, it’s likely there will be new and conflicting reports. While the Knicks may seriously be weighing these two choices, it’s probable that this could be a complete smokescreen from New York. All these questions will be answered next month but for now, fans simply have to sit back and enjoy the intrigue.