Leading up to the NBA Draft, teams leak various bits of information about prospects they may or may not be interested in — some of it is true, and some of it is simply meant to create leverage in potential trade scenarios.
If the latest report is to be believed, which says the Knicks have their eyes on Trey Lyles, it would appear to be the type of tidbit meant to create some trade opportunities.
While Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein have garnered the most attention, the Knicks for months have been enamored with Trey Lyles, according to a team source. Lyles is a 6-foot-10 forward out of Indianapolis who Phil Jackson sees as a good fit for the triangle offense.
Would the Knicks select Lyles with the fourth overall pick? Crazier things have happened and if Jackson truly believes Lyles, the 2014 Indiana Mr. Basketball who was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and has played internationally for the U.S. and Canada, is worth it, perhaps he’ll make the move. A more plausible scenario would be for the Knicks to trade down, since most draft experts don’t see him as a top 10 pick.
Most mock drafts, including ours, have Lyles going outside of the lottery in the mid-first-round range.
New York isn’t likely to take a chance here if one of the consensus top-three prospects — Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor or D’Angelo Russell — remains on the board when it’s their turn to make a selection. That could happen, for example, if the Timberwolves or Lakers surprise by taking someone other than Towns or Okafor, because the Sixers are sitting at three, and already have two cornerstone bigs in Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid, and could go with someone like Emmanuel Mudiay instead.
But if things go as they’re currently being projected, the Knicks would potentially have a difficult decision to make.
They wouldn’t need to use the fourth overall pick on Lyles if that’s who they truly want; trading down to get additional assets along with Lyles would make the most sense. But Phil Jackson is unproven in being responsible for making draft day decisions, so it’ll be very interesting to see if he can make the right maneuvers to get the player he wants — and do it in the most intelligent way possible.