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Once again, the NBA draft lottery dealt the New York Knicks a rough hand. They went into Thursday with the sixth-best chance at landing the No. 1 pick and slid to the eighth slot.
Without March Madness to evaluate prospects in a hypercompetitive setting, teams further away from the top of the selection order must dig deep into the film on potential draft targets. Even so, front-office executives know their roster’s needs and which players can fill those voids.
Knicks team president Leon Rose, general manager Scott Perry and head coach Tom Thibodeau should build around center Mitchell Robinson and wing RJ Barrett, adding another prolific scorer, preferably a shooter, at the 2 or 3.
Following the lottery, NBA and draft experts gave their opinions on the Knicks’ potential targets. Three of the top analysts had different thoughts on the best pick at No. 8. Which player makes the most sense if available? Let’s go through the prospects.
Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman: F Devin Vassell, Florida State
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At 6’7″, 194 pounds, Devin Vassell has the length to close on shooters, take the ball away while active in the passing lanes and challenge scorers from the 1 to 4 spots. He made significant strides as an offensive playmaker last season.
In his sophomore term, Vassell averaged 12.7 points on 41.5 percent shooting from three-point territory to go along with 1.4 steals and a block per outing. With more experience, he could continue to develop into a complete player on both ends of the court.
According to Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman, Vassell profiles as a prototypical two-way asset fit support to Barrett and Robinson.
“With a nucleus built around RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, New York could use shooting and perimeter defense, and Vassell has established himself as the draft’s most desirable three-and-D wing,” Wasserman wrote.
Vassell can provide an immediate impact at the 3 or 4 with enticing offensive upside. Thibodeau w