The NBA draft is just days away, but the Knicks surely wish they could just sign Purdue star Jaden Ivey today.
With the top three picks in the draft seemingly set with Auburn’s Jabari Smith, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and Duke’s Paolo Banchero reportedly occupying those spots, Ivey, the fourth-ranked prospect, will be the draft’s most intriguing player remaining on the board.
Reports say the Knicks, who have the No. 11 pick, are offering packages to move up in the draft to choose Ivey, who has worked out for a bevy of NBA teams. The Knicks aren’t one of them, but they did attend his pro day. That hasn’t stopped Knicks brass from expressing interest, and Ivey had some flattering things to say about an organization that has been slumped in a 20-year culture of losing.
On a Zoom call, Ivey, the son of Notre Dame women’s basketball head coach Niele Ivey, spoke at length about the Knicks.
— CAA Basketball (@CAA_Basketball) May 18, 2022
“Obviously a tremendous opportunity, a tremendous organization in the New York Knicks.”
“Obviously, I’d be honored to play there. They made the playoffs two years ago. And I feel like I could complement the organization and help them win if they draft me.”
Ivey’s upside and ability to play multiple positions because of his elite athleticism, seems to be something that NBA teams covet in this era of pace-and-space. In his final season at Purdue, he averaged 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. He also showed marked improvement from three-point range, going 25 percent as a freshman to 36 percent this past season.
Ivey is a 6-foot-4 combo guard with a skill set likened to those of Lakers superstar Russell Westbrook and Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant.
Knicks Would Have To Trade Up To Get Ivey
With the Knicks holding the No. 11 pick, they’d have to move up to draft the former Boilermakers star. That means a trade with the listless Sacramento Kings, who hold the No. 4 pick, would have to happen. A combination of players and picks would have to be sent West to acquire that No. 4 pick the Knicks reportedly want. Current Knicks players like Obi Toppin, Cam Reddish, Quentin Grimes and Immanuel Quickley are all possibilities to be moved along with picks to move up.
During Monday’s NBA draft media session, Ivey, made some comments about possibly being drafted by the seemingly always rebuilding Kings, who haven’t made the playoffs since the Chris Webber days.
“I haven’t been in contact with them, didn’t work out for them,” said Ivey, who gave a very different reaction when discussing the possibility of joining the Knicks. “Kind of just letting this process handle itself. If I got drafted there it wouldn’t be the worst option.”
“It’s not a conscious decision. I never really made the decision to not talk with Sacramento. It just kind of happened.”
Jaden Ivey talks about the benefits of watching NBA players work out when his mom, Niele, was an assistant coach for the Memphis Grizzlies 💯
— NBA Draft (@NBADraft) May 19, 2022
Ivey is smart enough to know the difference in marketability between New York and the California state capital as well. Basketball is only a part of the equation. Also the Kings already have two guards in De’Aaron Fox and Davison Mitchell who are very similar in size, skill set and style of play.
Ivey Is Friends With Knicks Rising Star RJ Barrett
In this era of AAU basketball, many players have long relationships with each other and have become friends, like Ivey and Knicks rising star RJ Barrett. The two competed against one another many times on the AAU circuit.
Ivey would love to the opportunity to team with Barrett, whom he calls a winner like himself.
“I think I could fit there,” Ivey said. “I feel like I have that DNA to be a winner. Obviously, you gotta have guys that want to win, in order to win. And … they wanna win. It starts in practice and I feel like I have that DNA to win. We’re just gonna see what happens.”
Sounds like Ivey actually wants to be a New York Knicks player. The orange and blue haven’t gotten that kind of love in a minute.