On February 6, 2020, the New York Knicks, Washington Wizards, and Los Angeles Clippers agreed to a three-team trade that sent Marcus Morris, Sr. and Isaiah Thomas to SoCal, Jerome Robinson to the nation’s capital, and Moe Harkless and a 2020 first-round pick to the Big Apple.
The Knicks knew the Clippers would need a good shooter to help out Kawhi Leonard and Paul George down the stretch and with the Clippers in “win-now” mode, I don’t believe it was too difficult for Los Angeles to say “yes” in giving away their first-round pick this season, knowing it would come later in the draft.
Getting a 2020 first-round pick is huge for New York, too. I’m sure the Knicks’ front office pushed for a first-round pick this year as opposed to one next year or the following year.
Although I wouldn’t be opposed to trading this pick along with the eighth pick to move up, the Knicks should use this late-round pick to draft a guard if they did not do so earlier in the night.
Here are a few guards they might think about taking with the Clippers’ pick.
Devon Dotson // University of Kansas
A five-star recruit out of high school, Dotson played in the 2018 All-American game and played against RJ Barrett. Dotson chose to enroll at Kansas over schools including UCLA, Maryland, Florida, and North Carolina.
In his freshman year under Bill Self, the 6’2”, 185 lbs. Dotson started in all 36 games he played in, averaging 12.3 PPG, 3.5 APG, and 3.7 RPG on 48% shooting from the field, 36% from three-point, and 78% from the free-throw line in 32.4 MPG. After the season, he was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team and the All-Big 12 third-team. He declared for the 2019 NBA Draft but withdrew following the Combine.
In his sophomore year, he scored a career-high 31 points to go along with four assists, six rebounds, and five steals in a win over Obi Toppin and the Dayton Flyers to win the Maui Invitational. He was named Co-MVP of the tournament. He finished the campaign starting in all 30 games he played, averaging 18.1 PPG, 4.0 APG, 4.1 RPG, and 2.1 SPG, shooting 47% from the field, 31% from three, and 83% from the free-throw line in 34.9 MPG. He was named to the First-team All-Big 12 and was a Consensus second-team All-American.
He can get to the rim quickly using his explosive speed. He uses his quickness to create in the open floor, turn corners in pick-and-rolls. As an aggressive slasher, defenders have trouble staying in front of him, and has proven himself to not only finish but be a successful passer as well. In 2019-20, he ranked 1st in the Big 12 in transition scoring (4.9 PPG), ranked 1st in the Big 12 in pick and roll scoring (4.8 PPG), ranked 4th in the Big 12 in handoff scoring (0.8 PPG), and ranked 5th in the Big 12 in isolation scoring (1.4 PPG). He wears jersey number 1 after his favorite player growing up, Derrick Rose, who he tries to imitate his game from.
On defense, Dotson is a pest. He allowed 0.44 points per isolation possession, placing him in the 88th percentile, although there is still room for improvement in areas like off-ball defense.
He is also a very good rebounder at his position, making more of an impact on the glass than most point guards.
Joining me for an ESPN Film Session tomorrow, Kansas star PG Devon Dotson, arguably the fastest player in the draft. Dotson is coming off a huge sophomore season: 18.1 PTS, 4.0 REBS, 4.1 AST, 2.1 STL in 35 MIN. pic.twitter.com/BG9aJWmsoY
— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) August 18, 2020
Kira Lewis, Jr. // University of Alabama
At 6’3”, 165 lbs., the Hazel Green, Alabama native was one of the youngest players in Division I in 2018 after deciding to reclassify and enroll a year early, choosing to stay in-state rather than go to Indiana or Kansas. Lewis started in all 34 games his freshman season under head coach Avery Johnson. He averaged 13.5 PPG, 2.9 APG, and 2.3 RPG, shooting 43% from the field, 36% from three, and 78% from the charity stripe in 31.6 MPG, leading him to be named to the SEC All-Freshman Team.
After his freshman year, Johnson was fired and was replaced by Nate Oats, the head coach at the University of Buffalo.
Under Oats, Lewis broke out. He started in all 31 games and averaged 18.5 PPG, 5.2 APG, 4.8 RPG, shooting 46% from the field, 37% from three, and 80% from the line in 37.6 MPG. He was named to the All-SEC First team after his sophomore year and declared for the draft.
Although his frame is still filling out, Lewis has impressive open court speed to go along with the good size and solid length. His freshman year, Lewis was scoring more in transition and from the perimeter, but he took a significant leap his sophomore year as his school’s primary shot creator. He showed growth as a passer, especially in pick-and-roll situations, while continuing to score in transition and using his jumper. He ranked 9th in the NCAA and 1st in the SEC in points created bypasses out of the pick and roll (10.0 PPG), ranked 3rd in the SEC in transition scoring (5.1 PPG), and ranked 5th in the SEC in pick and roll scoring (4.9 PPG)
On defense, his speed and length led to impressive moments that included him intercepting the ball and getting in passing lanes, and containing the ball in the half-court. Lewis is still learning how to be a factor off the ball where he was quick to help and rotate early but not always to react when the ball kept moving. His skinny frame is really going to be something to work on, though. Opposing offenses regularly tested him as he defended as many ball screens as nearly any player in the country.
He will be among the youngest players in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Quick 1 min video on Kira Lewis showing a few things:
– He should absolutely kill in transition and on 2ndary break
– has shown really nice finishes w/LH
– can contort body at the rim to avoid contact
– burst, speed, and acceleration are elite (and does a great job staying low) pic.twitter.com/bNks7HLk4z
— Spencer (@SKPearlman) July 4, 2020
Nico Mannion // University of Arizona
The son of Pace, the 43rd overall pick in the 1983 NBA Draft who played six seasons in the NBA, Nico is a talented player all-around with room to develop. The Italian-born American averaged 14.0 PPG and 5.3 APG for the Arizona Wildcats and was named to the All-Pac 12 second team in his lone season in Tucson. He was an instant impact for Sean Miller’s team thanks to his vision, shot-making, and feel for the game.
Mannion stands at 6’3” at a strong and developed 190 lbs. A 6’2” or so wingspan gives him good size as a point guard, coupled with good leaping abilities and quickness. Mannion is also the type of player that can score at all three levels, can work well as the ball handler in pick-and-roll situations, with great footwork, creative passing ability, limits turnovers and pushes the tempo well.
Mannion does well at defense as well but isn’t anything to salivate over either. He can handle his own on defense. He shows good anticipation on defense and shows aggression in the passing lanes. He stays engaged off-ball and closes out well, but he’ll have to learn to get to those closeout spots quicker due to his lack of length.
He also uses that good leaping ability to grab a few rebounds but will need to get stronger to be able to grab boards at the next level.
Arizona Freshman Nico Mannion!
23 PTS (9-15 FG)
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) November 11, 2019
Jahmi’us Ramsey // Texas Tech University
After two seasons at Mansfield Summit High School in his hometown of Arlington, Texas, Ramsey transferred to coveted IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where he played a national schedule and drew more interest from schools. He then decided to transfer to Duncanville High School in Duncanville, Texas after initially intending to join Oak Hill Academy (where Carmelo Anthony finished high school). After high school, he joined Chris Beard’s team in Lubbock, Texas, who was fresh off a runner-up finish in the NCAA Tournament.
The departures of Jarrett Culver and Tariq Owens left the Red Raiders core depleted, so the 6’4”, 195 lbs. Ramsey was inserted quickly into the starting lineup. On August 15, 2019, in a preseason win over Mega Bermax, a professional Serbian team, Ramsey scored 44 points and hauled in 12 rebounds. In his first official game in the NCAA, he scored 19 points in a win over Eastern Illinois. In a game against LIU, he scored 27 points (5-for-6 from three) and grabbed six rebounds. In his lone season, Ramsey started in all 27 games he played, averaging 15.0 PPG, 2.2 APG, 4.0 SPG, and 1.3 SPG on 44% shooting from the field, 43% from behind the arc, but 64% from the free-throw line in 31.2 MPG.
Primarily a shooting guard who could dabble a bit at point guard, Ramsey is an aggressive offensive guard who can score in bunches from the perimeter. He has good size for a two-guard but lacks length with a 6’6” wingspan. He is a good athlete with good body control but is more fluid than shifty with the ball, however, he flashes solid explosiveness in the open floor. Ramsey did as much scoring creating his own shot as he did spacing the floor and filling lanes in transition and emerged as a dangerous set shooter with an improving floor game. Compared to his senior year of high school, he has shown significant development as a perimeter threat. Like Lewis, Ramsey will be among the youngest players available in the draft. Ramsey had a few ups and downs as a freshman but showed encouraging progress as a scorer that leaves plenty of room for optimism moving forward.
On the other side of the ball, Ramsey moves his feet and uses his frame pretty well when he’s locked in. He allowed 0.71 point per isolation possession, placing him in the 47th percentile. However, he is more comfortable sliding on the wings than fighting in the post after switches.
Still finding a comfort level as an off-ball defender, Ramsey still has some natural maturing to do as he gains experience.
Competitive stretch of 3-on-3 here in T-Mobile Arena. Some impressive moments for future Texas Tech guard Jahmius Ramsey. 6-4 with a great frame, plus-athleticism, a competitive streak, and shooting potential. pic.twitter.com/17wmhxNKxt
— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) April 19, 2019
R.J. Hampton // United States
A five-star recruit out of high school with offers from schools like Kansas, Memphis, and Texas Tech, the 6’5”, 185 lbs, guard shocked everyone when he announced his reclassification to the class of 2019 and his intentions to join the New Zealand Breakers of the Australian-based National Basketball League, joining LaMelo Ball. “I want to live like a pro and to play with grown men and not have to juggle books and basketball,” said Hampton of his decision. He recorded 11 points, three rebounds, and four assists in his professional debut. His best game came against the South East Melbourne United where he tallied 20 points, five rebounds, and three steals. On December 11, he suffered a hip injury and missed nearly a month. He played just 15 games, starting in 12, for the Breakers where he averaged a modest 8.8 PPG, 2.4 APG, and 3.9 RPG on 41% shooting from the field.
Experts feel like Hampton has a high ceiling. His elite combination of speed, explosiveness, and length makes his most noteworthy skill attacking the rim downhill and in isolation situations, highlighted with the ability to finish at the rim and a crafty Euro-step. He can potentially emerge as a great playmaker who can create solid opportunities for his teammates off the pick-and-roll. One of the knocks on Hampton on offense though is his lack of hitting from deep. He shows inaccuracy and lack of confidence when he shoots, even though his form is pretty. His indecision of shooting from deep led to NBL defenses going under screens when guarding him, daring him to pull the trigger. NBA defenses could pick up on that even quicker.
But, Hampton has all the tools to become a great defensive player. He used his athleticism and length to recover and close out on defenders after getting beat or screened. However, he does have a tendency to lack defensive awareness and focus at times. He usually runs right into the chest of a big man when getting screened. I don’t think he wants to run right into the chest of Steven Adams, so developing that at this level will be crucial.
Lastly, even though Hampton is a good on-ball defender, he struggles at times on off-ball defenses, especially navigating through and around off-ball screens.
Does the name Frank Ntilikina sound familiar?
RJ Hampton is a professional point guard. ?? pic.twitter.com/AT1mrtTfB7
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) November 7, 2019
Again, these are some players the Knicks could look at late in the first round if they decide to not draft a point guard early in the night.
Like I said, I wouldn’t be opposed to the Knicks sending this pick and the eighth pick in a package to get a top 3 pick in the draft.
The bottom line: the Knicks need to find a point guard that can make this team better and develop RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson.
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