With the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, it seems the New York Knicks aren’t torn between multiple options. They want to draft Jahlil Okafor out of Duke, or no one at all, which means trading the pick away.
Obviously, this is hypothetical, coming from various draft “experts” but it is known that the Knicks are mostly into Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns. However, it’s hard to see Towns not going number one, with the Timberwolves, holding the first pick in this draft, so into the Kentucky big man. Towns might not be smooth as Okafor is with his back to the basket and lacks the classic post skills Okafor possesses, but in a changing NBA, Towns has a wider range of skills that seem to be appealing to so many teams.
Okafor seemed like the consensus number one pick in 2015 even before he played his first game for Duke. Unlike Andrew Wiggins, who did go number one last year, Okafor’s freshman year with Duke, which ended in a national title for the Blue Devils, hurt his stock a little bit. His defense, his problems in certain aspects of the game and somehow a conclusion was drawn that his ceiling, maybe the most important word on draft night, isn’t as high as Towns’ or for other players like D’Angelo Russell or the rising stock of Kristaps Porziņģis.
Like Jabari Parker last year and maybe Julius Randle if he wasn’t injured on the first game (Parker didn’t avoid injury for too long either), Okafor looks like the player who can contribute the most right away at the moment. The Knicks, arguably the worst team in the league, need someone who can help right away, which is why going after Okafor or nothing at all makes sense, because if they can’t have him, they don’t have the patience to wait for someone else to develop, and the guys coming in at fourth are probably going to need time. It might be better simply turning the pick into a veteran who can help from day 1.