Las Vegas Summer League is just two weeks away, and with it comes a chance for Knicks fans to take in their newly-upgraded young core for the first time.
At Thursday's NBA Draft, New York selected R.J. Barrett with the third overall pick, then Ignas Brazdeikis in the second round. These two rookies will be making their debut in the blue-and-orange, and we'll see some returning faces there to show off their offseason improvements. As always, the team will bring in some undrafted rookies and vagabond free agents to seek out a diamond in the rough.
Here is how the Knicks' Summer League roster appears to be shaping up in what will surely be a fun overlap with free agency come July.
As mentioned, Barrett and Brazdeikis will play and likely start in Las Vegas. Barrett was emotional during his Draft night and has emphasized how much he wants to play for this team. Coming in as one of the most talented players in the class, he'll be the headline for the Knicks, wanting to quickly prove his selection worthy. His jumper and physical effectiveness at this higher level are going to be scrutinized throughout the event.
New York traded up eight picks to nab Brazdeikis, another lefty with the ability to impact the game in multiple ways. The team's analytics department reportedly gushed over him, with strong showings in the shooting and athleticism figures. The Knicks have had a knack for finding value late in the draft, and Iggy could be their best steal since…
Mitchell Robinson stole the show last season after being taken out of the second round, and comes into this Summer League as New York's best proven prospect. It's possible he could bow out of the exhibitions after a couple of impressive showings, he may already be far too good for them.
He'll be joined by fellow second-year neophytes Kevin Knox and Allonzo Trier, two talented scorers who each have a lot of developing to do. Knox underwhelmed after an exciting 2018 Summer League, while Trier went through the opposite, struggling in Vegas and producing well at the next level. Seeing if Knox has gotten more adjusted and Trier more patient will be a thread through July.
There doesn't seem to be word about Dennis Smith Jr., now entering his third NBA season, or Frank Ntilikina, whose name has frequently appeared in trade rumors recently, joining the team in Vegas. However, New York's Westchester G-League affiliate will likely provide familiar names such as Kadeem Allen, Isaiah Hicks and Billy Garrett Jr., who each spent time in the NBA last season.
The Knicks have signed UCLA forward Kris Wilkes, DII Shaw University's Amir Hinton and Louisville's V.J. King to their Summer League roster, all undrafted rookies looking to make their marks.
Wilkes is a lengthy forward with a terrific scoring touch from within the arc, who could easily be an NBA player if he found his stroke from three. Hinton is a pure scorer, standing at 6-foot-5 from the guard position with solid athleticism. He'll be looking to prove he can stand amongst his fellow signees coming out of DII.
King is another rangy forward in the build of Wilkes, though he's a more natural four and bigger threat from three. How he defends in Summer League will likely determine his NBA fate.
Once July arrives the Knicks will be hunting a tremendous haul, potentially two franchise-altering superstars. In the meantime, what they've already collected through losses and drafting and scouting will be on full display in Sin City. Though fans may be preparing for the former to disappoint, the latter should offer plenty of excitement and hope for the future of the franchise.