If the New York Knicks can trade up during the first round of Thursday night's 2022 NBA draft, it reportedly may be in an effort to select guard Shaedon Sharpe.
According to SNY's Ian Begley, Sharpe "has had fans in high places" in the Knicks organization, which could compel New York to attempt a trade up from No. 11 overall.
The Knicks have also been linked heavily to Purdue guard Jaden Ivey, with Begley reporting this week that New York has considered offering the Sacramento Kings multiple first-round picks in exchange for No. 4 overall with a potential eye toward selecting Ivey.
The 19-year-old Sharpe committed to play college basketball at Kentucky, but the plan had been for him to sit out the 2021-22 season before suiting up in 2022-23.
Instead, Sharpe entered the draft without playing a single minute of college basketball when it became clear that he would be a lottery pick and potentially even a top-five selection.
In his final 2022 NBA mock draft, Bleacher Report NBA draft expert Jonathan Wasserman mocked Sharpe to the Portland Trail Blazers at No. 7 and Ivey to the Kings at No. 4, leaving the Knicks with Duke wing AJ Griffin at No. 11.
If the Knicks do make a play to move up for Sharpe or Ivey, Begley opined that it could be costly in terms of assets, with New York possibly having to surrender multiple first-round picks and one of Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley or Quentin Grimes.
That price could be worth it if the Knicks believe Sharpe or Ivey have superstar potential to go along with another budding star in R.J. Barrett.
Last season was a disappointing one for the Knicks, as they went 37-45 and missed the playoffs after making the playoffs the previous year, but Barrett's development was a major positive.
The 2019 No. 3 overall pick averaged career highs with 20.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 three-pointers made per game.
If the Knicks can land Sharpe, he could be an ideal fit next to his fellow Canadian in Barrett.
While there would be some risk involved with using a high pick on Sharpe after he sat out a year, the 6'5" guard has long been coveted by colleges and NBA teams alike, ranking as the No. 3 overall player and No. 1 shooting guard in 247Sports' composite rankings for the 2021 recruiting class.
Sharpe was also compared to Chicago Bulls All-Star guard Zach LaVine by 247Sports recruiting analyst Eric Bossi, which makes sense given that the Knicks have been linked to LaVine at times in recent years.
The Knicks are in danger of falling even further out of contention if they don't make a big splash this offseason, and moving up in the draft for an elite talent like Sharpe would fit the bill for what they need.