Knicks' Steve Mills: Trae Young 'Has the Chance to Be a Special Player'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 5, 2018

FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2018, file photo, Oklahoma guard Trae Young (11) brings the ball up court during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Texas, in Norman, Okla. Trae Young has had one of the best freshman seasons in NCAA history. His decision on whether to go pro or not looms.  (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

New York Knicks president Steve Mills paid Oklahoma guard Trae Young some big compliments Monday ahead of the team's scheduled workout with the NBA draft prospect Tuesday.

According to Stefan Bondy of the Daily News, Mills believes Young has the potential to be a star at the NBA level: "He's a little bit bigger than he looked on the court—a little bit bigger—but he's an intriguing talent. You look at what [Young] did with the players he had around him and what he was doing at the start of the season, you have to say this guy has the chance to be a special player."

In the NBA draft on June 21, the Knicks own the No. 9 overall pick, which is in the area where Young is widely expected to come off the board.

Young was named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year and was a consensus first-team All-American after a dominant 2017-18 season with the Sooners.

With 27.4 points and 8.7 assists per game, Young was the Division I leader in both scoring and assists, a feat that had never been accomplished previously in college basketball history.

While Young's play dropped off during the second half of the season, Mills said he liked what he saw out of the explosive guard in the NCAA tournament: "When I went to see him play at the tournament—and that was the first time I've seen him live—I was really impressed with the way he moves the basketball. He sees everything on the floor, he's willing to release the ball and get it out on the fast break. So his ability to see was really impressive."

Young didn't have much help around him during his one season at Oklahoma, but he still managed to lead the team to the tournament in spite of that.

In his most recent big board, Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman ranked Young as the No. 6 overall prospect on the draft.

Wasserman then projected in his latest mock draft that the Orlando Magic will select Young with the No. 6 overall pick. In the same mock, Wasserman had New York taking Villanova small forward Mikal Bridges at No. 9.

The Knicks don't have a major need at guard after selecting Frank Ntilikina with the No. 8 overall pick in last year's draft in addition to trading for Emmanuel Mudiay and signing Trey Burke.

If Young is still on the board when the Knicks pick, however, they will have a difficult choice to make in terms of picking for need versus taking the best player available.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.