NBA Rumors: Latest on LaMelo Ball, Cole Anthony, Andrew Wiggins Trade BuzzMay 18, 2020
Although the 2020 NBA draft class isn't considered a star-studded group, it's a decent year to find help in the backcourt.
That's an awfully good thing for the New York Knicks.
LaMelo Ball is among the best prospects of the draft cycle, and Cole Anthony is considered a high-upside talent. Both players had injury-shortened seasons in 2019-20, but that will not and should not deter the Knicks from targeting either one.
And it's possible the interest will be reciprocated enough to throw a little drama into the 2020 draft.
"Some league sources believe the Ball camp will try to steer the 18-year-old point guard to the Knicks, though such a maneuver will seem difficult if Leon Rose's club doesn't rise into the top four in the lottery," Marc Berman of the New York Post said.
While a bit conspiratorial, perhaps, the possibility cannot be discounted. LaMelo's father, LaVar, previously said he believes the Knicks are a great fit for his youngest son.
In fairness—strictly on the court—any reliable point guard is an excellent fit in New York. The team is desperate to upgrade the position after Frank Ntilikina, Elfrid Payton and Dennis Smith Jr. shuffled around the rotation in 2019-20.
Ball also has considerable star power from his international profile, so the Knicks' popularity would rise if they drafted him.
Granted, as Berman noted, that possibility may be challenging if the NBA draft lottery isn't friendly to New York. The Knicks have a couple of future first-rounders to dangle in a trade but might be content to stick at their draft position, whatever it is.
Based on the current standings, New York has a 37.2 percent chance at a top-four pick, per Tankathon. While 37.2 is the sixth-highest top-four odds, it also means a 62.8 chance of No. 6 or later—which is decidedly in the Cole Anthony range.
As a freshman at North Carolina, he averaged 15 points, 5.7 rebounds and four assists while the Knicks watched closely.
"One lead guard the Knicks have scouted extensively, per an NCAA source, is North Carolina's Cole Anthony," Ian Begley of SNY reported.
The 20-year-old has drawn criticism for inefficient shooting; he ended with a 34.8 three-point rate and 40.2 overall clip. While part of that can be attributed to a subpar supporting cast at UNC, his struggles with turnovers and in transition are also factors.
The simple summary is Anthony has undeniable talent but needs the right situation to emerge as a standout player.
Sounds a bit similar to Andrew Wiggins, right?
In five-plus seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he scored 19.7 points per game yet shot just 33.2 percent on threes and 44.1 percent overall. At the trade deadline, Minnesota dealt him to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for D'Angelo Russell.
Golden State provided a fresh start for Wiggins. Even so, his longevity with the Warriors will probably be a lingering question given their star-studded roster and expensive salaries.
Apparently, though, the Dubs are committed to the 25-year-old.
"Ask anyone in the organization—during their private or public moments—they got Wiggins with the expectation that he'll be their starting small forward next season, not just a matching contract to flip (like they did with Russell)," per Anthony Slater of The Athletic.
The Kansas product is due more than $94 million over the next three years, according to HoopsHype. Because of that salary, he will be consistently mentioned in rumors and reports if the Warriors make a serious run at a superstar via trade.
For now, though, Wiggins is expected to join Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and a center in Golden State's lineup.
Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.