Knicks Rumors: Isaac Okoro Has Support Within NYK Ahead of 2020 NBA Draft

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2020

Auburn forward Isaac Okoro (23) dribbles up court against Florida during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Stamey)
Matt Stamey/Associated Press

Auburn small forward Isaac Okoro is reportedly one of the prospects under strong consideration for the New York Knicks with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft on Oct. 16.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported Monday there's "support among Knicks brass" for Okoro, and Tigers head coach Bruce Pearl confirmed the team's front office reached out to discuss him.

"They've done their homework on him," Pearl told Berman. "I didn't get a read on it, but they've done their due diligence."

Okoro (6'6", 225 lbs) was a strong across-the-board contributor during his only college season. He averaged 12.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 51.4 percent from the field in 28 games. The biggest concern was his struggles from outside the arc, as he knocked down just 28.6 percent of his three-point attempts.

An NBA personnel director isn't sure whether the forward will still be available for the Knicks with the eighth pick, though.

"This draft [Okoro] gets consideration as high as No. 4," the source told Berman. "He's got NBA size, is an athlete with toughness and plays D. So he can get on the court fairly quickly. Coaches like that. After the top three, you can make a case for a lot of players."

The Knicks remain in the market for a point guard, so they've frequently been linked to the likes of Killian Hayes and Tyrese Haliburton during the early stages of mock draft season. It's far from the team's only need as it rebuilds under new president Leon Rose.

Berman noted point guard LaMelo Ball sits atop Rose's draft board, but it's hard to envision a scenario where he's still available at No. 8. Ball, Anthony Edwards, Deni Avdija and James Wiseman are among the top players in a class without a bona fide No. 1 prospect.

The Knicks are in dire need of more high-end talent. There's still hope RJ Barrett, the third overall pick in last year's draft, can reach that level. The team's other key pieces from this season, including Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson, are better served as secondary contributors.

Okoro would have an opportunity to step right in as a starter on the wing alongside Barrett. It'll be interesting to see whether New York at least considers trading up for a more touted prospect like Ball, though.

On the flip side, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Knicks trade down to accumulate extra picks if Okoro and those other likely top-five targets are off the board. They can go a lot of different directions, which makes them one of the most intriguing teams to monitor heading toward the draft.