NBA Draft, New York Knicks

NBA Draft: If Knicks don’t take him, how far will RJ Barrett fall?

R.J. Barrett to the Knicks at No. 3 on Thursday night has seemed like a lock, but how far will he fall if they don’t take him?

When the NBA Draft starts Thursday night, anything but Zion Williamson to the New Orleans Pelicans at No. 1 and Ja Morant to the Memphis Grizzlies at No. 2 will be a big surprise. Williamson’s Duke teammate RJ Barrett to the New York Knick has also seemed like a virtual lock.

The Knicks like Morant, but he’s unlikely to be available at No. 3. According to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, they will have a last-minute workout on Wednesday with Vanderbilt guard Darius Garland. The workout is so late in the process that Garland will miss the draft media session at 11 a.m. ET Wednesday.

Givony added the Minnesota Timberwolves (No. 11), Boston Celtics (No. 14) and Chicago Bulls (No.7) are trying to trade up to No. 4 on the idea of getting Garland.

Barrett worked out for the Knicks, and he was open about his desire to play for them to the point he wasn’t planning to meet with any more teams.

Marc Berman of the New York Post has passed off the Knicks late workout with Garland as simply due diligence.

But if the Knicks take Garland, how far might Barrett fall in Thursday night’s first round?

If the New Orleans Pelicans keep the No. 4 pick, they might consider Barrett. But they’ve got Jrue Holiday at shooting guard, unless he’s traded too, and the fit doesn’t look great.

The Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 5 would surely jump at the chance to take Barrett, and pair him with Collin Sexton in the backcourt. The Phoenix Suns (No. 6) don’t need a two-guard, but the Bulls at No. 7 or the Atlanta Hawks at No. 8 would presumably also take Barrett without hesitation if they stay put.

Next: 2019 NBA Draft: 5 most overrated prospects

If the Knicks do pass on Barrett, however inexplicably based on what’s known, he really shouldn’t fall further than No. 5 to Cleveland. A worst-case scenario puts him in the top-10, and the Knicks going another direction at No. 3 might not be so bad in the big picture

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