Jaden Ivey brings up Knicks unprompted in NBA Draft 2022 intrigue
In the words of Lloyd Christmas in “Dumb and Dumber,” “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?”
Knicks fans dreaming of landing Jaden Ivey in Thursday’s NBA draft now know the best guard prospect — and likely fourth overall pick — would welcome the chance to come to New York City and play for the orange and blue. The Kings, who own the fourth pick, are reportedly not Ivey’s preferred choice, and the ultra-talented guard said he hasn’t had any contract with them.
“If I got drafted there, it wouldn’t be the worst option,” Ivey said on Monday of Sacramento, which already has two guards, De’Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell, similar to him.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Now, it’s up to Leon Rose and Co. to move up to select the superstar out of Purdue.
“There could be situations where I can land in New York,” Ivey said, bringing up the Knicks unprompted when asked about teams that have caught his eye.
Later, the 6-foot-4 Ivey said if the Knicks drafted him it would be “a tremendous opportunity, tremendous organization, the New York Knicks. I would be honored to be able to play there. They recently just made the playoffs two years ago. I feel like I could complement the organization and help them win if they drafted me.”
The Knicks pick 11th and likely would need to trade for the Kings’ selection to make it happen. There have been reports that the Kings are willing to move down, and the Knicks are one team that is interested. Ivey is a Creative Artists Agency client — guided by Aaron Mintz, a friend of Rose, the former CAA boss.
Landing the South Bend, Ind., native would be a coup for Rose, whose team is in desperate need of a point guard to play alongside franchise building block RJ Barrett. Ivey, a consensus second-team All-American, took a major leap this past season as a sophomore, averaging 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists. His shooting numbers went up significantly, going from a 25.8 percent 3-point shooter his first year in school to 35.8 percent last season in leading Purdue to the Sweet 16, where it fell to Cinderella Saint Peter’s. His athleticism is his most attractive trait.
“He has the potential to be, maybe not a superstar, but a really, really high-level player just because he’s such an explosive, high-level athlete,” an NBA scout said. “He gets anywhere he wants on the floor. His jump shot is a little shaky, but it has gotten better. He has a lot of potential defensively. His first step quickness, an ability to go zero-to-60, is just unbelievable, like a jet engine. … His end-to-end speed is reminiscent of a young Russell Westbrook. He has such an electric first step.”
Ivey has worked out for only the Magic and Pistons who pick first and fifth, respectively. The Knicks did attend his Pro Day in Los Angeles and interviewed him at the draft combine in Chicago last month.
Of course, Ivey doesn’t decide who drafts him. But, if the Knicks were to position themselves to pick him, it sure seems like something he would embrace.
“I think I could definitely fit [there],” Ivey said. “I feel like I have that DNA to be a winner. Obviously, you gotta have guys that want to win in order to win. And … they wanna win. It starts just in practice and I feel like I just have that DNA to win. We’re just gonna see what happens.”