The NBA Draft is always dramatic, intriguing and ripe with an air of uncertainty. Tonight's 2011 NBA Draft could be one of the most interesting in years, and that's not because there is so much talent on the board. It's exactly the opposite. With a labor strife imminent that will threaten the start of the 2011-12 NBA season, and a draft pool where the gap in talent from top to bottom is very thin, it could be an exciting night at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. Fewer things are less certain than what the Knicks, picking 17th overall, will do. Here's where a few different mock drafts have the Knicks going.
New York Daily News: Markieff Morris, PF, Kansas
NBADraft.net: Nikola Vucevic, C, USC
DraftExpress.com: Markieff Morris
SBNation: Nikola Vucevic
HoopsHype: Nikola Vucevic
New York Post: Iman Shumpert, PG, Georgia Tech
Interesting to see multiple outlets predicting USC center Nikola Vucevic and Kansas power forward Markieff Morris. Vucevic fills a size need for the Knicks, but isn't noted as a physical big man. He is believed to have very good offensive talent, but is lacking some grit and defensive prowess. Any size would be good size for the Knicks, so Vucevic is probably a safe pick.
Markieff Morris would be an intriguing pick for the Knicks as well. A lot of mocks have him going higher, but never before his brother, Marcus. Markieff is a rugged 6-foot-9 power forward who would backup Amare Stoudemire, another position of need for the Knicks.
Although the New York Post mock is the only one that has the Knicks taking a point guard, that is certainly a place the Knicks will look to tonight. Whether its with the 17th pick, or if they purchase or trade for an additional pick later in the draft (in which the former is very possible), the Knicks would love to find a young floor general who could learn under Chauncey Billups for a season. Georgia Tech's Iman Shumpert has a lot of size for the position at 6-foot-6, and his defensive ability makes him attractive at 17. The Knicks also like Michigan point guard Darius Morris, who led the Big Ten in assists as a sophomore last season. If the Knicks buy an additional pick, they could go point guard with it and take UCLA's Malcolm Lee or Butler's Shelvin Mack.
The big name the Knicks seem to be in love with, and perhaps the most galvanizing face of this year's draft class in BYU scorer Jimmer Fredette. The Knicks are believed to think that Fredette would be a perfect fit in Mike D'Antoni's offense, but it is unlikely they will trade up for him. Even more unlikely is that he'll fall to them at 17. The Sacramento Kings at 7, the Utah Jazz at 12, and the Indiana Pacers at 15 would all keep Fredette from falling. Let's be honest. He's not getting past the Jazz at 12. In the end, this will probably be a good thing for the Knicks.
The Knicks can go in any direction they choose. With so many holes, they should take the best player available. But has there ever been a year where the best available player has been less clear?