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The Knicks may have hit the jackpot with the second-round floor general

Tyler Kolek, Knicks
Photo credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Interestingly, the Knicks used their first-round pick on 18-year-old French guard Pacome Dadiet, who will likely spend most of his development time without making any real impact on the team this coming season. In fact, their second-round pick has a better chance of playing behind Jalen Brunson and making an impact next year.

Challenges behind the key player

The Knicks lacked a second ball-handler and creative playmaker last season behind Brunson, who had a stellar season. Brunson hit .479 from the field, including .401 from three-point range, and averaged 28.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 6.7 assists. He set career highs in several categories and will look to turn things around in the 2024-25 season, when the Knicks have championship aspirations.

May 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) drives the ball against the Indiana Pacers during the third quarter of Game 7 of the second round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Photo credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Backup plan: change of strategy

They did, however, try to sign Miles McBride as a backup point guard behind Brunson, but that was a failed experiment. McBride excelled in other ways, most notably his shooting and defensive prowess. The Knicks’ front office felt it was necessary to secure a quality replacement and brought in Tyler Kolek from Marquette, a player they projected to be a first-round pick.

Tyler Kolek: A promising addition to the Knicks

Kolek is a former All-Big East Player of the Year and a star point guard for Marquette. He played in 31 games last season, averaging 33 minutes, 15.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and an impressive 7.7 assists. Most importantly, he hit .496 from the field and .388 from three-point range, indicating he has plenty of shooting ability, but was also one of the best players in the draft in terms of game vision.

Focus on playmaking skills

“At 6’3″, Kolek is a skilled field player who is great at picking apart defenses on pick-and-rolls. He looks confident shooting from the free-throw line when defenders are getting under the blocks, but he’s better suited as a catch-and-shoot option than as a player chasing his jump shot.”

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Southern Region – NC State vs. Marquette
Photo credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Future prospects: Kolek’s role with the Knicks

If Kolek continues to develop his three-point game and defensive nature, NBA.com suggests he could develop into a mix of Austin Reeves and TJ McConnell.

“Kolek is a few inches shorter than Luke Kennard and Austin Reaves, but a few inches taller than TJ McConnell. The Marquette product’s game is a mix of all three NBA veterans…”

Coming off the bench, he can efficiently run a second unit and take the initiative on offense, allowing his teammates to spread the court and get clear vision. Given his size, he’ll need to be a top-notch three-point shooter to make the starting lineup, but the Knicks don’t need to push him into a prominent role, just give him time behind Brunson as the second point guard. That will be an important task, though, especially if the Knicks’ star point guard is out.