Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Porzingis, Sixers

The Lakers aren’t necessarily set on selecting a big man with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, which could potentially allow either Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor to slip to the Knicks, who pick fourth, Ian Begley of writes. This unlikely scenario would also depend on the Sixers selecting D’Angelo Russell or Emmanuel Mudiay, instead of adding another big to go alongside Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid, Begley adds.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks could also look to select forward Kristaps Porzingis, whom ESPN’s Kevin Pelton believes is a better fit for the team than Mudiay, who many mock drafts have linked to New York, Begley adds. “Having succeeded against far tougher competition in Spain, [Porzingis] figures to have more immediate impact, and he’s only seven months older than Mudiay. Also, I have some concerns about how well Mudiay — a poor shooter whose best attribute will probably be running the pick-and-roll — will fit in the triangle offense. There’s flexibility there, but a pick-and-roll-heavy style isn’t what [team president] Phil Jackson and [coach] Derek Fisher ideally want to play. I would take Porzingis,” Pelton opines.
  • The Sixers are comfortable with having the No. 3 overall pick, and believe that they can land an impact player, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. “If you look at [GM] Sam Hinkie‘s draft record, you have to feel pretty good,” said Philly’s CEO Scott O’Neil. “You look at guys around the league who were drafted around there. We’ve got [Embiid] coming back. We’ve got a really improved Noel. Next year, we’ve got four first-round picks and [Dario] Saric. So you’ve got a pretty exciting story here.” Speaking of Hinkie’s draft record, you can see a full rundown of all of his past selections here.
  • Despite all of the mock drafts predicting that the Sixers will select Russell, Hinkie said the team hasn’t targeted any specific player yet, Pompey notes. “I think it’s too early now,” Hinkie said. “This time of year, everyone gets away to what one mock draft or another says. And other times, that doesn’t appear to be true very much. Let’s sort of see how things go.”
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