The New York Knicks’ hiring of David Fizdale as their head coach signals a new beginning for the franchise nine months after breaking up with its former star Carmelo Anthony and just weeks after relieving Jeff Hornacek of his duties as head coach. It’s a brand new era in Knicks basketball, but the underlying problem remains the same: they badly need a high-impact small forward.

The Knicks have limited options when it comes to beefing up the three spot. There have been rumblings that Fizdale’s signing put New York back on the map as a possible landing spot for LeBron James.

The two have a history of success together during their four-year run with the Miami Heat.

Forget about LeBron

Then again, attracting the best player in the game to play in the Big Apple is easier said than done. First of all, the Knicks are facing tough competition from other big market teams (Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat) and emerging powerhouses (Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers). There’s even a good chance James sticks with the Cleveland Cavaliers after this season, especially if they continue to bulldoze their way through the Eastern Conference and make it back to the NBA Finals.

Another obstacle that needs to be cleared is their cap situation.

Their projected payroll for the 2018-19 season stands at $99 million, depriving them of the ability to absorb James’ contract outright. The Knicks would have to move heaven and earth in order to dump their dead salaries. In the end, it all boils down to this: forget about the LeBron James to Knicks hype and focus on the upcoming NBA Draft.

The Knicks’ game-plan for the NBA Draft

This year’s pool of NBA prospects doesn’t have the depth present in last year’s draft, though it’s a top-heavy class riddled with potentially transcending talent in the top 10. According to Marc Beerman of the New York Post, the Knicks are setting their sights on both Mikal and Miles Bridges at No.


“If the Knicks stick at their current ninth seed, Villanova small forward Mikal Bridges, fresh off an NCAA title, will probably be available and they have interest. They also are intrigued by the larger upside of Michigan State’s Miles Bridges.”

Mikal Bridges returned for his junior season and averaged 17.7 points and 5.3 rebounds for the NCAA champions, the Villanova Wildcats. Many basketball scouts rave about Mikal’s high basketball I.Q and his potential to become a really solid 3-and-D player in the NBA. The other Bridges, on the other hand, is a 6-foot-7, 250-pound freak of nature whose game is predicated on athleticism and a dynamic open-court game.

Seth Greenberg, a renowned college basketball expert, has no problem with the Knicks picking either one of the Bridges.

However, he stressed that Mikal might be the better prospect of the two because he possesses the maturity, championship pedigree, and tools to excel in the modern NBA.

While landing in the top 10 won’t be bad, there’s a 6.2 percent chance that the Knicks could move into a much more favorable draft position (top three) depending on the Draft Lottery results next Tuesday from Chicago. If that happens, Beerman believes the team will seriously consider drafting Real Madrid’s Luka Doncic, a 19-year-old basketball wunderkind who has taken the Euro League by storm with his all-around game. Beerman added that the Knicks' front office sees the Slovenian prospect as a future star, with a team insider calling him the "real deal."