The New York Knicks reportedly will work out Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland on Wednesday, the day before the NBA draft, indicating they could be shifting gears with their No. 3 overall pick.
It has been presumed the Knicks would take RJ Barrett of Duke with the pick, but ESPN draft analyst Jonathan Givony tweeted Tuesday about the Garland visit.
Several teams, including the Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls, are looking to make a deal to move up to No. 4 to draft Garland, Givony reported. The Celtics will be in the hunt for a point guard with the presumed departure of Kyrie Irving, who can opt out of his deal and become a free agent.
The New Orleans Pelicans control the No. 4 pick, which is part of the compensation in their trade — which can’t be official until July 6 — with the Los Angeles Lakers for All-Star Anthony Davis. They are accepting offers for the pick, but if they hold on to it and Garland goes to the Knicks, the Pelicans could draft Barrett and reunite him with his Duke teammate, Zion Williamson, whom the Pelicans indicated they will select No. 1 overall.
Garland reportedly has impressed in private workouts with the Cleveland Cavaliers (No. 5 pick) and Chicago Bulls (No. 7).
The workouts will be key for whichever team drafts Garland, who played just five games for Vanderbilt. Five games and 139 minutes into his college career, Garland tore the meniscus in his left knee and underwent surgery. He was sidelined for the season.
In his small sample size, Garland averaged 16.2 points and 2.6 assists in 27.8 minutes per game.
Garland said his knee is healthy, and that he offers what today’s NBA is looking for in a point guard.
“I think 10 years ago, everything was pass-first point guards, and now it’s evolved into more scoring guards,” Garland told ESPN. “I also distribute the ball, as well. So, I think I came around at the right time.”