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Auburn coach says Knicks doing their homework on Isaac Okoro

Auburn v Kentucky

LEXINGTON, KY - FEBRUARY 29: Isaac Okoro #23 of the Auburn Tigers is seen during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena on February 29, 2020 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

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By the time you get to where the New York picks in the 2020 NBA Draft, at No. 8, the hope is to find a solid rotation player.

Maybe Isaac Okoro can be that guy for the Knicks. Auburn coach Bruce Pearl told Ian Begley of SNY.TV the Knicks have “been very inquisitive” about the swingman.

“They’ve talked to strength coaches, trainers, assistant coaches – they’ve done their homework. And they’ve liked Isaac from the jump,” he said.

“He’s quick enough to keep point guards out of the paint – he can really move his feet. And if he has to get switched on to a center, he can chest him up,” Pearl said. “That’s rare. Sometimes, he reminded me of Andre Iguodala with the way he impacted games.”

Defense is the selling point for the 19-year-old, who gets selected between 5-10 in most mock drafts.

Okoro is a 6’6″ wing who has drawn attention because of his potential to be an elite defender. This season (before the coronavirus shut down) he improved on the offensive end and scored 12.9 points a game while displaying some versatility. However, what holds him back his shot — he hit just 29 from three. He’s a bit of a project on offense.

Which is the kind of player you land at No. 8 — Jaxson Hayes, Collin Sexton, Frank Ntilikina, Marquese Chriss, and Stanley Johnson are your last five picks at eight. In previous years solid rotation players such as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Terrence Ross have been drafted eighth.

Looking for a role player in a down draft where everyone is flawed, Isaac Okoro could be a good pick for the Knicks if he’s still on the board at No. 8, someone who can develop into a quality role player and elite defender. That has genuine value.