Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NBA Draft 2021: James Bouknight, Ziaire Williams rave about potentially joining the Knicks
By ADAM ZAGORIA
UConn guard James Bouknight and Stanford wing Ziaire Williams have both met with the Knicks ahead of the July 29 NBA Draft and both said they would be great fits as the Knicks look to build on their first playoff appearance since 2013.
The 6-foot-5 Bouknight is a Brooklyn native who feels his gritty style of play would fit in well in New York. He averaged 18.7 points and 5.7 boards in his lone season at UConn, dropping 40 on Creighton. He missed eight games mid-season after undergoing surgery for a left elbow injury.
“I feel like me on the Knicks, I feel like that fit would be great,” Bouknight said Thursday on a Zoom. “Just get another guard that you could give him the ball and ask him to get a basket.
“I feel like my play-making ability is under-rated and just getting to a team where I can showcase that part of my game, I feel like that is essential and I feel like I can do that with the Knicks.”
ESPN has Bouknight projected to go No. 14 to the Golden State Warriors, but UConn coach Dan Hurley thinks Bouknight could go anywhere after the Top 5.
“Once you get to 6, in today’s NBA and how important dynamic guards are, it’s hard to pass on him,” Hurley said.
The Knicks pick at 19 and 21 in the first round.
“He’s a dynamic shot-maker which goes a long way in the NBA,” Hurley added. “He can score at all three levels. He’s a better 3-point shooter with range than he showed this year, partially because of the injury. He can play on the ball.”
He added: “For me, I don’t know how you pass on a guy that can be that dynamic.”
Williams, the 6-8 wing who was one-and-done at Stanford, also said he had a “super” meeting with the Knicks.
“I thought it went well,” he said. “It was super good vibes in there, I got to meet the front office, the coaching staff, so it was super dope, I think I did good.”
Williams, who averaged 10.7 points and 4.6 rebounds in his lone season in the Pac-12, is projected at No. 23 by ESPN. He said he’s met with about 10 teams, including the Warriors, but hasn’t had any workouts.
“I’m going to keep working to strive to the best version of myself possible and try to be the best player I can,” he said. “I have the capabilities and the God-given talents to be a special player in the league, and now I’m just sticking with it day by day.”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.