Auburn basketball: B/R now projects Sharife Cooper to the Knicks

Auburn basketball Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn basketball Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports /

The New York Knicks could look like the Auburn basketball northeast chapter in the pros if Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman is a soothsayer with his latest 2021 NBA Mock Draft.

With the Knicks organization already rostering the 2019 Final Four team’s backcourt duo of Jared Harper and Bryce Brown–who are set to represent the Westchester Knicks in the G-League’s foray into the Lake Buena Vista bubble in Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports complex where the NBA finished the 2019-20 season–they could be adding another explosive scoring guard from the Plains in the form of current Tiger star Sharife Cooper:

"As good as Immanuel Quickley has been for the New York Knicks, they still need a playmaker who excels at setting up teammates. And though Sharife Cooper has only been doing it through seven games, special playmaking skills are evident and translatable based on his quickness, elusiveness and vision.If his 53.4 assist percentage holds up, it will be the highest recorded since the stat was introduced at the collegiate level in 2009. The Knicks will value Cooper’s ability to break down defenses, live-dribble pass and create easy shots for finishers and shooters.It’s possible his shooting worries New York, but he’s making 80.9 percent of his free-throws, a promising sign. And he’s still averaging 21.3 points without any opponent able to contain him off the dribble or keep him from getting to the rim."

While the Knicks have long been a punch-line to much of the NBA world, things have slowly been changing the past few seasons.

While the Jeff Hornacek and David Fizdale eras fizzled out, progress was made last season under Mike Miller, and the team currently possesses one of the more successful coaches of the last decade in Tom Thibodeau.

While Thibs is known for his defense-first mentality, the team could definitely use Cooper’s across-the-board explosive production on the offensive end.

Given the idol-worship New York showered upon guards like John Starks and Jeremy Lin in the past, Cooper would undoubtedly have even more of a national spotlight than he already does in the Big Apple. Remember, LSU alum Shaquille O’Neal commented on the “little guy” on TNT.

That said, Cooper can only be as good as the pieces around him, as Wasserman notes:

"The Knicks would just need to surround Cooper with the right pieces, including Quickley at the 2, and hope RJ Barrett takes a step forward with his three-ball."

Whatever happens after the 2020-21 season for Cooper and the Tigers, it’d be special to have another lottery pick drafted to the league from the Auburn basketball team after Isaac Okoro went #5 overall last season.

And while another run with Auburn basketball would be nice, Cooper joining Brown and Harper in the pros (assuming they can land long-term roles with NY) would be a feel-good story for the Auburn family.

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