Knicks exploring a few big-time 3-point draft talents

After Knicks president Phil Jackson hosted North Carolina State point guard Dennis Smith Jr. for dinner earlier this week, the Knicks scheduled workouts with two sweet-shooting off-guards, Duke’s Luke Kennard and Kentucky’s Malik Monk, as candidates for the eighth pick in the draft, as confirmed by a source. ESPN was first to report the news.

Both Kennard and Monk would provide desperately needed outside shooting. Monk is projected to go to the Knicks by Draft Express and Basketball Insider’s Steve Kyler, while Kennard is regarded as a top 12-15 pick.

The importance of the 3-pointer can’t be overstated when considering that the top three teams in the league in shooting percentage were the 61-21 Spurs and Warriors and Cavaliers, who are in the NBA Finals. Meanwhile the Knicks struggled at 21st.

Kennard hit a scalding 43.7 percent from 3-point range this season and furthered his shooting reputation in postseason workouts.

Monk, who already has worked out for the Magic and Suns, averaged 19.8 points on 39.7 percent shooting from deep and poured in 47 points against eventual national champion North Carolina.

The Pistons are open to dealing the 12th pick, while the Knicks have talked to the Trail Blazers about acquiring one of their three first-round picks, the highest of which is 15th.