Knicks Make Smart Selection in Papanikolaou

In Thursday’s 2012 NBA Draft, the Knicks did not have a pick until the 48th selection. With that selection, they passed on the opportunity to add depth to the team now and opted to build for the future. The Knicks selected Greek forward Kostas Papanikolaou with their 2nd round selection. While many good things have been said by smart people regarding Papanikolaou, you won’t see him in Knicks orange and blue anytime soon. The earliest he can play in the NBA, pending a Knicks buyout, would be during the 2013-2014 season. If the Knicks opt not to buy out Papanikolaou’s contract, the earliest he can play in the league would be the 2014-2015 season. So who is Kostas Papanikolaou? Continue reading

Mock Draft 1.01

1. New Orleans: Anthony Davis F, Kentucky: No explanation needed. NBA star in the making. Defensive game like Camby, offensive game similar to Garnett.

2. Charlotte: Brad Beal G, Florida: I think this pick goes to the Cavs for picks #4 and #24. They pair Beal up with Kyrie Irving and make the playoffs for years to come.

3. Washington: Harrison Barnes F, North Carolina. The third best player in the draft is Michael Kidd Gilchrist, but Washington needs some offense and I think they take Barnes, who is a more developed offensive threat than the aforementioned Gilchrist.

4. Cleveland: Thomas Robinson F, Kansas. This is really Charlotte’s selection, I think they take Robinson to give them some toughness down low.

5. Sacramento: Andre Drummond C, Connecticut. Drummond is pretty raw offensively, but they don’t make a lot of guys this size. Drummond has the potential to be an elite defensive center. If he panned out to be a stud, he’d be a perfect fit next to power forward DeMarcus Cousins.

6. Portland: Damian Lillard G, Weber State. Portland needs a point guard. Lillard is a good one. With Drummond off the board, I think it’s an easy pick for Portland

7. Golden State: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist F, Kentucky. I think the Warriors get an absolute steal here. Gilchrist slides because of lack of need in picks 1-6. Warriors get a great defensive wing who would be a near-perfect fit.

8. Toronto: Dion Waiters G, Syracuse. I’m not all that sure why people are huge on Waiters. He’s quick and can get to the rim, but I never thought he was really all that great.

9. Detroit: John Henson F, North Carolina. All signs point to a big man and Henson would be the best big man on the board at this point. I don’t know how well he meshes with Greg Monroe, but I think Detroit takes him anyways.

10. New Orleans: Austin Rivers G, Duke. I think there’s a good chance Boston moves up to this pick to take Rivers, but lets assume they don’t. New Orleans likes Rivers, they think he can play point guard next to Eric Gordon. I don’t agree and I don’t like Rivers as a prospect.

Dammit, I ran out of time… Quick I’ll talk about the Knicks!!

At 48, I’d love to see the Knicks get Darius Johnson-Odom out of Marquette. Johnson-Odom is a tough, gritty defender and really can shoot the ball well. If he’s not there, I think small forwards Khris Middleton from Texas A&M and Jae Crowder from Marquette will be in the mix, as well as sharp shooters Kim English from Missouri and Doron Lamb from Kentucky.

The Knicks need shooting guards who can actually shoot the ball (sorry, Landry). I think that has to be their priority in this draft. They also need help at backup point guard, and backup small forward. A developmental center behind Tyson Chandler wouldn’t hurt either.

Follow Taylor on Twitter @tarmosino

Knicks Actually Have a Second Round Pick in the 2012 Draft

So, I don’t exactly know how this happened, but I think most of the Knicks twittersphere/blogosphere was operating under the assumption that the Knicks did not have any draft picks this season. However, after doing some searching around the web, I figured out that the Knicks actually have a second round pick this season. In the Carmelo Anthony trade, the Knicks did send two second round picks to the Nuggets, but those were both picks acquired from Golden State in the David Lee trade. In the sign and trade for Amar’e Stoudemire, the Knicks gave their 2012 second round pick, top 55 protected, to the Suns. What that means is that if the Knicks were to reach the Eastern Conference Finals this season, they would have given the pick to Phoenix. However, down 3-0 to Miami in the first round, that is not going to happen. So the Knicks will in fact keep their second round selection in this year’s draft. I will fact check this, but I’m quite certain that this means the Knicks will pick between picks 42-50 in the second round.

This is actually great news for Knick fans. As J.R Smith, Baron Davis and Steve Novak are set to depart, the Knicks are going to need young players to help fill the void. In this very deep draft. New York can get a good player with their second round pick. In fact, the Knicks have had some success recently with second round picks, drafting both Landry Fields and Josh Harrellson. With many quality players in this year’s draft, the Knicks will have the opportunity to fill one of their seemingly never ending needs.

Will Shumpert Remain a Knick?

     It’s been widely rumored that Iman Shumpert, the Knicks first round selection, was drafted as a piece of the Steve Nash puzzle. I was in Phoenix last week and it was no secret there that the Suns love Iman Shumpert. Many people covering the Knicks believe that in fact, Shumpert may have been drafted as a piece to move to Phoenix for Steve Nash. The Knicks desperately want Nash and why wouldn’t they? He’s a pass first point guard, he can shoot, he’s 2 time MVP, has unbelievable chemistry with Amare and he has an expiring contract worth 11 million dollars. The great thing about Iman Shumpert is that if we deal him we get Steve Nash and if we don’t deal him then we get a great defensive player coming off the bench. I am really high on this guy, I think he has the potential to become on of the best defenders in the NBA. I think a proposed Nash deal would look something like this. Chauncy Billups, Bill Walker, Iman Shumpert to Phoenix for Nash. Contractually Billups must be included to make the numbers work because only him, Amare and Carmelo make enough money annually to match up with Nash’s 11 million. I think we’d give them Shumpert and one other player. However I do not believe this trade will happen. After listening to Phoenix radio for a week and Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby speak on the issue, I do not believe Phoenix will trade Steve Nash. If they do trade him, they would do it at the trade deadline. Depending on the state of the Knicks at the trade deadline, it may not be worth the Knicks to give up Shumpert for a half year of Steve Nash. This situation is very interesting but I ultimately believe Nash will stay a Phoenix Sun.

Image via New York Sports Today

Knicks Purchase Rights to Josh Harrellson in Second Round

     My preference was Jeremy Tyler, who we very well could have bought, but the Knicks opted to purchase Kentucky center Josh Harrellson. The Knicks paid between 700,000 and 750,000 for Harrellson. Tyler was purchased by the Golden State Warriors 6 spots earlier. The Nets purchased the 31st pick in the draft, we could have had Tyler. I actually really like Harrellson but I can’t help but think that we could have had both players for a relatively small price. It’s not like the New York Knicks are short on money and I think Tyler would have been well worth it. Anyways back to the point. I do love Harrellson. When I wrote about him working out, I praised his great motor and big frame. I love his 6’10, 275 pound frame and the way he bangs on the boards. If the season started tomorrow, Harrellson would be playing good minutes. Turiaf breaks down after about 15 minutes and we need to find 33 minutes of center time. Harrellson could help fill those as well as Jerome Jordan, our second rounder from last year. Jared Jeffries and Shelden Williams are free agents and could be re signed although doubtful. We don’t have spending money unless we use our mid level exemption so bringing in another center is unlikely. Either way, I really like the Harrellson selection. I would have really loved having Tyler and Harrellson but Knicks hierarchy had a different view. I’m still very pleased with this selection as well as the selection of Shumpert in the first round.

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Knicks Select Iman Shumpert in the First Round

     Thank god we didn’t get Jimmer! As I predicted and hoped, the Knicks selected Georgia Tech guard Iman Shumpert with the 17th pick in the draft. He’s incredibly athletic and he’s a great defensive player. He’s getting better at shooting and he’s a great finisher. He’s the pick we needed, apart from a big man. Now it’s rumored Toney Douglas will be traded but I believe the Knicks would be smart to keep TD. I believe him and Shumpert would compliment each other well coming off the bench. Shumpert should be the back up point while Douglas is the back up shooting guard. Shumpert’s 6’6 frame should compliment Douglas’ lack of height while Douglas’ shooting should compliment Shumpert’s lack of shooting well. I think this is a great selection for New York and it’ll be interesting to see what happens throughout the rest of the draft. Let’s hope we can get some picks.

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Knicks Options for Thursday’s Draft

     In Thursday’s NBA draft the New York Knicks hold the 17th selection and are looking to purchase at least one more selection late in the first or in the second round. To the Knicks, this draft is just as important as acquiring Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony were. This is a draft that is going to determine whether we remain a 50 win playoff team or a 60 win championship contender. With 2 superstars and a potential 3rd on the way, the Knicks regular season success is almost a given but it’s what happens in the playoffs that really counts. This draft will provide either a springboard into greatness or a burden that keeps us in mediocrity in the vastly improving eastern conference.
     First and foremost, I believe the Knicks badly want BYU point guard Jimmer Fredette and they are desperately trying to trade up to grab him. I have heard rumors that they want to trade up above Utah at 12 to select Fredette. Toney Douglas and the 17th pick are primary what has been rumored to being offered by New York for this selection. While Fredette has the potential to be a great player in this league, I do not believe he is going to live up to his potential nor do I believe he is a good fit for the New York Knicks. The last thing we need is a ball dominant point guard to go along with our ball dominant small forward who already struggles to find chemistry  with our ball dominant power forward. In addition all 3 players are notoriously poor defensive players under a head coach, who I do like, that has notoriously been reluctant to emphasize defense in his up tempo coaching style. It just is not a great fit with the Knicks right now and I believe Douglas is a better player already and will be moving forward. He plays great defense, something we badly need, and has shown the ability to be an absolutely lethal 3 point shooter. I believe there is a lot of value in the mid first- second round portion of this draft and the Knicks can get a lot out of staying put at 17, keeping Douglas and passing on Jimmer.
     If the Knicks stay put at 17 they should have plenty of solid options. It’s been rumored that projected lottery picks Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo may slip all the way to 17. Walker is a versatile guard who can play point or shooting guard, he’s a great scorer, good defensive player, he’s clutch and he’s from the Bronx. He’d be a wonderful fit with the Knicks. Same for Bismack Biyombo, a 6’9 power forward/ center who is probably the best athlete in this class. His offensive game needs work but his athleticism, shot blocking, rebounding and post defense really would be a perfect fit next to Amare Stoudemire and would improve our defense greatly. Also the Knicks love Washington State shooting guard Klay Thompson, a knock down shooter, but there is little doubt that he will be gone by 17. In the likely scenario that all 4 players (including Jimmer) are gone by 17, there are still good players for the Knicks to take. I believe the Knicks will be looking at Morehead St Forward Kenneth Faried, USC center Nikola Vucevic, Georgia Tech guard Iman Shumpert, Providence guard Marshon Brooks and Kansas guard Josh Selby. I think the main 3 guys that the Knicks will be looking at from that group are Shumpert, Faried and Selby in that order. New York has made it no secret that they love Shumpert and there’s a lot to love about him. He’s a 6’6 point guard with a 6’10 wingspan, he’s a lockdown defender and he’s very athletic. He’s been so impressive that the Phoenix Suns are widely rumored to have tagged Shumpert as their guy with the 13th pick. If Shumpert is gone, I believe the Knicks will look long and hard at Morehead State forward Kenneth Faried. I believe he’s going to be the next Dennis Rodman only that Faried is a better offensive player and doesn’t have 7,000 tattoos, bleached hair or multiple nose rings. Faried is a high character, high energy, rebounding power forward who also averaged 17 points a game to go along with his 14 rebounds a game during his senior season. The only knock on him is that he’s 6’6 but he does have a 7 foot wingspan and is incredibly athletic. I have heard multiple people say “if he was 6’10 he’d be the first pick in the draft”. I think next to Melo and Stat, Faried would thrive on the offensive glass. I think he’d be a wonderful addition coming off the bench and getting 8 rebounds and 2-3 baskets a game. The player I really do not want to see taken here is Kansas guard Josh Selby. He’s been questioned as a pure point guard, maybe having skills more suited to an undersized shooting guard (kind of like Toney Douglas). He’s a huge character risk. He had problems in high school and at Kansas. Last season he was benched for most of the second half of the season. Selby thought he should have been the star of the team even though he didn’t play anywhere near that level. He’s also a CAA guy, the agency that seems to be running the Knicks right now, which is why I think he’s a dark horse to be the pick at 17 although I’m praying that I am wrong. I believe if the Knicks pass on Selby at 17, they will try to purchase his rights later in the draft.
     The Knicks do not currently own another pick in the draft after 17 but it’s widely believed that they will purchase at least one more pick before the draft ends. In the NBA, a team can pay up to 3 million dollars on a transaction. I believe the Knicks will give up at least 6 million dollars in draft picks. Some potential teams who might sell to the Knicks would be the Bulls, who own picks 28 and 30, Lakers, who own 41, 56 and 58, and the Kings who own 35 and 60. While it is not as clear who the Knicks will target with their acquired picks, there are a couple players I think the Knicks may target. I mentioned Josh Selby who is probably a late 1 – early 2 in terms of value, also Jeremy Tyler from Japan, Boston College’s Reggie Jackson and UCLA’s Malcolm Lee. Tyler is an intriguing forward prospect as he is 6’11, athletic and potential packed but has character issues after skipping his senior year of high school and struggling mightily in Japan. Reggie Jackson is a true point guard with a 7 foot wingspan who plays great defense. Malcolm Lee is a hybrid guard who is long and athletic and excels defensively.
     If I was drafting for the Knicks at 17, pending the fall of Biyombo or Walker, I would select Iman Shumpert. I think his size and defensive ability on the perimeter would give us a great weapon off the bench. With our undersized front court, I think we need to stockpile size in the back court. Landy Fields, 6’7, already fills one of those roles, I think the 6’6 Shumpert would be another great addition. If Shumpert is gone, I would draft Faried or consider a possible trade down with a team like Chicago or maybe even to accumulate picks next year, as we have 0 next year, in what will be considered a stronger draft class.
     Thursday night is very important for the Knicks, with a great draft they can be championship contenders, with a poor draft they could be average. I think this is just as important as getting our stars was as we have numerous holes to fill. I look for Shumpert or Faried to be the pick and I think the Knicks will get 2 others. Regardless of what happens, it will be interesting to see what happens.

Rumor: Knicks in Play For Biyombo


     There have been many rumors about the Knicks wanting to move up in the draft, reportedly for Jimmer Fredette, but now the Knicks have been rumored to be in the mix for a falling lottery pick. Bismack Biyombo is an 18 year old power forward from the Congo. He’s 6’9 but he has a 7’6 wingspan and is insanely athletic. At the Adidas Eurocamp Biyombo fell flat on his face. He decided to skip the game and drills and did the one on none workout. According to Chad Ford of ESPN,

…these sort of workouts aren’t ideal for him. Biyombo looked understandably nervous and it seemed to affect his game. Much of the workout focused on his perimeter skills — a major weakness of Biyombo. He missed roughly 75 to 80 percent of the shots he took in this portion of the workout.

     Biyombo’s poor workout is a god send for the Knicks who are in the market for athletic big men. The last thing we need from this guy is outside shooting and clearly he’s not a great perimeter player. There is no doubt about his raw speed, power and leaping ability, not to mention he is incredibly long (7’6 wingspan). He’s a great fit for the Knicks at center and he’s definitely the best fit for us of all the players in the draft. Golden State sits at 11 and would also be a good fit for Biyombo. I hope we are not snake bitten again just like with Steph Curry in 2009. It’ll be interesting to see if we can give up the pieces to trade up and select Biyombo as he’d be a great addition to our club.

Image via Fuen La Freak

The Kenneth Faried Arguement


     With the 17th pick in this years draft also being their only pick in the next 2 drafts, the Knicks need to hit a home run with that selection. Kenneth Faried has been widely rumored to have impressed Knicks management and a lot of mock drafts have him being the selection at 17. If I was picking, I’d give a good hard look at Faried. Obviously it would be relative to who’s on the board but I believe Faried is one of the top players in this draft. Obviously it’s hard to make a comparison to an NBA hall of famer but I think Faried could be the next Rodman. Rodman was 6’8 to Faried’s 6’6 but in today’s NBA filled with lazy rebounding and defense, I think Faried has the potential to be a great impact player off the bench. He’s the consummate effort and rebounding power forward with his only downside being his size. I’ve heard multiple people say that if he was 6’10, he’d be the first pick in the draft. While he’s only 6’6 he’s got a 7’0 wingspan and great jumping ability. He scored 17 points a game and averaged 14 rebounds last year at Morehead St. His NCAA tournament game against Louisville was awesome as he blocked Louisville’s last second shot to win the game. This play showed me his fire and passion that he plays the game with. I love this kid. I think he’s got the potential to be one of the great rebounding forwards in this league. One of the knocks on Faried is that his family lives in New Jersey and he may be a distraction to him. I think with Amare Stoudemire tutoring him, they both play power forward, I think Faried’s focus would be on the job at hand and I think that Amare would provide a great role model for Faried to take after. Overall I would say that Faried would be a great pick at 17, I am not confident that the Knicks will pick him or even that he’ll be there at 17 but if he were to be there, I would love to see Kenneth Faried in blue and orange.

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