The New York Knicks walked into the draft with the league abuzz about the prospect of the franchise doing something drastic and frankly devastating stupid. However the evening was a humdrum affair for New Yorkers, as the team selected two guards, and more importantly didn’t trade away their prize jewel. Let’s overlook the Porzingis-Jackson kerfuffle for now and concentrate on the two players the Knicks acquired.
Although yours truly had hopes for Dennis Smith Jr., and the NC State guard was available at #8, Ntilikina offers a similar ray of hope for the team. I preferred Smith because he was more of a known quantity. College stats offer up a better translation to the pros, and Junior had the right numbers in the right places to indicate probable success in the NBA. European stats are harder to transcribe, as witnessed by ESPN giving Frank both the highest probability to become an All Star and the highest probability for failure as well.
And while I would have gone with the surer choice, the Knicks went with the higher ceiling pick for the second draft in a row. In the end, New York still picked up a point guard, something that has been a need for the team for most of it’s post-Clyde history.
There’s no point in trying to figure out who Ntilikina is yet. The youngling hasn’t even turned 19! The first chance we’ll really get will be in summer league, where he’ll play against more NBA-worthy competition. Even still it could take a season or two before he really grows into his skin, both literally and figuratively. So we may have to wait until 2019 before we understand what kind of NBA player he’ll be.
New York’s second selection was guard Damyean Dotson from Houston. On first glance Dotson’s profile seems underrated for a late second rate pick. His RSB/40 (rebounds+steals+blocks per 40 minutes) is 9.3, well over what you’d want from a shooting guard. But further inspection shows that the number is nearly all rebounding (8.1 reb/40), so Dotson is mediocre in steals and lacking in blocked shots. A quick scan of Houston’s team minutes show that Dotson played more 3 than 2, which might pad his rebounding rate. Hence his athleticism is questionable.
Additionally scouting reports reveal that his offensive game is mostly from jumpshots, and not drives, another knock on his physical ability.
While a fairly versatile shot maker, Dotson doesn’t bring all that much in terms of NBA level creation ability, and tends to live off of contested looks (jumpers were 84.5% of his field goal attempts last year). Bouncy in the open floor, Dotson’s athleticism doesn’t always translate to the half court and he isn’t overly advanced on the ball, evident by his 0.46 PPP in pick and roll, 0.65 PPP in isolations and 2.0 free throw attempts per 40 minutes. Dotson will really have to be a knockdown shooter from the NBA line to have offensive value…
The good news is that Dotson has the size and three point shooting (44.1% his senior year) to be a 3-and-D player. Of course much like Ntilikina, the answer to Dotson’s future is better learned once he suits up in Orlando. Until then Knick fans will just have to hope and wonder on the prospects of their two newest players.
As for the third, Ognjen Jaramaz, New Yorkers might have to wait a little longer. Jaramaz doesn’t really stand out in any area, as the first paragraph of DraftExpress’ profile of him seems to concentrate on everything else but Ognjen.
Among the top performers from this past weekend’s adidas Eurocamp, Ogjen Jaramaz is a member of the top-heavy 1995-born generation that is automatically eligible for the 2017 NBA Draft. A staple of Beobasket-run Serbian prospect-haven Mega Leks, Jaramaz is one of the lone holdovers who has played alongside all of the club’s recent NBA Draftees; Nemanja Dangubic, Nikola Jokic, Vasilije Micic, Rade Zagorac, Timothe Luwawu, and Ivica Zubac. Averaging 12.2 points and 3.5 assists per game this season, Jaramaz had a solid season with Mega before his strong showing at the Eurocamp. Earning quite a bit of attention from NBA scouts in a down year for international prospects, Jaramaz may be the favorite to emerge from the secondary tier of automatically eligible prospects, which typically produces at least a few picks, to hear his name called late on draft night.
My guess is that the team stashes him in Europe for a year or two before calling him over. It’s possible he’ll compete in summer leagues, and perhaps he even joins Westchester as well. But I don’t see him in a NBA game any time soon.