As you are no doubt aware the Knicks have the 17th overall selection in the upcoming draft (pending lockout notwithstanding). So mock season is upon us.
I thought I’d take an abbreviated look at some of the prospects NY may be considering at the selection. Keeping in mind that Donnie moves in mysterious ways, I will hold off on making any sort of predictions about what the Knicks will do. Rather, this is just a general discussion of a few prospects who may be around at #17, and where they might fit in NY’s plans.
To begin, I’ll state that I have my doubts about whether NY will find an immediate rotation player at #17 in this particular draft. However, despite some of the hand-wringing I see among the pundits, I think this draft will feature some high-quality NBA starters after a couple years.
Also, I think the Knicks should approach this draft thinking “best player available.” Some of the team’s most pressing needs (i.e., perimeter depth and defensive rebounding) will have to be met in the market or through improvements from current players more than the draft. If a player is available at 17 who fills a need, fantastic. But, NY should look to the this draft to improve the overall talent and depth it lost in the recent roster churn. I list a decent-sized handful in order of how much they intrigue me. Note: stats listed per season are courtesy of draftexpress.com.
1. Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead St.
Numbers that matter: true shooting (53%, 57, 58, 62), ft/fg (34%, 54, 60, 64), rebs* (16.7, 17.7, 17.4, 17.2), TOs* (3.3, 3, 3.2, 3.1) *pace-adjusted per 40 minutes
For what Faried is–a demonic freak of an undersized, rebounding PF–everything is where you’d expect it to be statistically. We know that rebounding generally translates from college to pro, and Faried’s college production is incredibly consistent in this area when considering the attention he draws. What impresses me most the times I have seen him is that his defensive presence isn’t overly-reliant on explosiveness and energy. At a glance he appears to have some Jared Jeffries-like instincts on defense. He anticipates better than most college bigs playing at the backs of 2-3 zones; they rarely even see the opportunities for steals that Faried actually converts. He seems to understand how to play angles to discourage entry passes, as well as defensive rotations. Faried has the makings of a quality NBA defender, especially considering that he contributes roughly four combined blocks and steals. On offense Faried is nothing special, but his points per possession improved every year to a very respectable 1.16 as a senior. He has very good hands. He doesn’t bobble entry passes and he finishes with authority, but he’s not a black hole. He doesn’t get many assists but Morehead State’s offense is chuck-and-duck. Faried isn’t a ball-stopper. Some Knicks fans may be old enough to remember Kurt Thomas at TCU. Faried is a bit more explosive than Thomas was then, but not by much. (I know that’s hard for some to believe, but Thomas had some ups before his ankles betrayed him.) If I have a concern about Faried it is that sometimes players with his profile–undersized rebounding forward–can “age” quickly from attrition or injury. Unless they can develop a mid-range jumper their value plummets.
2. Kyle Singler, F, Duke
Numbers that matter: true shooting (57%, 55, 55, 54), ft/fg (30%, 37, 38, 30), Rebs* (7.4, 9.4, 7.9, 7.5), TOs* (2.8, 3.1, 2.2, 2.1)
Pass. Singler is no “poor man’s” Gallo. For a second there I was almost fooled by the rosy cheeks myself. Singler is a tweener who lacks a readily-discernible NBA skill.
3. Markieff Morris, PF, Kansas
Numbers that matter: true shooting (50%, 61, 64), ft/fg (45%, 64, 46), Rebs* (11.2, 11.6, 13), TOs* (3.1, 3.1, 3.2)
The slightly larger but much less-heralded of the Morris twins, I can’t help but wonder if their pro career will mirror the Grant twins’ (Horace and Harvey). Horace (Clemson) was far less-heralded than brother Harvey (Oklahoma) but the former became the better pro. Markief would play Horace’s role in the league as a defense and rebounding PF right from central casting. He’s perfectly built for the position, but has somewhat limited upside. His offensive game is still developing, but he’s already a nasty defender. It’s not clear whether he’ll be available at #17, but he seems like a Walsh kind of pick.
4. Josh Selby, G, Kansas
Numbers that matter: Incomplete
My inclination is to not read much into Selby’s single disappointing year of college production. It’s pretty clear that he would have declared out of high school given the choice. The turnovers are a big red flag, but he played so few games. Sometimes the high school stuff provides the best information on how the pro scouts see a kid. He’s explosive. He’d be the quintessential “upside” pick that NY has consistently passed on in recent years.
5. Reggie Jackson, PG, Boston College
Numbers that matter: true shooting (51%, 52, 62), ft/fg (26%, 31, 31), Asts* (3.5, 6.1, 5.4), TOs* (2.5, 3.5, 2.9)
I know a number of regulars here at Knickerblogger.net are fond of Jackson. Perhaps the light went on for him this past season. I did not seen him play this past season, where he shot 42% from three and averaged over 5 pace-adjusted assists per 40. If I have a concern it is that he shot unusually well from three last season. That could be a maturing player adding range and better understanding of when to shoot, or it could be a fluke. Nevertheless, the assist numbers alone make him an intriguing prospect to consider developing.
6. Tyler Honeycutt, G/F, UCLA
7. Jim-mah!, G, BYU
8. Lucas Noguiera, C, Brazil
9. Justin Harper, F, Richmond