NY Post: Knicks mailbag: Talking NBA Draft plan and if LaMelo Ball fits

Marc Berman has some interesting draft thoughts:

Should the Knicks go for the best fit or the best player available in this year’s draft? — Yaron Rahmani

The Knicks need to go for the best fit and that’s a point guard for the future because it’s so difficult to snare an elite one in free agency.

It is a weak draft in which some believe there’s not a whole lot of difference among the top-12 rated players. That’s highly unusual. Might as well go for need.

The Post has learned unequivocally LaMelo Ball is currently the top-rated point guard on the Knicks’ board.

That should hardly be surprising, knowing new president Leon Rose likes to shoot for the stars. Knicks officials believe the 6-foot-7 playmaker/driver has one of the higher upsides in the entire draft despite his lack of a 3-point shot. Rose has already dealt with outspoken father Lavar Ball when his sons were briefly with Creative Artists Agency.

Enlarge ImageLaMelo Ball
LaMelo BallAP
The Post already has reported league insiders believe father Lavar Ball will attempt to steer him to the big-market Knicks. What does that entail if the Knicks stay at the sixth spot in the draft? They’d probably have to trade up into the top 3 with a club not so hot on either LaMelo or Lavar. Hopefully that team won’t ask for a king’s ransom.

If the Knicks remain at No. 6 after the lottery drawing, Ball is not expected to fall to that slot. Keep an eye on the Pistons and Ball in the lottery. Detroit is one of the few teams dying for a point guard, too.

If the Knicks are in the 6-10 range, Cole Anthony, Tyrese Haliburton, Killian Hayes, Tyrese Maxey — maybe even trading back for R.J. Hampton or Kira Lewis — will all be in play.

I wonder if Cole Anthony will room with RJ Barett on the road next season.

NY Post: Mitchell Robinson is showing off skills we’ve never seen before

From Howie Kussoy at the Post:

Mitchell Robinson has been the big man the Knicks envisioned, becoming one of the best shot-blockers in the NBA, while holding what would stand as the best single-season field goal percentage (74.2) in league history.

But the 7-footer isn’t satisfied living in the paint.

One week after video was posted showing Robinson drilling a pair of 3-pointers — one via step-back — the 22-year-old center has shown off his previously unseen ball-handling skills again, before hitting a fadeaway jumper just inside the 3-point line.

At the start of this season, Robinson — coming off an All-Rookie Second Team selection — said he planned on shooting more from the perimeter.

“Why work on something you’re not going to use? I’m looking forward to it,” Robinson said. “I’m shooting the thing now.”

Hey, I’m all for Mitch Robinson, three-point threat.

NY Post: Scott Perry keeping Knicks GM job under Leon Rose

From Marc Berman:

Knicks GM Scott Perry not only will run the upcoming draft but will be back next season, a source confirmed.

The source said Perry’s option will be picked up for next season by president Leon Rose. The Post reported last week that Perry, despite the hire of VP of strategy Brock Aller, would run the NBA Draft. At that point, there was no guarantee he’d be back next season despite leanings that way.

Perry’s current staff that includes personnel director Harold Ellis, assistant GM Gerald Madkins, scout Fred Cofield and capologist Michael Arcieri aren’t guaranteed to return as Rose continues evaluations. Their contracts run until August and there could be changes.

“Scott is a well-respected basketball executive who I have known for more than 20 years, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with him as we look to build a winning team in New York,” Rose said in a statement.

Perry isn’t a lame duck as much as Rose will see how it goes and make decisions on whether to extend his deal next season. The coronavirus pandemic – with New York as epicenter – has played some role in keeping more of status quo.

“The shutdown may have helped everyone — at least temporarily,’’ one NBA source connected to the Knicks told The Post last week.

As noted in the article, the Coronavirus crisis seems to have played a major factor in Rose deciding to just stand pat for a year, as this isn’t exactly an ideal time to do a big search for a new GM and since Perry was already under contract for one more year, it made sense to just tread water a little bit more. I wouldn’t be signing any long term leases in New York if I were Perry, though, as I bet this upcoming season will be his last, but hey, good for him for hanging in there. As I said in the previous post, once the list of possible new GMs went from “Wow, a bunch of these guys would be great! Especially that guy from Denver!” to “Oh, that great guy from Denver was hired by the Bulls while we did nothing!” to “Wait, Allan freakin’ Houston?” then Scott Perry suddenly seemed a lot more appealing as a hire.

I know it is very Knicksy to say, “I am happy that we stuck with a proven mediocrity for a year instead of hiring a walking dumpster fire, which we will do next season instead,” but, well, it is true. I am fairly pleased with this move, all things considered.

And hey, KnickfaninNJ should be pumped, right? That’s something!

NY Post: Superagent Rich Paul lays out Mitchell Robinson, Knicks vision

Some interesting stuff from Mitchell Robinson’s new agent, Rich Paul (it is kind of weird that Mitch is on his fifth professional agent, right?) about the Knicks’ best player:

“His growth comes with understanding how to play the game at this level,’’ Paul said. “That’s what’s misunderstood with young players. At this level, talent will get you only so far. You have to understand schemes defensively, very detailed things like the art of setting screens, the art in decision-making as a big man in how you roll. What passes to look for, proper defensive adjustments.

“It’s a lot of things to learn. Once he’s able to learn those things, he’ll then be in position to showcase other talents he has. He can take the outside shot, put the ball on the floor, post. You don’t want to rush into that. You have to understand the details of the game first.”

NY Post: Mitchell Robinson may be Mike Miller’s best case for his Knicks future

Interestingly, Marc Berman seems to think that Mike Miller still has a shot at this thing:

If there is a strong argument to keep interim coach Mike Miller for another season, it can be found in the growth of a certain 7-foot, alley-oop slamming, shot-blocking center from the Bayou.

Mitchell Robinson’s high-school coach, Butch Stockton, says Robinson’s improvement over the final two months of the season was a testament to how well Miller knew the Knicks center.

Stockton, the head coach of Chalmette High School (La.), remembers Miller as a new assistant coach coming to New Orleans last summer to work with Robinson, who in his second season will set the NBA record for highest field-goal percentage (74.2 percent) if the regular season doesn’t resume.

“I’ve talked to Mike several times,” Stockton told The Post from New Orleans in a phone interview. “Mike spent a lot of time in the summer working here with Mitch. Mike knows Mitch better than some of the other coaches because he spent so much time with him in the summertime. Mitch did like him. He could relate to him more for that reason, for all that time in the gym with each other.’’

As Westchester Knicks G-League coach, Miller was also the head coach of the 2018 summer league team in Las Vegas where Robinson excelled weeks after the draft. That is where the center announced himself as a steal at No. 36 overall.

It’s probably just a puff piece designed to fill space, but hey, it’s something to talk about, I guess.

NY Daily News: James Dolan has coronavirus, Knicks say he has ‘little to no symptoms’

This is certainly a bit of a surprise:

Knicks owner James Dolan has the coronavirus, according to the team.

“He has been in self-isolation and is experiencing little to no symptoms,” the team said. “He continues to oversee business operations.”

Dolan is 64 years old.

Dolan owns the Madison Square Garden Company, including several live venues and the Rangers. He lives on Long Island, although it’s unclear where he’s been spending his self-isolation.

As they note, his symptoms are mild, so this probably doesn’t matter one way or the other, but it’s still interesting.

NY Post: Why Damyean Dotson’s future with Knicks is uncertain

From Marc Berman:

When Dennis Smith Jr. got booed off the court at the Garden in late October, the lone player to go over to him on the bench was Knicks shooting guard Damyean Dotson.

Those are the type of quiet leadership gestures Dotson does that go unnoticed by a Knicks front office now two administrations removed from drafting him. That makes the 25-year-old’s future highly uncertain as he enters free agency.

Dotson did not play in eight of the last nine games, including the double-overtime potential season finale March 11 in Atlanta.

“That seemed the writing on the wall,’’ one NBA scout said of the demotion. “You’d think they’d be still trying to develop him.’’

According to NBA sources, three prominent organizations — the Jazz, Bucks and Warriors — are expected to show some interest in Dotson, who made $1.6 million this season as a “3-and-D’’ prototype.

“He’s got a great work ethic, leadership qualities and toughness,’’ former Knicks coach David Fizdale told The Post this week. “He’s extremely coachable and dedicated teammate. Totally committed to the culture with a consistently good attitude regardless of his minutes.’’

I have no beef with Dotson as a basketball player, but I also don’t think losing him will make that much of an impact. However, if other teams just try to get him for the minimum, the Knicks should probably try to at least beat that.

Also, rather than that Smith Jr. thing being a sign of Dotson being a good leader, isn’t it kind of a bad sign for everyone else on the team? Or is Smith Jr. just a dick and the others all hate him?