Due to the Knicks involvement with NBA free agency, it’s unclear how many roster spots are open. Chandler, Curry, Douglas, Gallo, Walker and Stoudemire along with recently acquired Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf and Kelenna Azubuike make 9. If you add their draft picks Fields, Rautins, and Jordan that makes 12. Potentially the team might sign a few more free agents and could still bring back Barron, Bender, Giddens, or House. That doesn’t make for a lot of roster spots open. But enough that a few guys could make the team.
Already On the Roster
Toney Douglas, PG – Last year his summer league shooting was awful, but that turned out fine during the regular season. The big question for this year is can he run the offense? We know D’Antoni’s distaste for combo guards masquerading as point guards, and truthfully he could have done better setting up his teammates. This is a bit more critical now with the addition of Stoudemire, since he is so dangerous in the pick & roll.
Bill Walker, GF – A good NBA player should find success in the summer league, and that’s what I expect from Walker. But more important than just scoring is that Walker rounds out his game. He needs to rebound more and play better defense. If he becomes a more complete player he could challenge for a starting spot, either by pushing Chandler to the bench or by forcing D’Antoni to go small with Amar’e at center.
Drafted, But Not Guaranteed
Landry Fields, SF – Reading his scouting report, I’m most excited to see Fields. NBADraft.Net has 192 words on his strengths and only 50 on his weaknesses. He’s got a great vertical leap (39′), but is a bit on the skinny side. The most important signs are how his defense, rebounding, and ability to get to the free throw line translate at this level. If he does make the Knicks roster, his three point shooting and free throw percentage have to improve.
Andy Rautins, SG – Rautins’ value lies in his shooting, so it’s important to note how he scores. Other than just hitting open threes, what else can he do? Will he be able to beat his man off the dribble? How much separation does he need to get his shot off? But his scoring isn’t the only concern. Is he too undersized/nonathletic to play the shooting guard? How bad is his propensity to make the “too cute” pass? Rautins played a lot of zone in college, so it’ll be interesting to see how he fares in man to man.
Jerome Jordan, C – I can’t say how many times I’ve attempted to type his name & ended up with Jerome James. Like Big Snacks, Jordan didn’t start playing basketball until later in life, which means he’s not as well rounded as you’d like. Jordan is a good rebounder & decent shot blocker. He’s a 7-footer who doesn’t like to bang in the lane, and often prefers to settle for a jump shot. However if he didn’t have a few holes in his game, he wouldn’t have been available in the second round for the Knicks. One last caveat, I don’t see him on the official roster. Possibly that’s due to Jordan having to wait for the trade to clear before he officially became a Knick.
Some Spots Still Open
Chris Hunter, C – The Knicks signed Hunter last year, but he never suited up for the team. Instead he played 60 games for the Warriors and for a 6-11 reserve did fairly well. He managed a TS% of 54.6%, although his production was meager (12.4 pts/36). Additionally Hunter blocked shots at an average rate (1.6 blk/36). Rebounding is likely to be a sore spot with the Knicks this year, and unfortunately this is an area that Hunter struggles with (7.7 reb/36). If New York isn’t enamored with Jordan, Hunter could slip past him and earn a spot. But it’s possible that neither make the team considering the team’s current depth.
Jaycee Carroll, SG – If Andy Rautins has a bad summer league and is sent packing, he can ask Jaycee Carroll for career advice. Like Rautins, Carroll is a nonathletic undersized lights-out shooter. Carroll currently plays for Gran Canaria in the Spanish league. I doubt two shooting specialists make the roster, so if Carroll impresses the staff then Rautins could find himself playing in the Canary Islands.
Warren Carter, PF – Interestingly enough, Carter actually made the roster last year, but was cut before the season started. A good transition player, who struggles in the half court. Carter can rebound on the offensive glass, but his defensive rebounding numbers are a bit weak. His dribble is a little shaky, and his post up game needs work. Carter’s best bet to make the team would be to play good defense and run the floor.
Marcus Landry, GF – Despite having a successful older brother in the NBA, it’s still not clear how Marcus would fare. He’s played 13 games in the D-League and 18 in the pros nearly all in garbage time. D’Antoni seemed extremely reluctant to use him last year, so why bring him back to waste a roster spot this year?
Charles Garcia, PF – There seems to be a little buzz around him, but he has a few things that raise red flags: high turnovers, sub-par passer, and forces up low-percentage outside shots. Sounds like a player Isiah Thomas would drool over.
Carlos Powell, F – Had 2 stints in the D-League. Powell seems to be a scorer first and second, albeit his assist numbers aren’t awful. My guess is that he’s the kind of player that likes to have the ball in his hands at all times. His peripheral numbers aren’t that great, especially his rebounding, for a 6-7 forward.
Patrick Ewing, Jr, F – Also played for the Orlando Magic’s summer league team this year, and was about average. A strong rebounder in the D-League, with decent peripheral numbers. If Ewing could knock down the three consistently, he’d improve his chances to make an NBA roster. But he managed only 23.5% from downtown, so he has some ways to go.
Leo Lyons, PF – A great scorer that lives at the free throw line, but can’t play a lick of defense. Draft Express said of him:
On the defensive end, Lyons has had many well-documented issues prior to this season, and while he’s made some strides, many of them still remain. On the positive side, Lyons’ attentiveness and activity level as a perimeter defender is definitely improved this season, however he’s still inconsistent in doing some of the little things–giving up too much space to shooters, not putting in the effort laterally, and not staying in a fundamental stance. It is worth noting that during Missouri’s NCAA tournament run, however, most of these problems were hardly evident at all, as Lyons looked like a different player on the perimeter, playing excellent fundamental defense, moving his feet well, aggressively hedging pick-and-rolls, and really showing what he’s capable of. On the negative side, Lyons’ post defense and boxing out on the glass has not been impressive all season, as he shows little grasp of leverage, doesn’t fight hard for position, and just is not very effective defending in the painted area.
Ryan Wittman, SF – Add Wittman to the list of outside shooters with weak athleticism. And then there’s this cute web page on him.