Here is the second part of my evaluation of the Knicks Summer League roster. They are going to play 6 games from this Saturday (7/10) until the next (7/17).
Brett Nelson is a sharpshooter from Florida. In college he was a 42% shooter from beyond the arc, and 86% from the charity stripe. A few articles mentioned that he seemed headed to the NBA until a disappointing junior season, where his FG% went down 6 points to 39%. If you thought things couldn’t get any worse for Nelson, that same year his cheekbone was broken in a fight with a teammate. Despite his low FG%, he shot enough treys to bring his eFG% to a nice 53%.
David Hawkins was a Temple standout. He certainly can score averaging 24.4 PPG, but his percentages were a bit low: 39% FG% & 30% 3PT%. In fact he never shot more than 42% in any season. I can only guess that Hawkins is a good all around player, since he also grabbed about 5 boards per game, and was 9th in the league in STL/G (2.7). Either Hawkins or Nelson will likely see the majority of the time, unless DerMarr plays at SG to accommodate Ariza.
Just looking at Justin Hamilton’s stats tell me one thing, he must be a defensive stopper. Hamilton only averaged 8PTS & 4AST, and is slightly undersized at 6-3. He’s probably a combo guard as he supposedly played the point as well.
The Knicks have an awful lot of PGs on the summer roster (four), for a team that has two good ones (Starbury & Williams) and a third with a long contract (Norris). Whether you think he’s staying as the backup PG or being showcased for a trade, Frank Williams will run the offense.
I’m guess Barrett or Gittens will be the backup. Andre Barrett has been undersized (5-10) his whole life. A local product, born in the Bronx and attended a Rice HS & Seton Hall product, Barrett improved his FG% each year to 46% his senior year. Some reports have likened him to Speedy Claxton.
If Rafer Alston can get signed for 6 years, maybe there is spot in the league for Tim “Headache” Gittens. The “And 1″ player is the senior member of the team at the age of 28, and has his own web page.
Finding information about Stephon’s younger brother was a little harder. The Knicks page has him listed as “Zech” Marbury, which is odd because everywhere else has him “Zach”. Did he undergo a Akeem <-> Hakeem like transformation? In any case, Marbury played for Rhode Island for the 1999-2000 season. I’m not sure exactly what happened to him, but according to ESPN, “Zach Marbury basically dropped out of school and went undrafted in the NBA draft.” He’s recently resurfaced in the USBL franchise the Wildfire, coached by former Knick John Starks.
Sweetney had a pretty good summer league last year, and I expect him to do the same here. Last year during the season he went from being on the IL, to being the backup PF, and even started a game. If he’s as good as I think, then he should be eating these guys up. I’m perplexed at the number of point guards on this team. I thought the Knicks would want to give Frank Williams plenty of minutes, whether they’re keeping him or showcasing for other GMs. Is it possible that Isiah has so many PGs on the summer league roster because he is planning on trading Williams?
Other players to keep a keen eye on are Ariza, Trybanski, and DerMarr Johnson. This is our first look at Ariza, and second round picks aren’t guaranteed anything. Slavko Vranes learned that last year after getting cut mid-season. Trybanski and Johnson could loose their roster spot with a poor summer. The lack of a quality backup at SG and C really hurt the Knicks last year, and there is no point in keeping these guys around if they’re not going to amount to anything. Johnson’s job is more stable, as he’s a few years younger than Trybanski. However if one of the young guys here really impresses the coaching staff, they might be able to work their way onto the team. If they don’t make the team, they might make enough of an impression to get a 10 day contract during the season (even for another team), like Matt Carroll did last year.