With the conference finals in full swing, and Knick fans left dreaming of what might have, it is time to think about what is coming up next. Free agency and the draft are right around the corner.
For the most part, the Knicks core of Anthony, Chandler, STAT, and Shump is set. Roster changes will most likely involve the other players and are likely to come from the draft, via minor trades and low dollar free agent signings.
Given that, I figured I’d put up a quasi-open thread to discuss potential losses and additions—but with some ground rules.
1. Let’s stay away from pure rosterbation, shall we? With little cap space for major free agents and few assets worth trading,
Larry Bird Chris Paul is not walking through that door. It’s not impossible I suppose, but the Knicks aren’t well positioned for that kind of deal.
I will add a few words about potential losses and additions, and update this post throughout the off-season.
1. J.R. Smith – Odds favor Earl’s return, and not without some justification. His detractors and agnostics will surely point his to piss-poor shooting and remind us that it wasn’t just bad in the playoffs. His regular-season .522 TS% was well below his career mark of .540. His supporters will point to real improvement from “bad J.R.” Most nights he brought an improved floor game to at least partially offset his awful shooting. We saw sustainable career bests in DREB % and TOV %. We also saw a little less 3PT gunning (more than one full 3PTA/36 below his career average, his 4th fewest), and more willingness to challenge the defense (a near career best FTA/36). The major question is whether the Knicks overpay.
2. Pablo Prigioni – Will someone price the Knicks out of the market? I doubt it but that is the question.
3. Kenyon Martin and Chris Copeland – Ditto.
4. Raymond Felton and Steve Novak – With 3 more seasons left on their respective deals neither is likely to go anywhere, especially Novak with his newly balky back. And yet, either could be flipped for a complimentary player or be part of a bigger deal to make numbers work. To that latter point you could add James White and possibly Marcus Camby.
5. The Rabble (Quentin Richardson, Earl Barron) – Neither is likely to return, though it’s worth noting that Q-Rich shot 35% from the arc in Orlando just a season ago. He looked to be in good shape, and if Novak is going to be chronically back spasmy you could do worse at the end of the bench.
POSSIBLE ADDITIONS – THE DRAFT
Virtually everyone is saying that this is a role player-heavy, beauty-is-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder draft. That’s fine for the Knicks, who pick at #24 anyway.
I have included draft prospects ranked #20-28 on the “big boards” of three different sites (i.e., DraftExpress, NBADraft.net, and SBNation. These boards have each been updated since mid-May. They just give you an idea of some of the names likely to be linked with New York in the coming weeks.
Prospect Rankings, #20-28
|20||Tony Mitchell, PF, 21 years old, Sophomore6′ 9″ 236lbs.North Texas||Tim Hardaway, Jr., SG, 21 years old, Junior6′ 6″ 185lbs.Michigan||Dario Saric, SF, 19 years old, International6′ 10″ 223lbs.Cibona Zagreb|
|21||Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, 20 years old, Sophomore6′ 6″ 204lbs.Georgia||Giannis Adetokunbo, SF, 18 years old, International6′ 9″ 196lbs.Filathlitikos||Rudy Gobert, C, 20 years old, International7′ 2″ 238lbs.Cholet|
|22||Dario Saric, SF, 19 years old, International6′ 10″ 223lbs.Cibona Zagreb||Shane Larkin, PG, 20 years old, Sophomore5′ 11″ 171lbs.Miami FL||Reggie Bullock, SF, 22 years old, Junior6′ 7″ 200lbs.North Carolina|
|23||Shane Larkin, PG, 20 years old, Sophomore5′ 11″ 171lbs.Miami FL||Gorgui Dieng, C, 23 years old, Junior6′ 11″ 230lbs.Louisville||Shabazz Muhammad, SF, 20 years old, Freshman6′ 6″ 222lbs.UCLA|
|24||Allen Crabbe, SG, 21 years old, Junior6′ 6″ 197lbs.California||Rudy Gobert, C, 20 years old, International7′ 2″ 238lbs.Cholet||Kelly Olynyk, C, 22 years old, Junior7′ 0″ 234lbs.Gonzaga|
|25||Jeff Withey, C, 23 years old, Senior7′ 0″ 222lbs.Kansas||Lorenzo Brown, PG, 22 years old, Junior6′ 5″ 189lbs.N.C. State||Steven Adams, C, 19 years old, Freshman7′ 0″ 255lbs.Pittsburgh|
|26||Glen Rice, SF, 22 years old, Senior6′ 6″ 211lbs.Rio Grande Valley||Tony Mitchell, PF, 21 years old, Sophomore6′ 9″ 236lbs.North Texas||Kenny Kadji, PF, 25 years old, Senior6′ 10″ 242lbs.Miami FL|
|27||Giannis Adetokunbo*, SF, 18 years old, International6′ 9″ 196lbs.Filathlitikos||Sergey Karasev, SG/SF, 20 years old, International6′ 7″ 197lbs., 1993BC Triumph||Jamaal Franklin, SG, 21 years old, Junior6′ 5″ 191lbs.San Diego State|
|28||Archie Goodwin, SG, 18 years old, Freshman6′ 5″ 189lbs.Kentucky||Allen Crabbe, SG, 21 years old, Junior6′ 6″ 197lbs.California||Brandon Davies, C, 21 years old, Senior6′ 10″ 242lbs.BYU|
*I have seen multiple spellings of this guy’s name.
If you’re looking for rookies who could come right in and play a role a few names jump immediately to mind.
- Gorgui Dieng (Louisville) would be a godsend. He is Tyson Chandler-lite. He can run, block shots, and board. If you watched the title game you also saw an emerging pick-and-pop game. My guess is that he won’t be around for New York at pick #24.
- Tony Mitchell (North Texas) has an NBA body and athleticism (6’8-3/4” in shoes, 235#, 7’2-1/2” wingspan—yes, please). Boy, is he raw though. His ability to contribute right away probably depends on what you ask him to do. He should be able to defend, rebound, and run the floor, but there are question marks. After the former Missouri recruit sat out for academics and signed with North Texas he had a promising freshman season. He surprised many by staying in school after a coaching change. It did not go well. The team disintegrated and he regressed across the board. A red flag for me is that he should have been renowned as a physical player in the Sunbelt Conference with his measurables, but he wasn’t that sophomore year. He boarded well as a freshman—not dominant, but well—then fell way off as a sophomore. He took more 3s and fewer free throws. At #24, New York should throw confetti if a talent like Mitchell falls to them. I’d be happy to get him but he definitely comes with a caveat emptor sign. Update: Instead of writing all that I should have just sent you over to P&T for Jonathan Tjarks’ excellent write up on Mitchell.
- Allen Crabbe (Cal) is just about tailor-made to play in New York’s offense. (Watch the video scouting report at DraftExpress.) He probably has a lower ceiling than the other two, but could theoretically step into his long-term role right away. Mike Montgomery is a very good college coach, so Crabbe knows how to play. He’s mostly catch-and-shoot, but with enough handle to beat overplays. Think Miami’s James Jones, but with better handle.
Of the three, I suspect that Crabbe is most likely to be available.
Next time: Possible Pro Player Additions