2010 Report Card: Toney Douglas

Douglas’ initial season with the Knicks was filled with ups and downs. His NBA career started on a sour note, as some New Yorkers were upset that in a point guard rich draft, the team failed to fill its void with either Brandon Jennings or Ty Lawson. Following the draft, Douglas had a poor showing in summer league, shooting a feeble 28.8% eFG%. However at the start of the season, he played well enough to make the rotation. In mid-November on the heels of a 21 point outburst off the bench, D’Antoni made him the starting shooting guard. The Knick rookie played well enough, dropping 23 in a loss against the Hawks.

And that’s when things took another downturn for Douglas. The next night he would come off the bench, and following that his minutes would begin to fluctuate. He started on November 18th, but only managed 12 minutes of court time. By then Larry Hughes was on a shooting streak, and D’Antoni would stick with his hot hand playing the veteran over the rookie. Even when Hughes crawled into the coach’s doghouse in mid-December, Douglas would find court time sporadically. It wouldn’t be until early March that D’Antoni would awaken Douglas from his winter hibernation and allow him to see regular action again. From March 12th until the end of the regular season, he played 25+ minutes in every game save for two.

Douglas-Minutes-Per-Month

Perhaps what surprised me most about Douglas’ 2010 season was his efficient scoring (57.1% TS%); prior to the start of the season I envisioned him having a TS% under 50%. However I remain curious if he can keep this efficiency so high. Douglas didn’t earn a lot of trips to the free throw line and shooting percentage is volatile season to season. To his credit an overwhelming majority of his shots (73.4% according to HoopData) come either from downtown or point blank. Perhaps his scoring competency relies more on his ability to take intelligent shots.

Although his shooting might be suspect going into next year, his vigorous defense isn’t likely to wane. Douglas remains vivacious on defense, continually moving his feet. He’s a threat in the passing lanes and plays good ball denial as well. Another area where his physical ability and his intelligence make him an asset to the team.

Report Card (5 point scale):
Offense: 3
Defense: 4
Teamwork: 4
Rootability: 5
Performance/Expectations: 5

Final Grade: A-

Similarity Scores:

z-Sum FLName Year Tm PER TS eFG PTS ORB TRB AST STL BLK TOV
.000 Toney Douglas 2010 NYK 14.9 57.1 54.5 15.9 1.3 3.6 3.7 1.4 0.1 1.8
.037 Leandro Barbosa 2006 PHO 15.1 58.9 55.8 16.8 0.7 3.4 3.6 1.1 0.1 2.0
.039 Kevin Gamble 1989 BOS 15.8 58.4 55.9 18.0 1.1 4.0 3.3 1.3 0.3 1.8
.047 George Hill 2010 SAS 14.7 57.2 52.9 15.2 0.7 3.2 3.6 1.1 0.4 1.6
.055 Mike Glenn 1979 NYK 15.5 56.7 54.1 17.9 0.9 2.5 4.2 1.1 0.2 2.0
.064 Reggie Miller 1989 IND 15.7 60.2 53.8 16.8 1.0 4.1 3.2 1.3 0.4 2.0
.066 Rudy Fernandez 2009 POR 15.5 58.8 55.2 14.7 0.8 3.7 2.9 1.2 0.2 1.6
.078 Kyle Macy 1981 PHO 14.5 56.7 52.3 16.2 1.1 3.2 3.9 1.9 0.1 2.3
.084 Jim Paxson 1981 POR 16.9 56.4 53.7 18.0 1.0 2.8 4.0 1.9 0.1 1.7
.088 Chris Mullin 1987 GSW 15.8 58.0 52.4 18.8 0.6 2.7 4.0 1.5 0.5 2.3
.091 Hubert Davis 1994 NYK 14.0 55.8 52.4 16.6 0.6 1.8 4.5 1.1 0.1 2.1

It’s good that great players like Reggie Miller and Chris Mullin appear on this list, but Douglas sees himself as a point guard not scoring guard. It’s no secret that D’Antoni has a disdain of playing combo guards at the point. Douglas would be wise to work on his passing skills this offseason.

The silverlining on his comparables is the guy at the top of the list: Leandro Barbosa. The Brazillian Blur thrived under D’Antoni in Phoenix, so perhaps Douglas is playing for the right coach. Barbosa did increase the number of free throw attempts and points per minute as he progressed, so that is another barometer on Douglas’ development.

Between Barbosa and Gamble, it appears that Douglas ceiling in the NBA is as a reserve guard. Perhaps his defense, coupled with a strong playmaker at another position (ahem LeBron) could make him starting material.

Gallinari Called to Sophomore Team

Today the NBA announced the participants for the Rookie-Sophomore game, and Danilo Gallinari of the Knicks is on the elder team. Their squad is oddly constructed, as Gallo and Beasley are the only two SFs, and the pair are 6’10 and 6’9 respectively The Rookie team features Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings, and second rounder DeJuan Blair, and will try to upset the Sophomores who have won the last 7 contests.

Hill Fails To Impress (& Knick Tidbits)

Knick fans that hoped the 2009 #8 pick would pay immediate dividends are going to be disappointed. Mike D’Antoni said Jordan Hill “got a ways to go” with regards to being NBA ready. A quote like this would be expected if New York grabbed a teenager from Europe like Ricky Rubio or Brandon Jennings. But Jordan Hill is 22, and spent 3 years in Arizona. Shouldn’t he be ready to contribute to the NBA now?

Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by the Knicks recent power forward draftees. Channing Frye, like Hill, was 22 year old #8 overall pick from Arizona and managed an 18.1 PER in 1500+ minutes his first season. David Lee, taken in the same draft, had a 15.4 PER in 1100+ minutes that same year. The 9th overall pick in 2003, Mike Sweetney, was buried on the IR due to incompetent management. But he still was able to perform on an NBA level with a 17.2 PER his first season. Even Nene Hillario who was traded by the Knicks on draft day put up a PER of 15.4 in 2200+ minutes as a 20 year old rookie for Denver.

Hill’s defenders say he started playing basketball late, and that he’s still learning the game. But 2010 is a win now year, with the Knicks not owning their own pick in the upcoming draft. And Walsh didn’t really seem interested in spending money this summer to improve his team, even on his own players. The only trade they made this summer was for a backup center in Darko Milicic. So with no other avenues to improve the team now why would the Knicks take a player who was a project? Surely there was someone that was more ready to contribute this season (Blair seems the part, and Lawson had a nice preseason). Perhaps Walsh didn’t mind taking someone unpolished, but then he should have aimed for someone that was younger or had a bigger upside.

It sounds rough to be critical of a rookie before the season even starts. I can understand Hill not making the rotation, especially with the veterans ahead of him. But I would have liked to hear the coaching staff speak more positively of him. Maybe something along the lines of “he’s good, but he’s going to have to wait his turn.” Perhaps a better showing in either summer league or the preseason would allow me to look past his current state. I’m sure Hill will get some minutes at some point this year, and I can only hope that he can get some positive reviews for his on the court play.

Other News:

  • You can throw away any chance of Eddy Curry getting into the rotation early in the season to increase his trade value. Curry talked about his offseason conditioning publicly on Twitter, then hurt his foot in the first practice. Although it was initially thought that the injury wasn’t serious and he’d be back quickly, Eddy didn’t play in a single preseason game. The team has told Curry to not come back until he reaches a certain weight, implying that his summer regimen wasn’t as advertised. Curry threw away his 2009 season, and so far he’s on pace to do the same in 2010.
  • Not only are Eddy Curry and Jordan Hill out of the rotation, but it seems that Larry Hughes didn’t make the cut either. Hughes probably didn’t expect this to occur (he started 57 of 68 games in 2008, and 20 of 55 last year), and it’ll be interesting to see how he responds. Although the Knicks could afford to let someone like Stephon Marbury hang in the wind (especially considering Marbury’s actions after the team let him go), the front office and coaching staff could lose serious face if this situation gets that ugly.

    From a simple perspective it seems that Hughes was beaten out by Toney Douglas (and perhaps Danilo Gallinari) who are likely to eat the bulk of his minutes along with Nate Robinson. But it’s more likely that this is just coach D’Antoni going with his youngsters.

  • Looks like the Knicks have a new end of bench guy, for now. Marcus Landry replaces Joe Crawford (and Chris Hunter) as the Knicks rotate in a new 12th man yet again. Sorry if I’m indifferent on this signing, but New York seems to grab these guys and tend to never use them in a meaningful way. The best analogy I can come up with it my 2 year old who’ll snatch a toy the minute another child becomes interested in it, not really play with it, and then casually discard it when the next shiny thing comes along.
  • Mock Three

    Since last we talked mock draft the Lakers dispatched with the Orlando Magic and the off-season has kicked into full gear. I was out of town on business and have thus pretty much missed basketball from the past week or so. I suppose that’s fortunate in some ways.

    I hope the third version of this mock is less impacted by the rumors, smokescreens, subterfuges, and misinformation that normally clouds my mocks this time of year. My gut tells me that this draft will be the 2006 draft (Bargnani, Aldridge, Morrison were the top 3) of 2009. There will be tons of busts, but a smart front office will be able to find good players late.

    Onto the picks…
    2009 Mock Draft, 3.0

    1. Clippers – Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma
    Nothing to see here. Moving right along.

    2. Grizzlies – Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain
    Poor Grizz. This isn’t the draft to have the #2 pick. I still say they’re looking to move this pick to someone who wants Rubio.

    3. Thunder – Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn
    I don’t think Thabeet is a top three talent but this draft couldn’t have worked out any better for him. He’ll be an excellent defender and he can run the floor a bit. The Thunder don’t need another guy who needs the ball to be effective.

    4. Kings – James Harden, G, Arizona State
    I’m guessing the Kings just go best player available regardless of position. I think they wouldn’t mind getting out from under this pick.

    5. Wizards – Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona
    Hill will provide some rebounding and a big that runs the floor.

    6. Timberwolves – Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis
    It’s hard to know what Minny will do with a new management team and a lot of picks. Nothing they do would surprise. The 6-10 area just seems about when Evans should go off the board.

    7. Warriors – Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy
    The Warriors want no part of Jamal Crawford and don’t think Ellis can run the point. Jennings seems like the right fit for this group.

    8. Knicks – Stephen Curry, G, Davidson
    I just don’t know that there will be a big man available Walsh will like more than Curry. I suspect that a big man is probably the only real competition for Curry.

    9. Raptors – Jrue Holiday, G, UCLA
    Ultimately, defense, ball-handling, and floor vision will keep him in the league but Holiday is one of the biggest question marks in the draft.

    10. Bucks – DeJuan Blair, PF, Pittsburgh
    If Milwaukee takes Blair they’ll be putting together a nice little frontcourt.

    11. Nets – Demar DeRozan, SF, USC
    Lottery pick least likely to live up to expectations. What does he do?

    12. Bobcats – Austin Daye, F/C, Gonzaga
    I love this kid’s game and maturity but he may not be a player until he’s on his second contract (after he’s filled out a bit). He’s thinner than Anthony Randolph. Just let that roll around in your head for a bit.

    13. Pacers – Ty Lawson, PG, UNC
    I won’t be surprised to see him go higher in this draft. The way people dismiss his production doesn’t make sense to me. It’s not like Carolina does anything particularly unorthodox. They just play a fast pace.

    14. Suns – Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse
    Flynn is a pure point guard, yet I’m not crazy about his decision making.

    15. Pistons – Earl Clark, F, Louisville
    I hate his offense but Clark’s a very capable defender.

    16. Bulls – Gerald Henderson, G, Duke
    The Bulls have claimed that their top off-season priority is to re-sign Gordon. Mmm. Yeah.

    17. 76ers – Chase Budinger, G/F, Arizona
    Budinger is a nice fit for that roster, especially as a decision-maker should they lose Andre Miller.

    18. Timberwolves – B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State
    Given Al Jefferson’s health, this would be a decent gamble on size and provide some depth.

    19. Hawks – Sam Young, F, Pittsburgh
    Young would be a nice fit on Atlanta; a tough guy who can defend both forwards and hit an outside shot.

    20. Jazz – Tyler Hansborough, PF, UNC
    Hansborough is good value at this point in the draft. He’s going to rebound and run the floor and he’s developing a faceup jumper.

    21. Hornets – Jeff Teague, G, Wake Forest
    Teague would bring a bit of what Jannero Pargo did, for better or worse.

    22. Mavericks – Terrance Williams, G/F, Louisville
    Should Williams fall this far he’d be exactly what the doctor ordered Dallas: perimeter defense and depth.

    23. Kings – Eric Maynor, PG, VCU

    24. Trailblazers – James Johnson, F, Wake Forest
    Portland could really use someone that can score in the post–at least a little bit.

    25. Thunder – Darren Collison, PG, UCLA
    He’ll be a quality backup point in the league.

    26. Bulls – Nick Calathes, F, Florida (Greece)
    Somebody is going to select Calathes and hold onto his rights. Presumably it will be a team with multiple first rounders that has difficulty moving a late pick. Any number of these late picks may be guys already overseas who can be stashed away.

    27. Grizzlies – Wayne Ellington, G, UNC
    Right now he’s a one dimensional shooter with a long windup, but worth a late first round gamble.

    28. Timberwolves – Omri Casspi, F, Tel Aviv
    I’d be stunned if Minny keeps all its picks, but if it does I figure they’ll select Calathes or a player they can stash overseas.

    29. Lakers – Marcus Thornton, G, LSU
    Thornton is a potent offensive player and a solid rebounding guard who is better in short spurts because of his questionable shot selection.

    30. Cavaliers – DeMarre Carroll, F, Missouri
    I’m going out on a limb and saying that Mizzou’s version of the “Junk Yard Dog” works his way into the late first round. Carroll has Anderson Varajao’s energy as a combo forward. He’s really improved his jump shot. He has a high basketball IQ, and is a very good passer as well.

    Pre-Draft Camp Mock and Draft Thoughts Part II: L-O-T-T-O!

    If you haven’t already done so take a look at Part I, done prior to the lottery.

    Now that the ping pong balls have bounced, leaving our beloved Knickerbockers no better or worse off than they’d have been just based on record, I’ll re-work the lottery picks and post the remainder of this first round mock.

    1. LA Clippers – Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma: If Mike Dunleavy’s recent declaration of undying love for Blake Griffin is true then he’ll probably trade players to clear room for his new beloved. If it’s not true then the #1 pick may represent a rare opportunity to clean up a roster that is a mess, possibly in one fell swoop. (Previously: Ricky Rubio)

    2. Memphis – Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain: Choosing Rubio has its advantages, regardless of whether he wants to play in Memphis. His rights become an asset for the asset-starved Grizz. Even though Memphis should do this, no player in this draft generates more ambivalence for me than Rubio. The talent is evident, but there are lots of reasons it may not work out for the team that drafts him. (Previously: Demar DeRozan)

    3. Oklahoma City – Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn: Thabeet may be a one-trick pony but his trick is precisely what OKC needs. He’s a defensive anchor, with a decent shot at becoming a more athletic Mutombo. The downside is that he will probably never be even an average offensive player. But, in this draft there’s something to be said for being fairly certain of a player’s “floor”. (Previously: Brandon Jennings)

    4. Sacramento – Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy: Sactown will most likely take the best PG left on the board. I suspect Rubio would prefer Sactown over Memphis, and perhaps a deal can be struck. (Previously: Blake Griffin)

    5. Washington – Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona: The Wiz is the team I think most likely to deal its pick. If they keep it they’ll be looking for depth that could help in a pinch, but with some upside. Hill is a lot like Chris Wilcox. (Previously: Hasheem Thabeet)

    6. Minnesota – Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis: I think Minny opts for the highest upside player on the board regardless of position. It could be Evans, depending on workouts. It could also be Hill, Jennings, DeRozan, or Lawson. Almost literally nothing they do would surprise me, which I hope they interpret as a challenge. (Previously: Evans)

    7. Golden State – James Harden, G, Arizona State: I’ve loved to watch this kid play since he was a junior in high school. To me he’s the 6’5″ Paul Pierce. Other mocks have him higher right now, but I expect that on draft night he’ll slide in between 5 and 8. (Previously: Jordan Hill)

    8. New York – Ty Lawson, G, UNC: I almost pulled the trigger on Lawson in the previous version. Now that I think Nate Robinson most likely will be signed-and-traded this July, Lawson becomes a better fit. He used to be just a fly-down-the floor guard (and frankly, there is something to be said for that) but his screen roll game has really evolved. I expect him to shine in workouts. He may be this year’s Westbrook–an already well-regarded player who vaults up the board based on superior workouts. Oh, and I really hope Walsh can find a 2nd round pick this year. This draft has some potentially very useful role players. (Previously: James Harden)

    9. Toronto – Stephen Curry, G, Davidson: Is it possible to NOT love Steph Curry’s game? He fits Toronto like a glove, even down to his weaknesses (i.e., lateral quickness, overall athleticism, defense). He’s also the right kid to play outside the lower 48. This is a makes-too-much-sense-NOT-to-happen move if Curry is available. (Previously: Stephen Curry)

    10. Milwaukee – Dejaun Blair, PF/C, Pittsburgh: Blair’s rebounding and long arms may get him to the top ten. (Previously: Ty Lawson)

    11. New Jersey – Demar DeRozan, SF, USC: I think DeRozan is the biggest gamble this draft. It’s just not clear if he’s really good at anything yet. Add to that, he may be leaving town one step ahead of the sheriff with allegations of payola hanging over Tim Floyd at USC. Having said that, I’d honestly be a bit surprised if someone doesn’t pull the trigger on him earlier. (Previously: Jeff Teague)

    12. Charlotte – Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke: With Larry Brown making personnel decisions, there is simply no way to anticipate what he’ll do. What I can probably write down is “scrappy, hard-nosed defender with a high basketball IQ” and just wait to fill in the name. I like Henderson as a solid sixth man who plays both ends. (Previously: Gerald Henderson)

    13. Indiana – Jrue Holiday, G, UCLA: Holiday was probably among the most shocked when Darren Collison return to UCLA for his senior season. That moved Holiday to SG, where he struggled playing limited minutes out of position for a team with a style that doesn’t exactly fit his strengths. I’m not an “everyone should play one year!” guy, but Holiday should go back to school for another year. He’d definitely move to PG this year and could vault himself into the top 5 of next year’s draft. He may yet do so in this draft based on workouts, but the new format doesn’t allow as many chances for teams to see players as in the past. As of this writing he hasn’t hired an agent, but everything I have read suggests that he’s in the draft to stay. (Previously: Earl Clark)

    14. Phoenix – Johnny Flynn, PG, Syracuse: The rumor mill says that Phoenix likes him. We’ll take that as a baseline pick. (Previously: Johnny Flynn)

    15. Detroit – Earl Clark, F, Louisville: I am not a fan of Clark’s offensive game, particularly shot selection, but he’s a good defender. (Previously: Wayne Ellington)

    Once we get out of the lottery, beauty will be in the eye of the beholder. I expect trades galore and one or two “who the hell is that guy!?” selections as well.

    16. Chicago – Jeff Teague, G, Wake Forest: Teague is an undersized SG, a high-usage player both years at Wake but improved his TS% from 59% to 62% almost exclusively by getting to the line. He looks like Ben Gordon with a clue.

    17. Philadelphia – Chase Budinger, SG/SF, Arizona: I posted a fairly extensive take on him at Arizona Desert Swarm. At this point in the draft he’s a bargain as a 6th or 7th man. It’s also worth noting that Philadelphia currently puts absolute blechhh! on the floor at SG.

    18. Minnesota – BJ Mullens, C, Ohio State: This would be a reasonable gamble on size, athleticism, and potential in the high teens.

    19. Atlanta – Terrance Williams, SG/SF, Louisville: Like his Cardinal counterpart, Williams brings much more to the floor in defense and other areas unrelated to scoring. For its part Atlanta doesn’t need another mouth to feed on offense. Williams could bring back a little of what they miss since Josh Childress left for Greece.

    20. Utah – Sam Young, SF, Pittsburgh: He plays a similar game to Matt Harpring; a little jump shot and a lot of bruises.

    21. New Orleans – Marcus Thornton, SG, LSU: I’m not a huge fan of Thorton as a playmaker, where he was often miscast in college. As the new (better) Janero Pargo I like him a lot better.

    22. Dallas – James Johnson, F, Wake Forest: I think the Mavs take the most athletic front court player they can find at 22.

    23. Sacramento – Tyler Hansborough, PF, North Carolina: Hansborough isn’t a first or even second option in the NBA, but he will rebound, run the floor, get to the line, and should be a decent pick and pop player. DraftExpress’ comparison to Luis Scola sounds about right.

    24. Portland – Jermaine Taylor, SG, Central Florida: What Portland needs is a slashing small forward to better compliment Roy, but they won’t get one unless they trade. They’ll probably end up moving this pick, but if not Taylor is a player that could develop into the kind of slasher they need.

    25. Oklahoma City – Darren Collison, PG, UCLA: He would join former backcourt mate Westbrook, and projects to a very solid backup PG.

    26. Chicago – DaJaun Summers, SF, Georgetown: Gamble on upside.

    27. Memphis – Wayne Ellington, SG, UNC

    28. Minnesota – Eric Maynor, G, VCU

    29. LA Lakers – Jodie Meeks, G, Kentucky

    30. Cleveland – Gani Lawal, PF, Georgia Tech

    Note: Austin Daye would definitely be in the first round, but right now I am unsure about whether he’ll return to Gonzaga. I hope he does. I love his game. He just needs to put on some muscle.

    Pre-Draft Camp Mock and Draft Thoughts Part I: The Top 15

    I thought it would be a good idea to put up an initial first round mock, along with a few thoughts about the draft overall, before we are fully into the throes of team workouts and the pre-draft camp.

    Overall thoughts. I generally come down on the side of Hubie Brown about the draft. You can find good players in every draft. Some guys who are drafted early will eventually blossom. Others drafted late will really surprise. Nevertheless, this draft is probably typical or slightly below typical in terms of likely superstar talent. Once you get past Blake Griffin little consensus exists about who the 2nd best prospect. We don’t know for certain whether Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio will declare and stay in the draft. For that matter, if Blake Griffin measures under 6’9″ there may be no consensus on the top pick either. If there is any consensus on this draft it is that there are guards aplenty; the deepest position by far. It’s a tricky draft in that a lot of guys are upside-only players and just as many probably only fit certain schemes.

    Mock Draft. I’ll try to get another mock up following the pre-draft camp and then a final one up just prior to draft night. The lottery obviously hasn’t been set as of this writing, so the order here is based on regular season record. This initial mock is to spell out what I think each team would do if the draft were held today, with no other roster changes other than expiring deal players allowed to walk.

    1. Sacramento – Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma: Barring something catastrophic, the top spot is Griffin’s to lose. The Kings have recently drafted Jason Thompson, but not much else at the position.

    2. Washington – Hasheem Thabeet, C, Connecticut: I expect Washington to throw the first curve. I think they’ll opt for pure fit–Thabeet’s shot-blocking and ability to run the floor–over the high upside youngster Rubio. They think they’re a contender with a healthy core and a defensive upgrade.

    3. LA Clippers – Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain: There might not be a team for which Rubio could be more helpful. Is there a bigger collection of ballstoppers in the league than Baron Davis, Zach Randolph, and Andre Thornton?

    4. Oklahoma City – Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy: OKC needs to add is a young PG that can remove some of the ball-handling burden from Durant and Westbrook and get them into the transition game.

    5. Minnesota – Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis: I think Minny opts for the highest upside player on the board regardless of position. It could be Evans, depending on workouts. It could be Jordan Hill, Brandon Jennings, or Demar DeRozan.

    6. Memphis – Demar DeRozan, SF, USC: Memphis will similarly opt for highest upside player, and preferably best small forward available to provide some leverage with Rudy Gay (who is about to come off his rookie deal). At this point though, I think DeRozan is the biggest gamble on the board. It’s just not clear what he’s good at yet.

    7. Golden State – Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona: Hill is an athletic PF who rebounds, runs the floor, and will block the occasional shot. He’s mostly an energy player in the NBA but a great fit for Nellieball.

    8. New York – James Harden, SG, Arizona State: Concerns about Harden’s overall athleticism may push him down some teams’ boards. If so, NY would be lucky to find him available. Harden is athletic enough and has a high enough basketball IQ to play in any system, but he excels in the running game despite the slow pace his college team played. Harden is a slasher, and the Knicks haven’t had a slasher since Latrell Sprewell [insert bad joke here]. I will assume that NY does NOT have a promise out to Stephen Curry, as I think Harden is the better prospect. (Another guy I debated at this spot is UNC PG Ty Lawson, who I see as this year’s Russell Westbrook. By the end of the “draft season” Lawson will be comfortably in the top ten in most mocks, maybe even top five. His game is tailor-made for the post-season evaluation process.)

    9. Toronto – Stephen Curry, G, Davidson: I LOVE Steph Curry’s game. He fits Toronto like a glove. This is a makes-too-much-sense-NOT-to-happen move if Curry is still on the board.

    10. Milwaukee – Ty Lawson, PG, UNC: The Bucks really like Ramon Sessions the incumbent, but then so do a lot of other teams. At the least Lawson would provide them with an up tempo guard to bring off the bench who isn’t the complete defensive giveaway that is Luke Ridenour.

    11. New Jersey – Jeff Teague, G, Wake Forest: Teague is another candidate for a Russell Westbrook-style rise up the boards. An undersized SG, Teague was a high-usage player both years at Wake but improved his TS% from 59% to 62% almost exclusively by getting to the line more as a sophomore.

    12. Charlotte – Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke: I anticipate that Larry Brown is making personnel decisions. So there is just no way to know what he’ll do. What I can probably write is “scrappy, hard-nosed defender, high basketball IQ” and just wait to fill in the name. I like Henderson as a sixth man.

    13. Indiana – Earl Clark, F, Louisville: I am not a fan of Clark’s offensive game, particularly shot selection, but he’s a good defender.

    14. Phoenix – Johnny Flynn, PG, Syracuse: The rumor mill says that Phoenix likes him. We’ll take that as a baseline pick.

    15. Detroit – Wayne Ellington, SG, UNC: Who knows what Detroit will do this offseason? My guess is that Dumars will break up his core, moving one or more of Wallace, Hamilton, Prince, and McDyess along with some role players. Ellington’s jump shot makes him a useful addition to almost any roster.

    Up next: Picks 16-30