The KnickerBlogger staff has decided to spend the 8 days prior to the draft discussing the upcoming event. Each day will feature a different question that we will attempt to answer. Feel free to join us in the comment section!
Which of Okafor, Mudiay, or Russell would you rather fall to the 4th pick?
Kurylo: For some reason, I’m anxious about taking point guards early. I haven’t crunched the numbers on it, but they seem more likely to bust than not. Okafor is the most likely to not be a bust, and the Knicks need a sure thing here, so I’m good with the center.
Silverman: Okafor, not just because it would feel like some kind of Karmic payback for getting yoked out of a top two pick. But I think he’ll make for a better defender as a pro than he showed at Duke. Also, butt jokes. All the butt jokes.
Gibberman: Wow, this is a difficult question because all three are high quality prospects. I don’t think it happens, but I lean towards Okafor. Despite how the NBA is changing if you get a big man who you can build an entire offense around that’s incredibly valuable. His ability to post up, as long as he improves his free throw shooting, will make it hard for teams to take advantage going small. In the right scheme I think he can be fine on the defensive end too.
Fisher-Cohen: I’ll go with Okafor even though I’m not super-high on him because 1) he’s the guy Jackson is probably least likely to trade (he’s got that NBA butt), 2) it’s easier to find competent talent at guard than center, and 3) there’s something exciting about how hard it is to find a comparison for him. The only college freshman big to score like him at similar efficiency in recent history was Kevin Love.
Topaz: I worry about players that, if they’re sitting in the fourth quarter of a close game, you have to ask why. Is it because he’s a 51 percent free-throw shooter and the other team is hacking him? Or because his slow footwork and ineffective pick-and-roll defense is killing the team against a good offense? Everything points to Jahlil Okafor safely being a tremendous scorer, but the defense is worrisome. It’s a cliche, but the NBA is growing increasingly dependent on athleticism, rim protection and position-less basketball, and Okafor is mostly at odds with all three. And though this is a secondary concern, the thought of Melo and Russell on defense together is a bit horrifying. I’ll take Russell.
Cronin: I’d be thrilled if Okafor was there. I have been drooling over him and Melo playing the inside out game ever since last season began (well, as soon as the Knicks looked terrible, that is).