Knicks Morning News (2015.08.23)

  • [New York Times] Former NBA Star Kirilenko Hopes to Rescue Russian Basketball (Sun, 23 Aug 2015 09:40:33 GMT)

    After spending more than a decade in the NBA, former All-Star Andrei Kirilenko is taking on what may be his biggest challenge yet — rescuing basketball in his native Russia.

  • 12 replies on “Knicks Morning News (2015.08.23)”

    Phil Jackson has compared Euro stash Willy Hernangomez to Luis Scola. What kind of a player and how good is/was Scola?

    His first four years in the league (he didn’t join the NBA until he was 27), Scola was an excellent player — not quite an all-star but a very solid starter on a good team. If the Knicks got a taller version of that guy with a second round pick, they may have gotten the steal of the draft.

    The more I look at this draft, the more I feel that it will go down as one of the deepest drafts ever. There are probably no less than 25 future NBA rotation players in this draft.

    I also think that the Knicks have landed three future front-end rotation players in Porzingis, Grant and Hernangomez. For all the nitpicking re: Jackson’s GM moves, I am tickled pink re: landing essentially 3 first round picks (Hernangomez is a first rounder in most drafts, and would certainly have been a lottery pick in next year’s draft) in this historically deep draft.

    Another thing about this draft is that there doesn’t seem to be a huge “potential gap” for most of the guys picked between #1 and #22. I mean, is it crazy to say that Justin Anderson or Bobby Portis might wind up being the best player in this draft?

    Another thing about this draft is that there doesn’t seem to be a huge “potential gap” for most of the guys picked between #1 and #22. I mean, is it crazy to say that Justin Anderson or Bobby Portis might wind up being the best player in this draft?

    It’s a great, great draft, but while I absolutely agree about its depth, I still think it was frontloaded (which is why it is such an amazing draft – very few drafts are awesome up front and deep in the back. It’s typically one or the other). I think it would be pretty extraordinary if Anderson or Portis ended up being the best player in the draft (and I think Portis was an absolute steal for the Bulls, I just think it is highly unlikely he ends up as the best player in the draft). I think coming into the draft that there was seven really great prospects, so I think the odds are the best that one of those seven (Towns, Okafor, Russell, Zinger, Mudiay, WCS and Winslow) is the best player in the draft and I think the odds are slightly less likely, but close to as likely that the best player comes from the top three picks.

    Brian, while I generally agree, now that we’ve seem a glimpse of these players in Summer League, I think that the lens is slightly less blurry (although still plenty blurry!) We’ll know a lot more after a couple of pre-season games.

    And I agree that it is highly unlikely that either Portis or Anderson will be the best players from this draft (especially Portis) but who knows? Anderson looked fantastic in Summer League, and if he keeps nailing shots from 25 feet and improving his handle, he could be a “sky’s the limit” wing. On the other hand, Russell and Okafor looked like their pre-draft negatives are spot-on. I’d personally be more worried at this point if we had drafter either of them instead of Zinger.. In a re-draft, I think there would be plenty of movement. In a re-draft, I think almost everyone still takes Towns as #1 but Zinger might now be in the top 3 (very possibly #2) for lots of teams. I think Johnson and Turner might move up, and Russell and Okafor might move down, as well as Kaminsky and Winslow. I also think that Anderson and Portis probably move ahead of Dekker and Rozier, and Harrell gets into the first round.

    If you want to go eight with Hezonja, fair enough. I never really saw his upside the same as the other seven, but sure, feel free to throw him in there (Johnson and Turner are close to that group, as well).

    I don’t think Okafor or Russell move from #2 and 3. They showed their weaknesses during Summer League, sure, but everyone knew their weaknesses coming into the draft and they were still the clear cut #2 and 3 picks.

    I think it’s more about learning about the other players than about Russell and Okafor. Porzingis was somewhat of an unknown commodity before the draft until he had that workout. In summer league, he showed that he had some advantages over Okafor when they went head-to-head. In other words, Zinger, Hezonja, Turner, and Johnson did more to quell concerns about their downside and to reinforce their upside than did Russell and Okafor.

    In Okafor’s case, he really looked poor on defense, and shorter and less athletic than his peers. His FT shooting is god-awful, which is easier to accept from a great defensive player (e.g. Dwight and DeAndre) than from a purely offensive player.

    In Russell’s case, I believe he played much less well vs. top-level NCAA competition. That seemed to be the case in Summer League, where the game seemed too big, strong and fast for him. He’s not all that athletic, so that’s a pretty big deal. For contrast, look at Steph in summer league:

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