2016 FA Roundtable: Willy Hernangomez and Mindaugas Kuzminskas

PLUGH: These are really good signs of the Knicks getting smart. I’m not sure how much Clarence Gaines had to do with the two of these signings, but WHG (or is it BHG now?) was on the radar while the team was scouting Porzingis at Sevilla. A good organization is able to fill important bench roles with quality players. It’s increasingly difficult to afford those kind of players from within the NBA universe. The ACB is full of strong, talented players who have proven their value on a quality stage. Many of the guys available outside the draft are limited in their range of NBA skills, but there are great specialists who can be bought at lower cost. WHG was a second rounder because he’s still raw. He’s young and lacks lateral quickness on defense. He’s not explosive and his shooting range is somewhat limited. But….he’s got good size, great touch around the rim, and he can bang with the best of them. He’s got great promise as a rebounder in the NBA. Kuzminskas looks like so much fun. He seems like the sort of player, stylistically, who can play the DWill role for the Knicks. He can get into transition and make trouble around the hoop. It seems as though his range is limited from a consistency point of view, but for 12-18 minutes a game off the bench, he may just be a tremendous asset. It’s impossible to tell how good an import like “Kuz” can be by watching YouTube highlights, but if you go by his online resume he’s gonna dunk on some fools and give us a few thrills along the way. The most important part of these signings is that, along with Porzingis, the Knicks are expanding the range of the organization’s hunt for value.

CRONIN: These were easily the most impressive signings of the offseason for the Knicks. They might both be busts, but they’re at least guys who, if the Knicks are correct, could provide major value at minor cost. And they’re young, too! I am a huge fan of these two signings.

UDWARY: The franchise has been pretty good with European signings in the past, so I’ll give them a benefit of the doubt on this one. Hernangomez is Porzingis’ bud, young, sounds like a banger and tough rebounder on a cheap contract which is always useful. Better than signing Chris Smith, I suppose. The other dude I know nothing about, other than he can dunk on YouTube, which probably makes him better than Derrick Rose.

FISHER-COHEN: I’m in support of any move that gets us players with less NBA experience on cheap deals. You pay a premium for proven players, leaving you a much slimmer chance of winning the deal, and losing on a small deal like Kuzminkskas’ or Hernangomez’s is no big deal given the size of their deals. The question is will we create minutes for these players? The moves Jackson made this summer along with his lame duck status put a lot of pressure on the team to win immediately, which tends to result in a focus on playing known quantities rather than giving less experienced players minutes and the chance to grow and adapt.

Kurylo: Cronin, I would say this about Ndour too. The NBA is a league where probably 80%-90% are overpaid. Certainly not the (true) superstars, but a lot of bad contracts are given out by necessity of the rules of free agency. Hence there is a great efficiency in getting players from outside the NBA, whether it be overseas or the D-League on cheaper contracts and hope they turn into NBA role players and starters. It’s absolutely crazy that teams aren’t filling up the back end of their rosters with young NBDL and/or foreign players hoping to find a useful NBA player.

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