Knicks 2015 Free Agency Round Table: Derrick Williams

Will the Knicks be the last NBA team Williams plays for?
Kurylo: True. Going to the Knicks has been like bringing that pet home to the kids. Just make sure you get something that is cheap enough, and easily discarded. I’d bet that since 2000, more players spent their last minutes on the Knicks roster than any other team. Recent examples from the last 3 seasons: Chris Smith, Metta World Peace, Jeremy Tyler, Marcus Camby, Jason Kidd, Quentin Richardson, Kurt Thomas, Rasheed Wallace, James White and Andrea Bargnani. Well I’m hoping about that last guy.

Gibberman: I’ll say no. Teams always need bottom of the bench fodder and someone with the athletic gifts of Williams can always find a team looking to take a risk. Just look at how many chances Michael Beasley has received.

Fisher-Cohen: I advocated trading for Williams when he was stuck behind Love in the rotation, getting ripped left and right by Rick Adelman and playing most of his minutes out of position. He seemed like a talented player whose development had been obstructed by an unsupportive coach. His inability to approach his college numbers (57% three point percentage!), even from the free throw line, seemed to support the idea that the Wolves had screwed him up mentally.

Now he’s 24, and he just hasn’t improved at all in his four year career, making him a lot less exciting of a player. Still, Williams is a competent end of bench player who I think will probably stick in the league for at least a couple more years because of his draft pedigree. If Michael Beasley and Hakim Warrick can do it, so can Williams.

Cronin: The dude’s still only 24 years old. I think he has at the very least two more teams left in him. Guys with this much talent in college tend to stick around for a while. Look at his most common comparison, Michael Beasley. Beasley has had a terrible career in the pros and yet teams (well, team – the Miami Heat) keep giving him a second, third and fourth chance.

Will Bismack Biyombo earn more money in the NBA than Derrick Williams, when both careers are done?
Kurylo: Derrick Williams will be 24 years old, and will have earned $31M after he’s done with New York. Biyombo will be 23 years old, and will have earned $19M after he’s done in Toronto. Derrick Williams won’t make another cent in the NBA after his Knicks contract is done. If Dwayne Casey can find a thousand minutes for 29 year old Tyler Hansbrough last year, and nearly twice that many for Amir Johnson, then Biyombo will likely see ample playing time. And there’s always room in the league for a center that can rebound, block shots, and run the floor for 20 minutes a night.

My money is on Biyombo, if there is any karma in this world.

Gibberman: Most likely yes.. Effective defensive centers eventually get paid, but sometimes it takes extra time for teams to catch up with guys not putting up box score statistics. He’s only 22, so carving out an Omer Asik type career seems plausible.

Fisher-Cohen: Biyombo is a specialist, so on the right team, he can be a big contributor. I’d say the odds are in his favor even with the current handicap. However, Williams has a huge advantage: his player option. Teams are going to be throwing money at anything that moves next summer, so if Williams is decent, he could end up with a big stack of money from an imprudent team.

Cronin: Fascinating question. I think Biyombo will have the longer career, but I think he might be looking at low-level contracts for the rest of the way. Williams, on the other hand, has a real chance at another $5 million contract out there, so I’m actually going to go with Williams. The main thing is that Williams has a big head start on Biyombo, money-wise.

If Williams is playing more than 24 minutes per game, chance that Derek Fisher will be fired before the season is over.
Kurylo: 100%. This guy brings nothing to the table. A moderate amount of scoring volume, at an efficiency that would be embarrassing for a New York city street court, and nothing else. He doesn’t rebound, pass, steal, block shots, or even hit threes or free throws at the rate you’d expect from an NBA player. I’m sure Fisher will find playing time for him, especially after Carmelo Anthony gets hurt from playing lots of minutes. Williams will be win the KnickerBlogger “Jason Smith Award” in 2016.

Gibberman: Depends on the context. If Anthony ends up getting hurt again Fisher might not have a choice. If the Knicks are showing growth and Williams keeps getting thrown out there while playing poorly that won’t be a good look.

Fisher-Cohen: I think Fisher has another year without a ton of pressure. Jackson hired him. He’ll get burned in the process if he fires him, so unless we’re at like 10-30 come the midway point, I doubt he gets fired. I mean, consider the depth chart. The Knicks have Anthony, Porzingis, Williams, Early and Antetokounpo at the forward spots. O’Quinn will probably play center primarily while Afflalo may or may not be the starting shooting guard. There aren’t great alternatives.

Cronin: With this roster, is Williams at 24 minutes even all that crazy? Fisher can only play who he is given to work with, so no, I don’t think Fisher is going anywhere any time soon. If Year 3 is also terrible, then his seat might get a little warm. But not yet.

What does this signing say about the Knicks’ front office?
Kurylo: It takes the luster off of it for sure. Fans are mixed about Porzingis, but the front office can always fall back on Zinger’s “potential” as an excuse. Afflalo seems reasonable and a low-risk move. But sometimes you can judge a team by who they fill the bench with, and Derrick Williams stinks. He’s shown nothing. Actually that’s not true. He’s been given more than 6000 NBA minutes and has proven that no team should be seriously considering him for their roster.

Gibberman: Williams is the one move the Knicks have done this offseason that I haven’t supported immediately or come around on. If they give him a chance and he continues along the path of his previous play there’s no reason to play him. I don’t think Williams turns his career around, but he’s only played for the Timberwolves and Kings. You can’t find two more poorly run franchises during that time. Lets not get it twisted here either, New York isn’t far behind. Williams going to be interesting to see if they can do a better job developing him than they did. There are some useful physical tools here. Good organizations find ways to maximize what players have versus letting their flaws shine through.

Fisher-Cohen: I could have better appreciated this deal if not for the player option we gave Williams. Because of that, you can’t even rationalize the signing as high risk/high reward as on the off chance Williams gets his shooting touch back (after four years…), he leaves.

That says to me that Jackson’s thinking hasn’t changed much. He’s thinking short term — get players on “discounts” by giving them a player option on the hope that next year’s FA class doesn’t look past the Knicks’ win total and see the valuable role players are free agents. Maybe he thinks that this season will prove to the league that the triangle is awesome and that that will sell free agents.

In either case, he’s wrong. Players are smarter than that. Dwight Howard cited the youth and cap flexibility of the Rockets as the the thing that sold him. Monroe likely went to the Milwaukee Icicles for the same reason.

Jackson has done some good things, but he’s still making too many bad choices for me to buy into the possibility that this team could become great under his stewardship.

Cronin: I don’t think any one move defines the front office either way, but yeah, this was an awful, awful signing. Not only is $5 million too much for Williams, but the player option given to him was insane. Just cuckoo. If the only way that you can woo Derrick Williams to play for your team is to give him a player option after year one, then just let him go. There is no way that you need Derrick Williams so badly that you give him a player option after year one. So now your best case scenario is that he turns his career around and opts out of his deal. How does that make any sense? How in the world did Derrick freakin’ Williams have the leverage in the negotiations to get that player option? It doesn’t make any sense. The Afflalo second year player option was dumb, as well, but at least Afflalo sort of kind of had a market out there.

Knicks 2015 Free Agency Round Table: Robin Lopez

Should we be concerned with the lack of defensive rebounds from Lopez?
Kurylo: He’s pulling down only 4.7 dreb/36 over his career and only 4.5 dreb/36 last year []. Someone call the stat guy for basketball-reference, because that’s got to be a typo! Seriously, those are swingman numbers.

On the other hand Portland was 7th last year in dreb%, and 13th the year before. New Orleans was 8th in Lopez’ year there. Meanwhile, 82games has the Trailblazers neutral to slightly better on defensive rebounds (+0.8) with the Boy Wonder on the floor.

Given all that information, I’m going to be brave enough and say “I don’t know.”

Fisher-Cohen: If David Lee’s rebounding was inflated because he left his defensive assignment to steal rebounds, then surely there’s a reverse scenario where a guy’s rebounding numbers are depressed because he boxes out and focuses on getting stops before rebounding. The fact that the Blazers’ rebounding was better on both ends of the floor when RoLo played offers a bit of support for that idea.

But in terms of fit, Melo is no Aldridge when it comes to rebounding, so even if Lopez is a bigger rebounding contributor than the box score suggests, he’s still not a good rebounder at his position, which means there’s reason to be concerned that the Knicks are going to struggle on the boards — that Lopez isn’t an ideal fit.

Gibberman: No, I’m not concerned about Lopez’s rebounding at all. During his career teams have rebounded on the defensive glass 2.1% better with him on the floor versus off. He’s excellent at boxing out and creating room for his teammates to grab boards. Lopez has been on the Trail Blazers the last two seasons and they’re the only two years of LaMarcus Aldridge’s career he’s averaged over 10 rebounds per 36 minutes. That’s not a coincidence.

Cronin: It’s weird. I wouldn’t say “concerned,” but it seems to be a consistent thing with him, so I guess it is at least something to keep track of. But no, I wouldn’t say I was concerned about it.

How much does Lopez help the Knicks defense?
Kurylo: Good question, but I’ll answer with another question: how worse would the Knicks defense with Monroe or Aldridge instead of him? If there is one aspect I really like about the Lopez signing, is that it’s a defensive minded acquisition. Since I started covering the Knicks, it seems that they play lip service to defense. Lots of defense first guys have been on the roster that have been basically ignored: Aldrich, Balkman, Gadzuric, Matt Barnes, etc. Not all of them were worthy of an NBA spot (Jerome James and Jared Jeffries come to mind), but plenty were never even given the opportunity. This seems odd for a team that had two successfully periods in their history (70s & 90s) that were centered around defense.

Gibberman: I’m a big fan of how Mike complimented his own question. I think all the questions I ask are awesome too. [Editor’s note: yes I wrote the question. But I was being highly objective when I complemented it.] Another simple answer: Nope. Lopez is a solid defender that understands how to play on that end. He might not have the best physical tools from an athletic perspective, but he has good core strength, understands angles and is competent in all areas (defending PnR, Iso, post ups and team defensive in general on that end).

Fisher-Cohen: Here are the defensive tracking stats for Lopez, Chandler (in 13/14), Amundson and Aldrich. Here’s Deandre Jordan and Bizzy Biyombo as well. Lopez seems capable of causing problems for opponents inside the three point line, but he lacks to mobility (unlike Bizzy and DJ) to switch onto quicker players. The Knicks’ had the worst three point defense in the league last year, and it could get even worse if Calderon stays healthy, Melo plays more small forward, and Afflalo’s defense is a repeat of last year.

Lopez is a big improvement compared to Amundson and Aldridge, so the defense will improve with him, but it still should be bad. I mean, Portland featured two plus wing defenders in Batum and Matthews and Aldridge, whom Zach Lowe argues was highly underrated on defense, yet Portland only hovered around the league average defensively over the last few years.

Cronin: I think an additional defender who can actually play strong defense in the post will definitely help, but yeah, I envision a lot of the same problems we saw with Tyson Chandler, where the guy in the middle is going to have to run around a lot to try to cover up everyone else’s awful defense, except Lopez is likely not quite as fast as Chandler, so he might have even more of a problem with having to run after all the mistakes.

Should we be concerned with Lopez’ offense, or lack thereof?
Kurylo: Nope. I’m quite tired of arguing against every single player being an offensive magician for an NBA team to score points. Teams can, and do, have robust offenses with one player that isn’t a wizard with the ball in his hands. I’m not a shot creation denier, but I don’t worship at its altar either.

And if such a thing were true, why the heck did the Knicks get Carmelo Anthony? How does that make sense if the offense, with one of the league’s highest usage rates, is still so fragile it needs every player to help take on the scoring load? If that is true (and it’s not) we should have stuck with Gallinari.

Gibberman: Let me think on this for a second…..NOPE. Say it with me — the Knicks got an effective starting center that gets the job done on both ends of the court. I know, I’m shocked too. Lopez isn’t outstanding from a scoring perspective and that doesn’t mean he’s useless! He can finish with both hands around the rim, has the ability to make an open mid range jumper, sets good screens and is an adequate passer. Lopez is an excellent piece to place next to Carmelo Anthony much like Tyson Chandler was. What he lacks as an elite PnR finisher, he makes up for with variety. His work on the offensive glass will also be helpful getting New York some extra possessions.

Fisher-Cohen: Fisher had the audacity to give Dalembert and Aldrich post catches last year, so if he does that again with Lopez, there’s reason to worry. However, Lopez is a pick and roll player who sets strong screens and knows how to use his mass to bully his way to the rim. As long as the Fisher/Jackson braintrust is willing to adapt to Lopez’s strengths, Lopez should be an effective player on offense.

Cronin: I agree that he will fit right in on offense. No worries there at all.

By the end of Lopez’s contract, Knick fans will feel ___?
Kurylo: Sad. My bet is they’ll want the guy back.

New Yorkers tend to obsess over scorers on other teams. They love the Carmelo Anthonys, Greg Monroes, and even the Eddy Currys, when they are Knicks in rumors only. But once said player ends up in orange and blue, Gothamites can’t help to turn on them. Meanwhile any defender considering New York is a bum that’s going to ruin the finely tuned offense. Yet once said player sets a hard pick, takes a charge, blocks a shot, and dives for a ball, the stands swoon.

Want proof? Charles Oakley, Anthony Mason, and Kurt Thomas.

Gibberman: Wondering if his health will hold up to be able to pay him another decent size contract. Knicks fans who grasp basketball things outside of box score statistics are going to fall in love with Lopez and not just for beating up mascots and his awesome hair.

Fisher-Cohen: Narrative has a much larger impact on fans’ perspective than reality. Jackson spent the last year focusing almost exclusively on clearing cap space, so this free agency period has taken on enormous weight to those fans who cared enough to follow the team this year. Lopez was the premiere signing, so he has a lot of pressure on him, and as a result, he’ll receive a disproportionate amount of blame or praise, depending on how the Knicks do. I expect that reputation to be hard to shake for his entire time in NYC.

Cronin: The guy is crazy likeable, so I think Knick fans will really love the guy by the time his tenure is up.

Last year, the Clippers won 56 games and the Mavericks won 50. Considering Dallas took Jordan from L.A., how many wins for each team in 2016?
Kurylo: Dallas: 60. Clippers: 46.

Fisher-Cohen: Matthews is a concern for Dallas as who knows if or when he’ll be fully recovered. Achilles injuries have altered the trajectory of other players’ careers. But I have a whole lot more doubts about the Clippers who are an older team, ripe to be abused by Mr. Injury Bug and his bucket of fun. They had no depth last year and lucked into relatively good health. With little money this year to fix the issue, I wouldn’t bet on that luck holding up. I’ll say 55 wins for Dallas and 40 for the Clippers. The West is rough.

Gibberman: 52 for the Clippers and 46 for the Mavericks. Los Angeles still has two of the top 10 basketball players in the entire world. Dallas has no depth, no point guard, plus needs a declining Dirk Nowitizki and Wes Matthews coming off an Achilles tendon tear to play huge roles.

Cronin: The Clippers lost Chris Paul for a bunch of games last year and adapted. I think even with two star players, they’ll do pretty well (I guess it also depends on who they get to play center). I am going to predict 49 wins for the Clippers. As for the Mavericks, there are still so many question marks with that team that I don’t think I can predict more than 48 wins for them at this point. They don’t even have a point guard at the moment!

Kristaps Porzingis Round Table Discussion

With the Knicks drafting Kristaps Porzingis fourth overall, we decided to go to our panel of experts. We asked them to finish the following statements.

New York is going to regret taking Porzingis over …

Kurylo: Willie Cauley-Stein. This guy reminds me of Kevin Garnett. Can guard anyone, but questionable offensive skills. If he stays healthy, he’ll be in the league 15+ years.

Armosino: Justise Winslow. Would’ve been a strong 3 and D wing that would’ve allowed them to play Carmelo at the four. Doesn’t have the upside of Porzingis, but his skill set also affords him a higher floor.

Fisher-Cohen: Long term, I think Hezonja is the only player drafted after #4 who has the potential to be worth regretting (i.e. perennial All-Star). But people will bitch for a year or two about us passing on Winslow and Mudiay because both will put up numbers that pop at a glance early on.

Cronin: No one offhand. Even if someone else turns out to be great, there was no one after Zinger that was a no-brainer. Mudiay was a safer pick, but not necessarily a better pick. So it is hard to knock them for the pick in terms of “How did you pass on ____?” Any one of those four-five guys would have been a fine pick.

Udwary: Maybe Justise Winslow, for the more immediate gratification of having a more ready to contribute player. Really, though, you have to like the potential of the Zinger to be a nightmare matchup for the entire NBA. I kind of like the pick.

By taking Porzingis, Phil Jackson’s showed …

Kurylo: he’s neither as clever as his reputation, nor as dumb as I thought. New York could have traded this pick down, and done some creative stuff. But they also could have made the mistake to go with a “triangle” guy or ready-now player. I’m glad they swung for the fences, because drafts are graded 3-5 years after the fact.

Cronin: That he’s willing to make a risky pick over a safer pick that didn’t fit his system as well (Mudiay). I suppose I also like that he’s willing to try for a home run whose talent won’t show up right away. For a guy who doesn’t plan on being here in six years, I appreciate that he’s willing to draft a guy who might not be good until Year 3.

Fisher-Cohen: I still worry Zinger will get traded, but if we keep him, like I wrote in the last round table, it is the first thing Jackson’s done that indicates he understands the pit the Knicks are in and is willing to build for the long term — that the Knicks may be leaving the endless “screw rebuilding” cycle of mediocrity. To me, that’s much more important than the pick itself as the Knicks had zero chance of being great if they stayed on the win now wagon, making all their decisions irrelevant.

Udwary: It shows he has some patience for this rebuild. Porzingis isn’t the guy who is going to make a major contribution right away. This, of course, completely contradicts the contract that Phil gave Melo, which seeomingly put the emphasis on quickly building a contender around the aging star. So, I guess it also shows Phil is inconsistent. Inconsistent and patient are maybe not the best qualities to share, but it at least worked ok tonight.

When the Knicks selected Porzingis, I…

Kurylo: was fine with the pick. What settled me on Porzingis? Stat-guru Kevin Pelton had him ranked 4th. Pelton’s list also had my favorite Myles Turner ranked 6th, so you know the list is legit. Also the anxiety that the team would do something really stupid (Kaminsky, Lyle, etc.) helped me get over this selection.

Armosino: was happy it wasn’t Frank Kaminsky. Porzingis wasn’t my first choice, but I’m fine with him.

Cronin: resigned myself to him. I was also still sort of moping over losing out on Okafor and Russell. Honestly, after missing out on the guys I really wanted, I was hoping that they’d just take a shot at the grand slam pick with Zinger. It was nicely ballsy.So I was cool with it. Plus, this might very well be it for Bargs, as they wouldn’t want Bargs’ habits rubbing off on Zinger, right? That alone might make this draft a happy day in Knick history.

Fisher-Cohen: Felt extremely happy and hopeful about the Knicks for the first time in a long time (see above for why).

Udwary: I was already crushed when Philly took Okafor, so my main feeling at the time of the pick was numbness. Over time I came to warm up to the pick.

The first year that Porzingis had a PER over 15 will be …

Kurylo: 2018. He’s only 19 and has as much body fat as a three bean salad. Dirk did it in 2 years, but I think he wasn’t as raw.

Porzingis throwing his weight around.
Porzingis throwing his weight around.

Armosino: 2017. PER likes guys that shoot a lot and shoot threes. Unless he’s an immediate bust, I imagine he’ll be playing good minutes in his third season.

Cronin: I wouldn’t be shocked at 2016, but I think 2017 for sure. PER loves scorers and the Zinger is going to score.

Fisher-Cohen: This question is tied into what the Knicks do. If Jackson goes out and signs a bunch of old men to fill the team, and Porzingis only plays like 10 MPG, then he’s probably not going to improve as quickly. But I’ll be optimistic and say 2016/17. If he gets the minutes to get a feel for how to play in the NBA and puts on weight, he should be able to score and put up some defensive stats.

Udwary: It really depends on the team around him. I feel like, as long as Melo is on the team and healthy, Porzingis probably won’t see a many shots, especially if the David West and Greg Monroe rumors are true. So, I would go for 2018 when Melo breaks down and David West turns to dust.

Porzingis’ career will be most similar to …

Kurylo: I’ve crunched the numbers a few times, and I’m having a hard time finding anyone similar to him. Good outside shooting, decent shot blocking, questionable rebounding? Really the two that stick out are Dirk and Wang Zhizhi. Yes that’s a wide range, but hours after a high-risk high-reward selection, that’s all I can muster.

Somewhere between these guys.
Somewhere between these guys.

Armosino: Dirk, obviously. Hall of Fame.

Cronin: Ryan Anderson. Good, tall shooter. Anderson is a fine player, though. It’s no insult.

Udwary: This is tough. The guy is a legit 7’2” with some long arms. If he can put some weight on, and improve his rebounding, he really has the potential to be Pau Gasol with a 3-point shot. I do hope that happens, and he isn’t just another Bargnani – a 7-footer who doesn’t do anything 7-footers should do.

Fisher-Cohen: I’m gonna say Clifford Robinson. I have no idea.

On a scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high), today I rank this pick …

Kurylo: 4. I’m surprisingly optimistic on this pick. I wasn’t expecting much from the team, but Phil has actually given some hope to the franchise.

Armosino: 3. Porzingis had the highest upside of anybody left on the board. Gambling with a top-5 pick when the Knicks are this asset barren is definitely a risk, but I also liked that Phil is fine playing the long game. Short term thinking is what has killed the Knicks in the past.

Cronin: 4. What were they supposed to do? The three best players were gone. I’d have given them a 4 if they had taken Mudiay, WCS or Winslow, as well. Perhaps this could even bump up to 5 depending on how much credit I want to give them for just taking the risk.

Udwary: 4. It was probably the best they could do with the pick they had. At least they didn’t take Lyles or Kaminski. Also the pick precipitated a Stephen A. Smith Twitter hissy fit. Stephen A. hating it gives the pick much more credence, in my eyes.

On a scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high), 5 years from now I’ll rank this pick …
Kurylo: 2. Unless ‘Zingis learns to rebound or shows he can defend on the NBA level, he’ll be a questionable #4 pick. The odds aren’t great, so I’m going low here & hoping I’m wrong.

Armosino: 5. He’s going to be amazing.

Cronin: 4. I don’t think I’ll judge this pick more harshly or more kindly in five years. I will give them credit for where they were picking, and that’s the same now as it will be in five years.

Udwary: 3. Most likely he will be a serviceable stretch 4 who is a pretty good help defender, but poor rebounder. A solid starter, but not an all-star. The potential is there to be something special, though.

Fisher-Cohen: 4.5. Zinger could be anything from a bust to a superstar. But the fact that the Knicks were willing to take a gamble for once and play for the long term? Priceless.

Knicks Draft 2015 Round Table: Part 8

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!

Who do you want New York to end up with in the draft?

Kurylo: I’ve been all over the place with my answers. However with the decision on the line, I know what direction I would take. I think one of the most underrated attributes in the NBA is defense, which makes it attractive to buy. Additionally Carmelo Anthony is a scorer with average defensive skills, so it makes sense to complement him with defenders. I’d trade down with Denver, and take either WCS or Myles Turner.

Silverman: Towns. (Note: they will not get Towns.)

Gibberman: As I just said one of Okafor, Russell, Mudiay, Winslow, WCS or Hezonja and I leave the draft a happy person. The Knicks have to epically screw this up for me to get pissed off.

Fisher-Cohen: Of the players who are somewhat likely to be available (i.e. not Towns or Okafor), I’ll go with Porzingis as it would indicate a true focus on the future and a willingness to make the sort of a gambles the Knicks will have to make to have at least some chance of becoming more than just a second round playoff team in the best case.

Topaz: With Towns out of reach, I’ll say Russell or Winslow. But I agree with Brian here — the only real mistake the Knicks can make here is dealing this pick for a veteran. Knicks fans were likely disappointed with the 4th pick, but this is a draft loaded with very talented players, and the team will be very fortunate to end up with one of Russell, Winslow, Mudiay, WCS, or even take the opportunity to roll the dice on Porzingis. The key, as ever, is this: does the front office still subscribe to the fallacy that this team is one player, or one offseason, away from building a contender? If yes, we’re in trouble. If not — and they view the Draft and this offseason as the start of a long process that will require patience — the Knicks will have a number of excellent options to choose from to begin it.

Cronin: Towns is just too unrealistic to even hope for him, right? So either Okafor or Russell. At this point, I’d be ecstatic with either one of them. Okafor slightly more so than Russell.

Knicks Draft 2015 Round Table: Part 7

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!

Who will the Knicks actually end up with?

Kurylo: Trey Lyles. The Knicks are the only team dumb enough to send out a pre-draft media smoke screen, and then actually go through with it. And if you think about it, the thing the Knicks need least is another tweener forward with average athleticism. So it’s a lock.

Silverman: Until we see a college-aged dude in Vegas playing with Thanasis, Cleanthony, and Gallo 2.0, I’m going to stick to my grim prediction that they’ll deal it for a vet and a pick in 2016. In all honesty, any organization so mind-numbingly repugnant as to re-hire Isiah Thomas don’t deserve nice things.

Gibberman: Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell.

Fisher-Cohen: Agree with Brian — if the Knicks don’t trade the pick or trade down, I think it’ll be Russell as Mudiay and Porzingis will take too long to develop for Phil (and I think Philly takes Porzingis).

Topaz: Seems like the Zen Master — who went on one of his more comprehensible Twitter rants recently about the importance of penetration to NBA offenses — would be a Mudiay fan. Even though he’s a not a great fit for Phil’s beloved Triangle, he seems like the likely choice (with Russell off the board) for someone who clearly doesn’t value outside shooting as much as the rest of the league.

Cronin: I think the big three will be gone and New York will like Mudiay enough to keep him (or rather, no one else will like Mudiay enough to offer anything substantial for him). So I predict Mudiay. I hope I am wrong.

Knicks Draft 2015 Round Table: Part 6

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!

As the Knicks GM, would you trade down to the 7th pick in this draft?

Kurylo: If Okafor is still around at 4, I wouldn’t. If he’s not, and I can grab Turner with #7 I’m down. Yes if whoever was taken fourth becomes a star, I’d be hard pressed to live it down. However I’m really high on Turner and this team needs more picks.

Silverman: No. You’re not going to get anything of value by dropping three slots or so (think Mayo for Love back in 2008). Just take the guy that tickles Phil’s (not) Zen fancy and go sign a bucketful of smart, two-way players in free agency. It’s not that complicated, really.

Gibberman: Yes, yes and yes again. I’ve been screaming for this since almost immediately after the lottery. As long as the Knicks come away with one of Okafor, Russell, Mudiay, Winslow, WCS or Hezonja I’ll be happy. If they can do that plus acquire Ty Lawson or Danillo Gallinari I’d be ecstatic. If they can do that plus get the right’s to the future Blazers or Grizzlies’ pick Denver owns that’s a step down from ecstatic. 7th would be my cut off of where I’m willing to trade down too.

Fisher-Cohen: Obviously depends on the offer, but no way am I doing it just to get out of Calderon’s deal nor to pick up any non superstar player older than 26 or so. The Knicks are years away. Calderon’s deal will expire and Lawson will be in decline before the Knicks make the conference finals. But purely from a talent standpoint, there seems to be a lot of good gambles in the mid-late lottery, making it more sensible this year than most to trade down.

Topaz: It’s certainly tempting. This team isn’t one piece away — they have virtually no players of value under contract, and will need young, cheap rotation players. The return would have to be a future first and/or a talented young player in addition to the 7th pick, but I don’t really think that trade will be out there.

Cronin: It would depend on who is there at #4, #7 and what Denver is offering with the #7 for #4. I’m not doing it for, like Wilson Chandler and the #4. And Denver likely isn’t doing it for next year’s #1 pick, so I don’t really know what they have to offer. If Cauley-Stein is still there at #7 and the Big Three are all off the board and Denver is giving something fancy along with the #7, I’d do it. That’s a whole lot of ifs, though.

Knicks Draft 2015 Round Table: Part 5

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!

Of Kristaps Porzingis, Justise Winslow, Mario Hezonja, Trey Lyles, Willie Cauley-Stein, Frank Kaminksy, and Stanley Johnson, which is going to have the best NBA career?

Kurylo: I‘m going off the list. Myles Turner’s stats have me drooling: 11.8reb/40 and 4.7 blk/40. Both of those numbers are right in-line with Karl Towns (12.7/4.2). He also hits 83.9% of his free throws as well, and he’s no stranger from the 3 point line (3.3 3PA/40), but only at 27.4%. So at worst offensively he should be OK with the pick & pop, and he’s got a shot at being able to stretch the floor offensively. Defensively I think he’ll be good given his numbers and size (7-0).

Silverman: Justise. At worst, he’ll be defensive stopper about on par with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. I think there’s so, so much more there, in particular a Jimmy Butler-esque ability to draw fouls. I do agree with my colleague Mr. Gibberman, namely that Willie Trill’s number two with a bullet. A legit center that can out to the perimeter to smother wings is such a vital skill given the direction that the NBA is #goink as a whole.

Gibberman: Justise Winslow with Willie Cauley-Stein a close second. Winslow will have the ability to defend one through four despite not measuring as tall as you would have liked. His wingspan more than made up for it. I’d bet on his shot creation skills improving with time and that’s what puts him ahead of WCS for me. WCS is a potential defensive player of the year and can create shots in a different way on offense (diving in the PnR), but his offensive impact won’t be that of Winslow.

Fisher-Cohen: If these were my options at #4, I’d probably go with one of the two Euros with Hezonja coming out ahead due to his NBA body. Hezonja has the size, agility and length to fit the new “positionless NBA” that Spoelstra talked about and that Golden State has fulfilled. He can already shoot and seems to be extremely athletic. All he has to do is improve his ball handling and learn how to draw contact, which is something numerous wings with similar athleticism and length have learned to do (Paul George, Gallinari, Klay Thompson, Hayward).

Topaz: Winslow, please and thank you. Porzingis is very appealing — partly because of his athleticism and shooting ability, partly because of the undeserved verbal thrashing he’d receive from well-lubricated Knicks fans at Barclay’s. But I have to agree with Robert, here. Winslow seems special. I don’t see many weaknesses, other than a little lack of polish on the offensive end. He’s strong, athletic, extremely tough, and an excellent defender at multiple positions whose game improved considerably on both ends as the college season went on.

Cronin: I think the most likely scenario is that WInslow has the best NBA career. But Cauley-Stein and Zinger could easily outperform him. Their likelihood of doing so, though, is not as great. I disagree, though, with the assertion that Winslow will be at worst as good as Kidd-Gilchrist on defense. He might be that good, but that’s an awfully high bar to expect a guy to hit as an “at worst.”