Knicks Morning News (2017.05.20)

  • [SNY Knicks] Knicks interested in hiring Prigioni as assistant coach
    (Friday, May 19, 2017 11:20:49 AM)

    The 40-year-old Prigioni played with the Knicks from 2012 to 2015 before finishing his career with the Rockets and Clippers.

  • [ESPN] Sources: NC State PG Dennis Smith Jr. on Knicks’ draft radar
    (Friday, May 19, 2017 8:45:06 PM)

    Sources: NC State PG Dennis Smith Jr. on Knicks’ draft radar

  • [NYTimes] Kevin Durant Is Certain Kawhi Leonard Will Play — ‘100 Percent’
    (Friday, May 19, 2017 11:27:41 PM)

    The San Antonio Spurs are listing Leonard, their injured star, as “questionable” for Game 3 on Saturday night.

  • [NYTimes] Cavaliers 130, Celtics 86 | Cleveland leads series, 2-0: Cavaliers Build 41-Point Halftime Lead and Crush the Celtics
    (Saturday, May 20, 2017 4:13:59 AM)

    Isaiah Thomas was lost to a strained right hip for the second half, but the game had already been decided. Cleveland’s halftime lead set an N.B.A. playoff record.

  • [NYTimes] N.B.A. Announces M.V.P. Finalists, and LeBron James Is Not Included
    (Saturday, May 20, 2017 1:27:24 AM)

    Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Kawhi Leonard are on the short list for the award.

  • [NYTimes] From Spurs to Warriors, David West Targets First Title With Precision
    (Friday, May 19, 2017 11:38:43 PM)

    West, a 14-year veteran, played for San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich last year. Now he’s in Golden State’s star-studded lineup, providing assists off the bench.

  • [NYTimes] Keeping Score: The Irresistible Cavaliers. The Immovable Warriors.
    (Friday, May 19, 2017 6:40:10 PM)

    With their regular-season blips behind them, both teams are tearing through the playoffs and seem headed toward a Finals rematch.

  • [NYPost] Could Pablo Prigioni return to the Knicks as a coach?
    (Friday, May 19, 2017 9:19:42 AM)

    Former Knicks point guard Pablo Prigioni could be headed back to the Garden in an assistant coaching role. The Knicks are one of a few teams interested in the Argentine point guard after he worked as a coach supervising scrimmages at the NBA Draft Combine last week, according to Gigantes del Basket, a Spanish basketball site. However, Prigioni,…

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    55 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2017.05.20)”

    1. Would the Malik Monk haters out there be happier if we traded down and drafted Donovan Mitchell? His DX profile is pretty impressive, looks like a 2-way player, shortish but massive wingspan, good character guy, etc. Has moved up dramatically due to great combine.

    2. I answered my question, he looks like a pretty big dropoff from the top-10 guys, maybe a Langston Galloway type.

    3. Donovan Mitchell is better than Malik Monk. His numbers vs ACC teams this year along with his film are all I need to prefer him over Monk. Mitchell looked like D Wade out there.

    4. I think the Celts should think really hard about whether they should draft Fultz. Something bothered me about watching the UCLA-Washington game. I know it was a mismatch, but Fultz looked very passive and nearly all of his points were scored on long jumpers.

    5. I’m torn on Dennis Smith.

      You watch him play and you think pre-injury Derrick Rose.
      Except that Smith seems to pass it more than Rose (7.1 assists/40 vs. 6.2 for freshman Rose). And he is already a far better shooter than Rose ever was. Defensively it’s tough to know, but he was a better rebounder than Rose as a freshman (despite being a bit smaller), and his steal rate is gigantically better than Rose’s ever was.

      Even if Smith isn’t a great defender, imagine getting Derrick Rose that shoots 3’s well and passes more. That seems like a good player, no?

      The mental side of things worries me a little – I’ve read various reports that he just wasn’t pleasant to be around, and IMHO I think you DO have to take team success into account when you’re talking about the point guard position. For example, Chris Paul played 2 seasons at Wake Forest and literally the best player on the team other than him was Eric Williams, who had a cup of coffee for the Nets as an UDFA before leaving for Europe — yet those 2 seasons Wake went 21-10 and 27-6. And with Smith, once they started losing at the end of the year, statistically it looks like he pretty much mailed it in.

    6. I should clarify that they should seriously consider either drafting Ball or trading down. They maybe should try to trade #1 (maybe + a 2nd rounder?) to Sac for #5 and 10, then take Isaac and Markkanen, or maybe . They need bigs and shooters more than a scoring guard.

    7. Interesting idea I heard on an SI podcast — if the Lakers decide on DeAaron Fox instead of Ball, then Sac trades 5+10 to Philly for #3 and takes Ball. He would be a good fit for that team, and would bring a lot of excitement to a city that really needs it. Certainly that’s a trade that Hinkie would have done if he were still in charge.

      Then Josh Jackson would go to PHX most likely — huge win for them.

      Then Philly takes Monk at 5, closer to reasonable value for him.
      Orlando takes Tatum
      Minnesota then chooses Ntilikina, Smith, or Isaac. I think they’ll take Isaac.
      We choose between the two that Minnesota doesn’t take.
      Dallas takes whichever PG we don’t take

      That leaves Philly at 10 with possibilities like Collins, Anunoby, Justin Jackson, Donovan Mitchell.

      Maybe they trade down again, maybe they don’t, but then Justin Jackson could be their pick at 10.

      Adding Monk + Jackson would GREATLY improve their shooting. That’d be an interesting team to watch.

      For us – it really feels like it’ll come down to choosing between Smith, Isaac, and Ntilikina. Given Minnesota’s interest in Derrick Rose last year, Smith isn’t out of the question for them.

    8. @Frank

      I share your thoughts on Smith. At 8 those are the type of issues which make him a possibility there, it’s about how convinced you are that he can improve as a teammate, his effort and commitment to defense and in his decision making. The upside for him is certainly tantalizing though.

    9. yeah, the reason I think we are not going to be taking Smith is that literally Phil seemed to be talking about HIM when he said

      I think we know what we want, and we are interested in developing and turning away from just, say: This guy can jump out of the gym, this guy can do a triple-double game or dunk the ball. That is not what we are interested in. We are interested in skill players that know how to play together in team form.

      For the life of me I’m not sure why you wouldn’t want a guy who can do a “triple-double game” since that sort of implies the guy does things other than just score/jump/dunk, but whatever.

    10. I think Smith Jr. is much more comparable to Kyle Lowry. He’s a much better shooter than Rose and therefore less reliant on recklessly driving to the hole. He has clearly made a full recovery from an ACL, just like Lowry. And Lowry was not known for being a great guy, which is part of the reason why Phx let him get away.

    11. It’s instructive to remember it took Lowry a long time to get his act together and cease to be a headache that teams were eager to be rid of.

      Smith has the higher ceiling between him and Ntilkina or Monk, but Ntilikina is the one of those 3 that brings us defensive versatility and ability to pressure on ball that we’ve lacked on the perimeter since forever.

    12. For the life of me I’m not sure why you wouldn’t want a guy who can do a “triple-double game” since that sort of implies the guy does things other than just score/jump/dunk, but whatever.

      Such a weird comment. At first it seems like he’s saying he values production over vague claims of athleticism, which would be good. Then he says he doesn’t want productive guys either. I guess if we want someone who is neither athletic nor productive Ntilikina really is destiny!

      …I kid, kind of.

    13. You haven’t even seen Dennis Smith Jr play defense yet. When he is engaged he locks up full court. The kid is a taller IT4. If he falls to us it should be a no brainer, and I think one or both of Zach Collins and Malik Monk should rise in workouts. If Monk goes 3rd to Philly then Smith falls to 8. If Fox goes to Philly at 3 then Smith goes to Sacramento at 5. I could even see Dennis Smith Jr going to Philly at 3 because he shoots well, has an injury (and you know Philly loves it’s injury prone players) and can handle the ball.

      Yeah, the more I think about it is the more I realize Dennis Smith Jr is a top 5 pick. That sucks because he and KP would have been dynamite.

    14. Honestly, I’m not interested in a 3&D combo guard. Those can be found via other methods. Is Frank going to be better than Jerian Grant? He’s a total crap shoot. I’d rather roll the dice on a guy that has unlimited offensive potential.

      Barring injury, I personally have no doubt that Smith is going to be a big-time scoring PG. He shoots 36% from the college 3 and a ton of his shots are on iso-pull-ups, taking 5.5 3pa per 40. He’s not shooting only spot-ups like Fox. He is a very polished offensive player who goes left and right equally well, and can score at the rim, in the paint, in mid-range and from deep, in iso or spotting up. He gets into the paint with ease and has decent court vision.

      He will probably not be a great, and possibly not even good defensive player, but he is more NBA ready on offense than anyone below the top two players. I think any team passing over him past #2 is going to regret it

    15. For the life of me I’m not sure why you wouldn’t want a guy who can do a “triple-double game” since that sort of implies the guy does things other than just score/jump/dunk, but whatever.

      What he was saying is that he’d rather have Chris Paul than Russell Westbrook. But that doesn’t mean he’d turn down Russell Westbrook at the #8. :-)

    16. Honestly, I’m not interested in a 3&D combo guard. Those can be found via other methods. Is Frank going to be better than Jerian Grant? He’s a total crap shoot. I’d rather roll the dice on a guy that has unlimited offensive potential.

      Dennis Smith is a crap shoot too. He’s not some lock to be a beast offensive player and there are enough concerns over his personality that it’s not just something to dismiss. I would take him over Frank, but the praise for Smith is way over the top and it’s not just that he wasn’t good on defense this year, it’s that he didn’t care at all similar to Rose and we all saw how detrimental that was to the team over the course of a season.

      If we’re just drafting on upside and potential Smith is the pick, but he has major red flags that could prevent him from getting there and that’s why he’s widely considered the 4th best PG prospect in this draft.

    17. Honestly, I’m not interested in a 3&D combo guard. Those can be found via other methods. Is Frank going to be better than Jerian Grant? He’s a total crap shoot. I’d rather roll the dice on a guy that has unlimited offensive potential.

      Honestly if Gaines and the rest of the Euro staff love Frank, then I’m in on him. I assume they’ll look at his body type, work ethic, etc. to decide whether he has a lot more physical potential left to fulfill. It of course comes down to what you think of Smith’s ability to play team basketball. I don’t think anyone would dispute that Smith has more offensive potential than Ntilikina, but at this point would you rather have Steve Francis or Stephon Marbury (both of whom were statistically great offensively but basically just scored a bunch of points and piled up other meaningless stats for bad teams, and were nutcases to boot) or would you rather have a guy like George Hill? If you ask me, I’d take Hill.

      We go back and forth about Smith or Ntilikina, but I sort of feel like there’s a 90% chance we take Ntilikina if it comes down to that choice just based on the comments coming out of the FO and Hornacek.

      Meanwhile, it seems likely that Ntilikina will be FAR more raw than Smith in year 1, so perhaps it would help our 2017-18 tank as well.

    18. If we draft Smith and Melo refuses to leave but has a good attitude, a team of KP, Melo, Willy, Smith and Lee, with a bench of Lance, Noah, O’Quinn, Randle, Baker, Kuz, Ndour and (draft pix, Holiday, etc.) might be a good base to start with. Maybe trade O’Quinn and 2 2nd rounders to move up into the mid-late first round? Maybe trade Melo at the deadline for a pick and an expiring?

      I think Fox and Frank are 2-3 years away. Not even sure Frank will ever be more than a Justin Holiday-level player. Fox will be good, but might be limited by his poor shooting. Monk is probably a good NBA player, but one-dimensional.

    19. Z-Man @4 Sorry, no way this guy is falling to #8.

      I agree, he’s too good. Which leaves the Knicks with a choice between Frank and improvising a trade down. Why would anyone take Monk in the top 15 is beyond me.

      Z-Man @5 I think the Celts should think really hard about whether they should draft Fultz.

      Yeah, right. They should go for name recognition over substance and draft Kobi Simmons (after Kobe B and B Simmons, duh.)

    20. I think Frank Mason is a sleeper in the 2nd round as a PG. His off the dribble shooting numbers are better than all other top PG prospects, especially from 3. Jawun Evans is another PG I like a lot who is likely to drop into the late first.

      If we were to come away with either of them and Frank in this draft I’d be optimistic, if not close to wholly sold, on our backcourt potential moving forward.

    21. Regardless of whether Melo is out this year, next year, or the year after that, if the Knicks want to become a serious team in a few years they need 2 high level scorers to go with KP. Unless they think FN is going to become a scorer to go along with the D, I don’t like the pick. 3 & D guys are too easy to come by to take with the 8th pick. That doesn’t necessarily mean I see someone I actually like a lot, but I might be tempted to trade down, draft Justin Jackson as the Melo replacement, and take a free roll on another PG later in the draft.

    22. I don’t think Francis and Marbury are good comparisons, but it’s true that the risks with Smith is that he’s a chucker and/or a malcontent, as well as injury prone. I don’t see it, but it’s certainly possible. I haven’t found much to call his character into question. There’s this article from early in the college season trashing his defensive effort, but he clearly improved from then:

      http://www.libertyballers.com/2016/12/2/13817206/nba-draft-2017-philadelphia-76ers-dennis-smith-jr-lonzo-ball-nc-state-ucla-kentucky-frank-ntilikina

      Who knows how much of that was just acclimating to playing after an ACL tear.

    23. Agreed – Frank Ntilikina and Frank Mason would make this Frank very happy. Then with the 58th pick, just draft anyone with any 3/D wing talent and that’d be an A draft IMHO.

      An A+ draft would be trading KOQ for a late first or early 2nd.

    24. I don’t think Ntilikina will ever be a lead guard. He’s more of an off guard considering his struggles penetrating and finishing at the rim.

    25. I don’t think Ntilikina will ever be a lead guard. He’s more of an off guard considering his struggles penetrating and finishing at the rim.

      Agreed- or at least you have to figure it’ll take him a couple of years before he’s ready to play point at all. His Draft Express weaknesses video is pretty scary if you’re thinking about him as a point: http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Frank-Ntilikina-77051/
      Still, right now he’s probably Shump with a legit three point shot and he’s so young he can improve on that. I certainly won’t freak out if the Knicks take him. Of the guys who the Knicks have even a slight shot at my first choice would be Isaac, then Fox, Smith, and Frank in that order. Isaac seems like as good a pairing for KP as you could ask for provided he can put on enough weight to play the 4. Fox and Smith are almost pick ’em but I’d take Fox based on attitude and injuries. I think Frank is a 3 and D wing (at least right now) and you can find those guys but their prices are rising (see Carrol and Bazemore) so locking one up, especially one with potential to eventually play the point would be nice.

    26. Even If Smith doesn’t become the defender he can be I think he will still become a PG like Damian Lillard. Just pair him up with a Wesley Matthews jr(Josh Hart) instead of a McCollum and you will be find. You need a defensive guard next to Smith Jr if he doesn’t progress defensively.

    27. you know, if we were a normal NBA team, I would feel pretty great about drafting Smith – put him in a high PNR with KP and you have the beginnings of a good NBA offense. But we are not a normal NBA team. You have to wonder how an AAU / PNR / rumored malcontent will deal with “I bring the ball up, pass to the high post, and run to the corner” offense.

    28. “Honestly, I’m not interested in a 3&D combo guard. Those can be found via other methods. Is Frank going to be better than Jerian Grant? He’s a total crap shoot. I’d rather roll the dice on a guy that has unlimited offensive potential.”

      Come on now, You’re kidding us, right? He can shoot and I haven’t seen him fall down yet.

    29. As much as I like DSJr’s offensive potential, I got to see him play one game fairly early in the season and he exerted zero effort on defense. I couldn’t believe how little he tried in that one game.

    30. Someone needs to talk to his AAU coach(Penny Hardaway) and see what type of kid Smith Jr. is. Honestly, I think Penny is part of the reason why Orlando is so high on him.

    31. I think that we are focusing a little too much on the available guards in this draft. Just because we need one doesn’t mean every team needs one. If there are less good big men available then that would seem to increase their potential to be taken earlier on than expected. Does Boston really need another guard? They might desire Zach Collins for all we know. Minny needs a big. Probably Orlando too. Even the Lakers could use one.

    32. Getting back to Monk, I agree that he will be limited defensively as a SG because of his size. But if he shows us potential to play the point it could be a game changer. His size would be perfect at PG as would his style of play for our system. The key is whether or not he can guard other lead guards fairly well.

    33. Enes Kanter is being held by police at the Romanian airport after his home country of Turkey revoked his passport. Erdogan is a really bad guy and it seems that Kanter has shown his support for the opposition led by Gulen, who lives in the United States. I wish Kanter well as he could possibly end up in a Turkish prison.

      I'm being held at Romanian airport by Police!! pic.twitter.com/uYZMBqKx54— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) May 20, 2017

    34. We need a tough three who can rebound and play defense. Melo will be gone. OG has been compared to Kawhi defensively and could be our pick. I would then select Frank Mason, who is a really talented lead guard, with our 2nd pick or Frank Jackson, if he’s available. I’m guessing that Melo will end up in LA with the Clips and we’ll have Austin Rivers on the roster at the very least, if not Rubio.

      Rubio or Rivers/Mason/Baker/Randle
      Lee/Holiday/3rd draft pick like Tyler Dorsey
      OG/NDour
      KP/Lance/Kuz
      Willy/O’Quinn/Noah/Plumlee

      In this scenario, we might even trade O’Quinn to Portland for one of their #1’s and select Diallo, Hart, Giles, Thornwell, Kennard, or Swanigan.

    35. Getting back to Monk, I agree that he will be limited defensively as a SG because of his size. But if he shows us potential to play the point it could be a game changer. His size would be perfect at PG as would his style of play for our system. The key is whether or not he can guard other lead guards fairly well.

      This is exactly correct.

      There is a reason Stephon Curry was originally positioned in the teens in his draft. It wasn’t just that he went to a smaller school. It was because he was NOT considered a true PG and people were afraid he would be an undersized SG and a liability defensively. And remember, he was 3 years into his college career at the time. He had 2 extra years to work on his passing and handle.

      Curry rose in the ranks a bit when he started getting hyped in NY and a few ex coaches suggested he actually had better passing skills than he was getting credit for.

      Monk is not that far away from Curry at the same stage and he’s a better athlete. If he has the same work ethic and drive he may turn into one hell of a scoring PG. He’ll never be a Chris Paul/Ricky Rubio “pass first” PG, but I’ll take Curry light.

      Someone that has actually watched ALL of his games and seen him in practice may know if his passing skills at PG are better than we can see playing off another PG.

      He would also wind up being one of the two more real scorers we need long term.

    36. There’s not really a great direct comp for Ntilikina; he seems to be a somewhat unique prospect. Seems like you could use him as a 2-guard who is essentially a second point guard, a la Jason Kidd in his one year with the Knicks. Hornacek had some success with the twin PG attack in Phoenix. Also, we’re probably not going to be playing the triangle much after the 2018-2019 season, but Ntilikina seems like he could certainly fill a Ron Harper-like role as a big, defense-minded triangle PG.

    37. Maybe Monk would be a C J McCollum type…not bad, but a) would probably take a couple of years to develop and b) not a good defensive player.

    38. This is such a deep draft; I hope the Knicks can somehow pick up a mid 1st rounder like Phil did two years ago.

      I’m seeing Smith mocked to the Knicks a lot, FWIW.

    39. Also, we’re probably not going to be playing the triangle much after the 2018-2019 season, but Ntilikina seems like he could certainly fill a Ron Harper-like role as a big, defense-minded triangle PG.

      This seems to be the consensus, but imo it’s far from a certainty.

      Let’s assume the young players make some progress next year and the year after that, we add a couple of quality players, and in the 18/19 year we look like an up and coming young team still coached by Hornacek. Phil decides to retire at that point.

      Is the coach going to blow up everything we’ve been doing for 2 years if it’s working?

    40. Is the coach going to blow up everything we’ve been doing for 2 years if it’s working?

      Yes, because Knicks; and anyway it’s what new GMs do.

    41. We don’t know that. I was just responding to the question, would new management really blow up the team. If we are on a good path when Phil’s contract expires, I would be ok with him staying exactly because I wouldn’t want new management to come in and do their own thing.

      As I said last night, Phil actually seems to be building through the draft. Its not “Knicksy” at all, and that’s good.

    42. The thing about Malik Monk is he can’t boogie on defenders he way Curry and McCollum can; those two are in the top 10 ball handlers in the league right now. He is truly an off guard. To put him in the same conversation as them; two primary scorers and ball handlers in college, is a mistake.

    43. Monk averaged nearly 9 assists a game in high school. I don’t think he’s the ball handler Fox is, but I also think he really did shelve a lot of his pg skills at Kentucky to be their screen guard/shooter.
      This is an interesting description of his high school pg skills from DX:
      “While Monk can really pass, he’s also a bit of an assist hunter, only giving it up when he knows he’s in line for an assist, rather than constantly moving the ball ahead in transition or making the fundamental swing pass to shift the defense. If Monk is able to keep up his distributing and shot making, while playing unselfishly and staying away from the hero ball plays, he’ll be a much more valuable long-term NBA prospect.”

    44. Isaiah Thomas is out for the remainder of the season. RIP Celtics.

    45. Phil met with KP’s brother/agent but nothing was resolved. I love KP but this is way out of bounds for a 2nd year player who is not all world yet.
      I don’t want to see him traded but if he refuses to see himself as a player and not the LBJ of the team we should consider offers. Any 2 of Boston’s NY Nets picks or Jae Crowder? Sacramento’s 2 picks? Portland’s 3 first round picks? What would be enough to make Phil say goodbye to our unfriendly unicorn?

    46. You can’t expect anyone to have faith in a GM who has been the worst in franchise history in terms of WL record. I think they get over this so long as the Knicks are either young or good next year, and I think it’s possible both happen.

    47. And for all we know they could have been talking about Kurt Rambis.

    48. The thing about Malik Monk is he can’t boogie on defenders he way Curry and McCollum can; those two are in the top 10 ball handlers in the league right now. He is truly an off guard. To put him in the same conversation as them; two primary scorers and ball handlers in college, is a mistake.

      Curry was not near the player he became (handle or otherwise) when he was in college and he was 2 years older than Monk. Obviously I’m not saying Monk can become Curry, but he doesn’t have to become Curry to become outstanding scoring PG and our needed 2nd scorer.

      Monk is playing off the ball partly because they have Fox. That’s why I think it’s critical for the Knicks to find out what kind of skills he actually has. Just because we haven’t seen him handle and pass a lot doesn’t mean he’s incapable of getting there in a couple of years.

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