Marcin Gortat Is Not Jerome James

Marc Berman of the Post says New York has an interest in signing Marcin Gortat with their Mid Level Exception. I would expect some Knick fans to have flashbacks to the summer of 2005, when the team signed Jerome James. But I think Gortat is miles away from James.

Gortat 2009  69  8.8 2.1 .583 4.5 8.5 13.1 0.7 0.8 2.3 1.2 5.0 11.2 57.3 56.3
 James 2005 268 10.0 2.9 .617 2.9 5.3  8.3 0.9 0.7 3.0 2.9 7.2 11.6 51.7 49.3  	

On the surface they are both defensive minded 7 footers coming off extended playoff runs. Neither player was a main cog in their team’s success (James averaged 16.6 mpg, Gortat 12.6), and neither could hit their free throws. But Gortat distinguishes himself from James in a few key areas. Marcin snared 13.1 boards per 36 minutes to Jerome’s 8.3, a remarkable difference. And although he scores at about the same rate, he’s superior in regards to efficiency (TS%: 57.3 to 51.7%) and turns the ball over less than half the time (TO/36: 1.2 to 2.9). Gortat would also be 5 years younger than James was, and at 25 years of age is just entering his prime. And if you’re worried about his propensity to eat snacks, Gortat’s father was an Olympic boxer (two time bronze medalist) so he probably knows a thing about nutrition.

Even if you attribute Gortat’s numbers to low minute count (he has yet to play 1000 minutes in the league) and Orlando’s success (playing with Lewis, Turkoglu, etc open the floor) and adjust them downward, he still projects to an above average starting center. Trying to find similar players yields few results. One attempt picked up Tree Rollins, Tyson Chandler, and Andrew Bynum. Not bad company at all. Marcin could be a steal for the Knicks, but they have to be mindful of their cap. Unless they move Lee, Curry, Robinson, or Jeffries, the team can’t afford to sign the young center without ruining their free agent chances in 2010.

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Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

47 thoughts to “Marcin Gortat Is Not Jerome James”

  1. That sounds like a fantastic idea. Probably one of the best ideas I have heard from the Knicks in a while. Would love to see Gortat here. I think there will be a lot of teams that feel the same way about him though.

  2. Not only was James bad in the first place, he was 30 years old. That was by far Isiah’s most mystifying move – there was no way to justify it from the minute he pulled the trigger.

    One thing that makes this sound viable is that Gortat was drafted by Phoenix in 2005; D’Antoni knows him. Gortat looked terrific this year, and will probably be good value at the mid-level, no matter what. But it’s a pretty big decision, based on limited minutes. And it has big 2010 implications, especially since the cap is likely to come down (Stern said so again, this weekend). As of now, even without Gortat the Knicks need to move Lee, Nate, Curry or Jeffries, to max out a FA that summer. If everyone sticks, there’s probably $12-14 million of room — $6-8 million WITH Gortat on board. An extra $15 million in 2011 (I’d free up $$ by trading Chandler before then, but that’s just me).

    Now, I wonder if the Magic would do a deal of Gortat & Lee for Nate Robinson… and would we? I like Courtney Lee, blown layup notwithstanding. Magic already have Pietrus and Redick (and Nate), so they can spare him. If they’re gonna lose Gortat anyway, it’s basically a Lee for Nate deal. Pretty even.

    Gortat news, if real, is also intriguing in light of the Boston Globe piece, which quoted an NBA exec saying the Knicks are shopping Lee. Of course, that could be a) totally false, except for listening to offers as per usual; b) true in a limited way, i.e. Walsh offered Lee for Joakim Noah, something like that; d) totally true — he’ll work with the highest bidder.

    A few obvious, potential trade partners:
    1. Sacramento — in the past has pushed hard for Lee. If Rubio slips, I see a possible match. (add Kenny Thomas for salary)

    2. Washington – they’re getting Arenas back, Jamison is getting older, they’re hopelessly capped out – the future is now. They’re trading the #5 for the best veteran they can get. (and they need a big guy. Throw in Thomas or Haywood for salary).

    3. Chicago – seriously, they need a PF. And they have Brad Miller. A Noah deal might make sense. Or Thomas plus the 16, but that doesn’t save the Knicks much money, if any. Or Noah & Hinrich for Lee & Jeffries.

    If we’re talking Nate Robinson deals, one that makes sense is Philly, for Willie Green and a pick or player. I’d only do it if it were Mareesse Speights or Young, which probably ain’t gonna happen, or multiple picks (which might). The #17 isn’t good enough.

  3. Hopefully Gortat is interested in NY and D’Antoni. Everything I’ve read the past few months indicate that he is going to be highly sought after during the off-season. I checked out his draft profile on DraftExpress – not a glowing review: However, this guy told and interesting story about Gortat and referred to him as the Polish Dr. J. All things considered, if the Knicks could get him for the mid-level, I’d be happy. Considering that other teams will likely be chasing him, however, probably wouldn’t be able to get him to agree to a 1 year deal.

    With regard to trading Lee, I hate the idea. However, if Walsh is determined to trade him, what about Portland as a possible trade partner? They are loaded with young talent. Bayless, Sergio, Fernandez. They also have 5 draft picks this year (1 first, 4 second). Trading a re-signed Lee for a pick, Bayless/Sergio and Frye wouldn’t be so bad. Although Frye isn’t starter material, he could come off the bench to spell Gortat assuming that deal goes through. Another option, one I hope Walsh explores, is packaging Lee to get rid of Jeffries, at minimum.

  4. Love the comparison-maker…

    If you drop the cutoff to 6’10 (borderline for a center), and make the age limit 25, you get a list of Bynum, Rollins, Chandler, Kevin Love, Andris Biedrins and Bill Laimbeer.

    If you lower the scoring requirement, Scott Williams sneaks in.

    You have to raise the age to 26 and accept non-scorers, if you want to see bigger question marks like Chris Dudley and Charles Shackleford.

  5. Chris Alvino from The Knicks Blog:

    I would love to see Walsh go after RFA Ryan Hollins, who I think can be a good shot-blocker and come at 1/2 the price of Gortat. But if Gortat is the guy, I cannot complain too much. He has the ability to block shots. But can he play 30-35 minutes a night? If Donnie thinks so, then I am on board. Bring him here. If not, then spend the money in better places.

    You can see the players side by side here:

    They’re very similar with one major exception: Gortat rebounds at nearly twice the rate (13.1 to 7.3 reb/36 – Hollins is just pitiful on the defensive end). Hollins draws more fouls which brings his TS% to the same as Gortat. He also fouls more often as well. Gortat’s bulk may give him this edge – perhaps he doesn’t get pushed around in the paint as much. Hollins might be passable next to Lee, but put a lesser rebounder next to him, and you’re just asking for the other to own the glass.

    Then again it could come down to price. Gortat at $5/$6M might be too much for New York, depending on who they plan to keep. But if they can’t afford that Hollins wouldn’t be bad for $1M/$2M. But you wouldn’t want to give him 30 minutes a night.

  6. Would Gortat take a one year deal at the MLE instead of a longer-term deal? If he proves he’s a starting NBA center in that one season, then he’s worth significantly more than the MLE next offseason. One year with a player option for year two would probably be ideal for him, to guard against injury/poor performance/etc. I know 6 years $35 mill or whatever would probably be hard for him to turn down, but if he puts up 15 ppg, 10 rpg, and 2 bpg and the economy is looking good he might get some team that misses out on the other 2010 free agents to throw 10 mill per at him.
    From the Knicks prospective a one year deal gives them more flexibility next offseason. On the other hand, if Gortat proves to be an NBA starter next season then he’s another player the Knicks have to sign, and it will probably be above the MLE. One negative is that Gortat might eat Curry’s minutes, taking away the chance to establish his trade value.

    All else equal I would definitely say he’s worth a shot with the MLE, especially for the Knicks. He runs the floor pretty well and finishes around the basket, I think he’d be a good enough fit in D’Antoni’s offense. I don’t even have to say that finally getting an interior defensive presence would be incredible. Defense, rebounding, high-efficiency scoring… can’t ask for too much more for the MLE.

    Great to hear that the Knicks are looking to buy picks and sign a good player with the MLE (for the 2nd year in a row, no less). Feels like I’m rooting for an NBA team again!

  7. Hollins wouldn’t be terrible, but I would definitely say he’s a plan B to Gortat on the court. Along with the rebounding and size issues, he’s also far more TO prone. He’s a worse jump shooter than Gortat, has no post game to speak of, and gets 59% of his close shots blocked (compared to 12% for Gortat). Basically, Hollins offensive repertoire is limited to dunking, and he doesn’t seem to do much else to justify his presence on the court except hustle and block the occasional shot. Of course, a 7 footer who hustles and blocks shots is something the Knicks could really use, so if Gortat and Birdman don’t work out (or are too expensive for the Knicks long-term plan) maybe Hollins is plan C.


    It’s an interesting deal, but I don’t think the Magic would give up Lee for Nate. I think most NBA decision makers would see Lee as an up and coming starting SG, while Nate is a 6th man: even if Nate’s the better player I’m not sure his perceived value is higher. Also, Nate and Nelson would be a really undersized backcourt and the Magic are already looking at a small logjam at PG with Nelson and Alston. I do think Nate would make some sense for the Magic and Otis Smith is a good GM, so who knows.
    Would make sense for all involved, really. Knicks fill needs at the 2 and 5, Magic get dynamic scorer in backcourt, Nate goes to a contender, and Lee and Gortat have opportunity for more minutes/bigger roles.

    Will be very interesting to see what happens with Lee as well as Robinson. I think Donnie has to at least see what’s out there for Lee, and a top 5 pick would be a pretty attractive offer for a rebuilding team. Not to mention that if Donnie really is eying Thabeet than 8 and 5 or 8 and Lee might get it done.
    A big wildcard could be if a European team makes an offer to Nate… Undersized SGs tend to do well over there and rumors have already started about Greek powerhouses interested in Ben Gordon and Ron Artest.

  8. Anyone know much about Jack McClinton? Apparently an Eddie House to Mo Williams type talent DraftExpress reports the Knicks are interested enough in to buy a 1st rounder…

    Also draft related, if the Knicks use David Lee to get a higher pick and take a guard (Rubio, Harden, Curry), does Jordan Hill make sense at #8 if he falls?

  9. I don’t think the Knicks can trade Lee or Robinson for a pick this year. Both are RFA – and no one can negotiate with them until July 8th.

    Are there examples of deals like this that go through – you draft my guy & we’ll do a sign & trade in 2 weeks? Seems to be a lot of moving parts for a handshake…

  10. Mike, you are right that they can’t complete that trade before the draft, but teams make all sorts of handshake deals. I’ll try and dig up a good example. Obviously everyone has to be on board, and you don’t do this sort of thing with Carlos Boozer!

    I do think Jordan Hill would be a good option at 8 if Lee goes in a trade. He’s probably going to be a better defender, and a good rebounder. Offense could be ugly, though.

    Dave Crockett is the expert on all things Arizona…

  11. And, you’re right there are many reasons the Magic might not want to trade Lee for Nate. Backcourt size would be a big issue. (also: is it better to have two similar players, so you don’t change your style when you sub? Or is it better to have different PGs?)

    But look at it this way. On that last-minute lob play… or those last few minutes when the Magic were struggling for offense… or any of those 30+ JJ Redick minutes… do you think the Magic would have subbed Nate for Lee, if it was allowed?

  12. Going back to my earlier post that Portland may be a good trading partner, Alan Hahn updated his blog to report this rumor:

    “I’m always wary of some of these reports from some European media outlets….What we have is this story from Eurosport Yahoo! that says, loosely translated, the Knicks already have a deal in place to acquire guard Sergio Rodriguez from the Trail Blazers on draft night.

    The story doesn’t explain any detail of the deal and is mainly about how Rodriguez, who we know is unhappy with his role in Portland, would love to play in New York. What we don’t know is how he gets here with a contract that has one year left at $1.8M (perfect for the Knicks short-term, cost-effective goals) before he becomes a restricted free agent.

    Updated 4:06 p.m. – After a few calls this afternoon we can say this report is inaccurate. There has been interest in Rodriguez throughout the season, but as far as there being a deal in place? No.

    Is Rodriguez available? Yes. Are the Knicks interested? Depends.”

    If the Knicks are doing a sign-and-trade with Lee to Portland, I hope they were able to get rid of Jeffries, Curry, or Q. I’d hate to see Lee go, but if we could get some real depth at the guard position and clear some cap space, while maybe picking up a second rounder or two, it may be worth it.

  13. Going back to my earlier post that Portland may be a good trading partner, Alan Hahn updated his blog to report this rumor:

    “I’m always wary of some of these reports from some European media outlets….What we have is this story from Eurosport Yahoo! that says, loosely translated, the Knicks already have a deal in place to acquire guard Sergio Rodriguez from the Trail Blazers on draft night.

    The story doesn’t explain any detail of the deal and is mainly about how Rodriguez, who we know is unhappy with his role in Portland, would love to play in New York. What we don’t know is how he gets here with a contract that has one year left at $1.8M (perfect for the Knicks short-term, cost-effective goals) before he becomes a restricted free agent.

    Updated 4:06 p.m. – After a few calls this afternoon we can say this report is inaccurate. There has been interest in Rodriguez throughout the season, but as far as there being a deal in place? No.

    Is Rodriguez available? Yes. Are the Knicks interested? Depends.”

    Sounds like the rumor of a deal being in place is false, but that there may be some discussion going on. If the Knicks are considering a sign-and-trade with sending Lee to Portland, I hope they were able to get rid of Jeffries, Curry, or Q. I’d hate to see Lee go, but if we could get some real depth at the guard position and clear some cap space, while maybe picking up a second rounder or two, it may be worth it.

  14. Apologies for the double post. I tried to delete the first one before it loaded.

  15. I don’t think Portland is trading for Lee, with Oden, Aldridge and Przybilla in the fold. Unless they have a separate deal for one of those guys.

    I could see something like Nate for Rodriguez and the 1st, with some extra players to line up the salaries.

  16. Maybe Chandler for Rodriguez is in the works… they need help at sf.
    I don’t have anything against Gortat, but I also think he will be in high demand and we can’t really spend if we want to keep Nate/Lee. I guess if we pull the Nate/Jeffries trade, this could happen.
    But the interest in Gortat tells me 1 of 2 things:
    When they paid fat Eddy a visit last week, D’Antoni wasn’t impressed with his workout schedule, or they are really actively shopping Lee.

    I’m not sure about the thinking behind McClinton. Why are they enamored with a 6’1 chucker? I guess if they want a cheap Nate replacement + a few extra inches, but that idea is a little scary in a Roberson kind of way.

    If it were me I’d sign Lee at 9 mil. I’d trade Nate and Jeffries to sacto for junk and their late 1st rounder. Then I’d draft Curry/Holliday at 8 and Sam Young at 23. Then try to get Gortat or Birdman for less than 5 mil.

  17. The handshake deal would be complicated.
    It might take a team that would be comfortable drafting the player the Knicks want even if the deal falls through–either they like the player for their team but like the Knicks trade package better or feel that guy has the best trade value in other deals.
    Once you have a player’s draft rights and he won’t sign with you it seems like your bargaining power in trades goes to zero, at least judging from the Steve Francis fiasco for the Grizzlies. So Memphis probably wouldn’t take Rubio.
    Another question, can you trade a player’s matching rights: the right to sign him as a restricted free agent, make a qualifying offer, etc? The team could definitely keep Lee/Robinson by matching any offer, but would face the risk of not knowing how much they’d be paying.

  18. “Another question, can you trade a player’s matching rights: the right to sign him as a restricted free agent, make a qualifying offer, etc?”

    I’m pretty sure this is disallowed per the CBA.

  19. “Mike, you are right that [Lee and Robinson can’t be traded for draft picks], but teams make all sorts of handshake deals.”

    It’s true that deals are made weeks before being made official. The problem with this kind of deal in Lee’s case is that the Knicks presumably would want to keep Lee if the price isn’t too high. There is no way to know what the price is until the free-agent period begins, complicating, the matter. If the Knicks are just looking to reduce their cap burden in 2010, then the “handshake deal” would basically be one team drafting the player the other team wants, then trading him in July. Still, Lee (and/or Nate) would have to be involved, as a trade would presume that they would actually sign the offer sheet they are being traded for. It is complicated, to say the least.

    As the rumor-du-jour goes, it’s been proposed that the Pistons would offer Amir Johnson and the #15 pick for Lee. This comes the day after Carlos Boozer said he may not opt out of his Utah contract, putting the Pistons in “Plan B” mode.

    Amir Johnson is an interesting player. He’s 22, athletic, and I read he had grown 2 inches since he was drafted and is now 6’11”. He makes $3.6 million, expiring next summer. (David Crocket in his mock draft earlier this month had Detroit selecting Earl Clark with the #15 pick). I suppose if Detroit wants Lee they could offer him a ton of money in July and not give the Knicks anything. The only power the Knicks have is that they can give Lee an extra year on the contract, which I can’t see being much leverage for them.

    In other news, Rubio has informed his Spanish team that he intends to buy himself out of his contract.

    Also, the Cavs have talked to the Clippers about acquiring Zach Randolph.Let’s all pray. Nothing could possibly fast track LeBron signing in NY in 2010 better than a year spent in Cleveland with Zach Randolph…

  20. I agree that Nate’s dynamic scoring ability could help the Magic, and their biggest offseason priority might be the backcourt if the Finals continue this way.
    At the same time, Jameer Nelson will (hopefully) return at 100% next season and Courtney Lee will have a full season (complete with a deep playoff run and conference championship) under his belt. Lee seems to have the intangibles people fall in love with (doesn’t back down) to go with some solid tangible skills.
    The Magic brass might also take away from the Finals that size is a problem for them, and see Nate as a step towards becoming a Suns-type gimmick contender rather than an NBA champion. My guess would be they concentrate on looking for that James Posey-type veteran (experience, not necessarily a SF or outside shooter). They might try to get bigger, either keeping Gortat or acquiring a veteran bigman.
    I’m making some pretty broad assumptions and generalizations, though.
    (BTW, the lob play is probably an example of exactly why they would prefer to keep their 6-5 SG over going for a 5-9 SG… rightly or wrongly)

    Would love to take a look at Sergio, but wouldn’t pay too much for the privilege.
    One big issue is that he’s a good candidate to opt for Europe as a restricted free agent, meaning he’s not all that restricted (which I think is a good thing, but not for the team that holds his rights). My guess is that he’d instantly be one of the most popular players in Spain, being both Spanish and extremely exciting. His quickness and passing would stick out a bit more over there, the 3-pt line is closer in which could make his shot more accurate. Real Madrid seems to be somewhat immune to Spain’s economic crisis judging from the Kaka deal, so they might take a run at Sergio Rodriguez, especially if Sergio Llull comes to the NBA. Their backcourt stars (former Michigan Wolverine and one-time T-Wolf Louis Bullock and one-time Jazz player Raul Lopez) aren’t getting any younger.
    At this point I think Sergio’s biggest value to Portland could be as an intriguing contract in part of a bigger deal: his contract is short, small, and loads of potential. On his own maybe he fetches a late first, early second.
    So, if the price is right I would like to see him in a Knicks uni. Bayless and Sergio (plus maybe picks/ player rights) for Nate would give the Blazers a dangerous 6th man to help contend immediately, while the Knicks get two potential rotation players. Of course the Knicks would also be getting two unproven guys who might be teammates in Spain in a few years, worst case.

  21. “The only power the Knicks have is that they can give Lee an extra year on the contract, which I can’t see being much leverage for them.”

    Their power would still be the ability to match. If the threat isn’t enough and they have to go through with it, they could turn around and trade Lee mid-season for nothing but expiring contract(s) if they had to. The risk being Lee gets injured or plays terribly.

  22. “Another question, can you trade a player’s matching rights: the right to sign him as a restricted free agent, make a qualifying offer, etc?”

    ‘I’m pretty sure this is disallowed per the CBA.'”

    You are correct, this is not allowed. Lee and Robinson are not under contract to the Knicks, therefore the Knicks can’t trade them or their rights.

    That said, teams make provisional deals all the time, working with agents and players, ahead of the draft. It’s not much different than announcing FA signings on July 1, even though they can’t be made official for a week. It takes promises and good faith, but it’s not cloak and dagger. Everyone knows it can’t go through unless the players are satisfied with their destination and salary, so everyone stays in the loop…

    There are rules about directly negotiating with free agents prior to July 1, but as long as everyone’s on board it’s easy to skirt that. So
    I think the Knicks probably have a good idea of Lee’s price right now.

    re: Rubio, I think it’s safe to say that Memphis won’t draft him – too much risk. But they can trade to the highest bidder – that pick has a lot of value. IMO, they have a lot of potential trade partners because there isn’t much different between the #3 pick and the #8 or 10. That might be a minority opinion – most people aren’t as high on Rubio as I am, and unlike me a lot of people think Thabeet is a legit 2 or 3 pick.

  23. Memphis Commercial Appeal is reporting that the Knicks, among others, have contacted the Griz about moving up to the No. 2 spot.

    I can’t see Rubio buying himself out of his contract to be selected by Memphis. Not to mention, this article also says that there are reports that Rubio will skip working out for Memphis, opting instead to work out for the teams with the 1, 3 and 4th picks.

    How about a re-signed Lee and the No. 8 for Darrell Arthur and the No. 2? N8 and the 8? Memphis also owns the 27th and 36th picks which could be thrown into a deal.

  24. David Lee is a popular player, but if you offer him $12M+ the fans will revolt against him. It doesn’t make sense for Detroit to overpay. Unlike Orlando with Lewis, the Pistons aren’t a player away from a Finals trip. And I don’t think that’s Dumars style (His former backcourt mate would do something this impulsive).

    Think about it from Detroit’s perspective. They can have a good core with Stuckey, Hamilton, Prince, Maxiell and Lee and still have a few million to grab another decent free agent. Throw in Herrmann, McDyess, etc. That’s not a bad team. Young too. You don’t want to blow the entire cap on Lee.

  25. The Pistons have about $23 million of cap space to spend. If they trade Amir Johnson and sign Lee at $9 million they would still have $15 million to spend (Boozer, Gordon, Odom, Marion, (Iverson, Marbury(!!)), etc…).

    The Boozer over Lee question is an interesting one for them. They are very similar players. Boozer is older and would presumably cost more. Production-wise, Boozer scores a bit more but at a lower efficiency. He only played 37 games last season too. His rebound% is a lot better than Lee’s, but his rebounds/36 are worse (not sure what the significance of that is). Boozer is more of a low post presence on offense, but, like Lee, he is incapable of blocking a shot.

    Pairing the two together would probably have a similar result to pairing Lee with Zach Randolph– their best attributes (rebounding, FG%) would be are marginalized and their worst attributes (inability to block shots) would be illuminated.

    I think Dumars would be smart to choose Lee (if Walsh is willing to hand him over) over Boozer. I agree with KB that Lee on Detroit would give them a solid young core. But who would you add with the remaining cap space?

  26. I would consider trade options, and waiting until 2010, rather than spending $15 million come hell or high water.

  27. So– hopefully donnie makes something amazing like a trade for rubio happen– but most likely we’ll be picking at 8. Given what I’ve read about the prdraft workouts, guys like holiday, harden, rubio, and curry will be gone by then. That’ll leave us with guys like brandon jennings– how do people here feel about him? I’ve seen nothing other than some highlights from high school.

  28. From people that have seen him play and/or played against Jennings – he is blazing fast with lightning quick hands. A steal machine that can get to the hoop.

    However the stats show him to sorely need a jumpshot. Would probably need some seasoning.

  29. That deal for Amir Johnson sounds great. IF we could get the 15th I might select Curry @ 8 and Hansborough at 15 or some kinda shot blocker rebounder at 15. It would bring in 2 solid character guys onto the squad. Im just wishing the NBA would move the Free Agent signing date so that deals can be made before the draft. Why make us wait until July. I think anything for Thabeet is a bad deal. In the NBA he will continue to block shot but he will not develop into anything more. STAY AWAY from that kid. He is not Dwight Howard. Im hoping Curry is not off the board at 8 but if he is im taking Flynn. I mean there is not much to go by here but i dont trust Lawsons durability. He might be fast like TJ Ford but he might just break down like him too. Too risky for us right now. A Rubio selection would be great. He so young and i think he can defintely improve the jumper. Rubio just really has to force the hand of these teams trying to draft him. He only visiting some teams and the buyout is pretty large. Who is really wanting to invest in a kid that might not want to play in your city? Im just hoping donnie makes some good moves.

  30. Anyone else glad we didn’t hire Mark Jackson? I would imagine his prep talks would go like this:

    Jackson: “This is for all the marbles!”

    Random Player: “uhhh it’s only halftime of our 3rd preseason game.”

    Jackson: “Not one marble. Not two marbles. ALL of the marbles.”

  31. “From people that have seen him play and/or played against Jennings – he is blazing fast with lightning quick hands. A steal machine that can get to the hoop.

    However the stats show him to sorely need a jumpshot. Would probably need some seasoning.”

    This sounds like Rondo coming out of school. But Jennings is quicker. Jennings is someone that I would be satisfied with taking at #8. He WAS what John Wall is now… but more so. THE most hyped high school player. The whole Arizona situation does scare me off a little… where is his head? will he be a steady court leader? not sure. But on physical talent alone, he could be the #2 pick. In order I would like Rubio, Harden, Curry, Holiday, Jennings/Evans (tie), Flynn.

  32. Jennings at 8 is probably a good gamble. He’s obviously raw but that’s to be expected for a player his age. I don’t think Rondo is a good comparison, though; RR is pretty big for a PG and a great rebounder; Jennings is on the small side. Maybe Tony Parker? I think the fact that he held up in Italy, despite some disappointments, shows more maturity – more battle testing – than most college freshmen. fwiw Chad Ford wrote a gigantic Jennings profile yesterday.

    I don’t get the excitement over Jonny Flynn. Considering he’s only 20, I could see him as a solid pick in the second half of the first round, but he’s nowhere close to a top-10 guy. Of all the PGs in the draft, he’s the worst rebounder, and he’s not top-5 in any production area – efficiency, scoring, passing, steals, etc. He’s tiny and his physical skills, while good, don’t jump off the charts… so it’s hard to see why people would take him that high. That personality of his must really be something. Hypnotic.

    Lawson on the other hand is off the charts. The top steals man, the top assist man (with a better than 3:1 A/TO ratio), a big scorer with a 65% TS and hitting 47 percent of his 3s. He was easily the best PG in college last year.

    I also see why D’Antoni likes Jack McClinton – he scored almost 24 points per 40, and hit 45% on 3s. Supposed to be quick, too.

    With Lawson, you have to factor in durability… but I see mock drafts with him in the 20s. That’s crazy. If we could pick him up at #15 or even later, that would be unbelievable. If we end up drafting 2 PGs, that’s fine, let ’em split time and find a deal for Duhon.

    At #8, I think the best player who could remotely be available is James Harden. I like Jennings. I sort of like Holliday – a different sort of PG, bigger and more physical — and Curry. Maybe Tyreke Evans, who is raw on offense but I could see him as a good defender, and he’s a terrific rebounder for a guard. I’d only consider him if he convinces people that he’s happy to be a “role player” and not jack up 20 shots a game.

    If Lee ends up in a trade, I’d seriously consider Jordan Hill at #8… but he’s undersized to play center, and not clearly better than those guards, so I wouldn’t bother if Lee is gonna stay.

    A PG stat comparison, via draftexpress.

  33. Caleb, Great analysis. I agree across the board.

    Hoopshype has a quote from the Daily News that the Knicks are picking between Curry, Lawson, Holiday, and Flynn. Says the coaching staff favors Holiday and Walsh favors Lawson…

    Tough call. Holiday’s an upside pick, but offensively he has no NBA ready skill (sort of wonder if everyone sees Westbrook’s success and assumes he’s the same player, a mentality I think is dangerous). I’d lean towards Lawson, but passing on Holiday could haunt you in a few years. I guess that the best case would be for the Knicks to take a Holiday or Curry and then try to trade in for Lawson if he lingers on the board. Personally, I’d consider trading Chandler for a pick in the teens if there were a taker. Maybe Duhon could net a Lawson pick from a team looking for a PG (Philly 17, Minnesota 18, Atlanta 19, New Orleans 21 could have interest). Bit of a risk for the Knicks to trade a proven commodity, but Mike Miller and #18 for Duhon, for example, would be awesome if Minni is low on Miller and wants a veteran PG for some leadership/stability (a reach, I know).

    With Flynn it’s all about the late season play on national TV. I think he can definitely play at the NBA level, but in the top 10 I’m not sure I would take him either.

    If the Knicks can buy a late 1st, early 2nd McClinton sounds good. Dozier is a guy that intrigues me mid 2nd.

    My favorite Euro prospect outside of Rubio is Victor Claver. He’s inconsistent, but I like his skill set better than Casspi. He does everything: outside shooting, ball-handing/passing solid for a wing, quick first step, solid finisher, long arms a plus on D and swat the occasional shot. I’ve been underwhelmed with Casspi when I’ve seen him but it’s a limited sample size, I thought Linas Klieza was a sure bust based on a small sample as well… Casspi definitely has the skill to be a top flight Euro wing and NBA roster player, I just question if he will make an impact in the NBA.

    Rodrigue Beaubois is someone who does look like a raw Rondo, and Milenko Tepic looks like a Marko Jaric. I’ve never seen him play, but as one of the only legit C prospects in the entire draft Vyacheslav Kravtsov probably warrants a look and might be worth the cash for the Knicks to take a gamble.

    If I were Walsh I’d probably try to convince Dolan of the merits of buying every 2nd rounder available and building a Spurs like European farm system. One Manu Ginobili and your return on investment is huge, an Okur or Luis Scola probably gets you a positive return on investment, even a Jaric if you don’t overpay him as a FA. You have to spread your risk, though, and I’m presupposing that the Knicks have strong European scouts and wouldn’t be just shooting in the dark.

  34. It’s really a strange draft in that there are SO many talented point guards this year. It is conceivable that Teague could become the best point drafted at #21 after 6 other point guards!
    Assuming we don’t get Rubio, I prefer Curry and then Jennings (if we are to go with a point.) Curry with his shooting and Jennings with his speed and quickness create mismatches that are more extreme than the other prospects (Lawson is also pretty fast, but Jennings looks to have more quickness to the hole, and he’s younger.)
    You also have to consider what you want for your offense. If coach D. wants to mirror his Phoenix team, Curry is probably the closest thing to Nash. That, combined with the fact that a shoot first point would work well with Lebron and that they are buddies, leads me to believe that Curry makes the most sense, even if we have to trade up to #5 (D’Antoni also prefers guys that can come in and play and don’t have to be taught the fundamentals.) Although I like Jennings, I don’t see him being a perfect fit for a ‘Lebron’ team. He seems like he’d be a good fit for G.S.
    Do people on this board still want Monta Ellis? I so badly want G.S. to turn over their roster and go with a young lineup of Jennings, Morrow, Randolph, Turiaf and Beidrins. If they could get good young pf, they could be really good.
    Any interest in Rafer Alston?
    I also think we could steal a big defense oriented shooting guard in the Courtney Lee mold, like Sam Young or Gerald Henderson with a late 1st.

  35. I don’t like Ellis at his current salary – I agree Golden State is ripe for a shakeup but I think they’re more likely to trade off young guys for veterans. Maybe there’s a way to grab Randolph or Wright or the #7. In that kind of scenario it might even be worth bringing back Jamal Crawford, and putting our FA dreams on hold until 2011. There, I said it!

  36. “If they could get good young pf, they could be really good.”

    Brandan Wright fits that description.

  37. “it might even be worth bringing back Jamal Crawford, and putting our FA dreams on hold until 2011. There, I said it!”

    Zach Randolph is on the block too! (Jeffries and Harrington for Randolph and Eric Gordon) Ha!!

    Seriously, though, if you can sell another year of patience to Knick fans, that is a really, really good plan. With everyone else trying to shed for 2010 we could stockpile some strong building blocks, give them an extra year to develop, then sign 2011 free agents (like LeBron when he doesn’t opt out). We are more than a year away in our rebuilding anyway, so foregoing 2010 is less myopic and would theoretically lead to a brighter future.

    Problem is, what if LeBron does opt out and signs with Miami, or Phoenix, or Chicago. Then we really look stupid.

  38. Q & Chandler for Crawford and Randolph/Wright or #7…

    Always the risk of losing a shot at LeBron, but if you see a real way to improve the team in the meantime, I’d rather have the bird in hand.

    Personally, I’d love to have him but even better would be finding a way to smash LeBron AND the Cavs… beat him instead of join him.

  39. Do you think the Kings would go for this:

    Lee + the #8 for Thompson, the #4 and Kenny Thomas

    Of course it would be after the draft selections were made. So the Kings would choose for us at 4 (Thabeet, Harden, or Rubio) and we would choose for them (Holliday or Jennings.) It would be complicated, but it could be good for both teams depending on how much you like Jason Thompson.

  40. My big fear is that Curry will be gone at 8 and im not getting good feelings about Holiday. What did he do at UCLA? I dont want us to be stuck with a Antonio Daniels type. Curry is a star. Ive seen him play live at the garden and all he needs to do it get a little space for that jumpshot and its gravy. Theres rumors going around that the Kings are taking a serious look at him at 4. I wouldnt mind Harden if he slips and Curry is gone but we have to get a good point guard in this years draft. Teague is also an option. I think that kid has skills and is being incredibly slept on because he didnt perform well in the Big Dance. Question is, can he run the point? It would also be lovely if we buy a bunch of picks and make some deals for some late first sound early second round action. We could surely secure some role players late in the draft to add strength to our bench. How many days til’ the draft? LEts get this over with!!!

  41. “Lee + the #8 for Thompson, the #4 and Kenny Thomas”

    If the handshake deal worked out then I could see it working for both sides. Only hitch I see is that everything I’m reading seems to be that Rubio wants to play in Sacto (maybe he’s not dying to, but seems very willing). It might take him demanding NY or someone out-bidding the Kings for #2/#3 to get Rubio for the Kings to do it.

    “Q & Chandler for Crawford and Randolph/Wright or #7…”

    Tough call. Doubt GS is looking to move Randolph, just seems like their dream player. Could be wrong though. I like Wright a lot (most underrated young player in league???) or if the Knicks love 2 guys at #8 maybe they just take 2 shots to increase their odds of hitting… 2010 cap space is just so attractive, though. Wright is probably not much more than a solid starter/ borderline All-Star at best, and that’s about what I’d expect at #7. Amare seems to have already bought a ticket to NYC, Bosh is shopping for a one way ticket out of Toronto, and then their are the really big fish.

  42. Not much love for Earl Clark on the board, huh? I just think he’d be a great asset for the Knicks: defense and passing on the wings. I don’t advocate drafting for need, but I think he’s a definite NBA rotation player. The great fit is sort of secondary, I love versatile forwards on any team (for example Odom, Lewis, Hedo, Pau, Walton call very versatile on both sides of the ball and playing in the finals). If Danilo’s healthy, Clark could be a great fit next to him: both strong passing forwards and Clark may be the type of versatile defender who can guard the other teams best scoring forward whether he’s a 3 or a 4, taking defensive pressure off of Danilo.

    The questionable attitude/work ethic and shot selection/shooting probably cross him off the list at #8, but some mocks have him falling to the 20s… He’s someone I would definitely buy, say, NOs pick to take. Also someone I would consider trading Duhon for (with a contract to match) if a PG is taken #8.

  43. I like Clark but as you say, #8 is too high. And I have other enthusiasms in the mid-teens, like picking Lawson or Blair (and hoping his knees hold up).

    I’d do the suggested Sacto trade to get Rubio, but not those other guys. Would the Kings? Depends how much they like Rubio, vs. whoever they think is available at 8.

    I’m pretty sure Rubio would prefer NYC, but he’s saying good things about Sacramento because it sure beats Memphis and OKC!

  44. “Depends how much they like Rubio, vs. whoever they think is available at 8.”

    I don’t think Sacto is in love with Rubio and it sounds like they are more into Holliday and Flynn… in fact, the whole buyout with Rubio is a mess that only a major market with big $ would want to handle.
    The problem is, Sacto is pretty much in the driver’s seat with the #4 (they should have at least 3 suitors if Rubio is still available there.)
    I think they would want something more like Lee + #8 for #4, Thomas and Udrih, which is not appealing. Something more like Lee +8 for 4 + Thomas + cash considerations + 2nd rounder/late 1st would be a compromise. I’m still not sure I’d do that, since we will probably buy a 1st rounder/2nd rounder anyway.
    Also, if Memphis is for real about drafting Harden and moving OJ to the point, they will probably look to move Conley. Conley, Warrick and a late 1st for Lee and Duhon? Of course, Lee would have to ok the Memphis signing.
    If Flynn is there at 8, I’m starting to think we should take him just because so many other teams are in love with him (raises the stakes for post-draft trades.)

  45. It’s hard to really know what trades teams like the Kings would accept. With the financial trouble of some teams– especially the ones balancing on the luxury tax threshold, the difference between having to sign a #4 pick or a #8 pick (a mandated $1 million difference) could feasibly make or break a team financially.

    Without being privy to teams’ inner projections of where they think the luxury line will be and their own bottom lines, it is hard to exercise rational action theory; however, since the Kings have other picks later in the draft they may be just as happy swapping the #4 for our #8 without insisting on Lee and Thomas being involved. If they were going to move Kenny Thomas it had to be at the February deadline. Now it is too late. They can’t take his $ amount off of the luxury cap. Sure, they’d prefer to turn his useless body into a usable one at the same price, but would they want to extend Lee for five years and end up paying the taxes the whole time? Do they like him THAT much?

    Washington, Golden State, and Millwaukee are three other teams that are on the luxury threshold with lottery picks. Washington doesn’t even really need a pick. All the top prospects at #5 are PGs and they have tons of money invested in their PG already.

    Then there are, of course, the Hornets, who not only can sell their pick, they absolutely have to. (Somebody here mentioned last week the Nuggets may sell their pick, but they already owe it to the Bulls).

    Basically, we may be able to get some pretty good stuff on June 25th without having to give up much (which is good, since we ain’t got much!)

  46. I think it would be a very smart move for the Knicks to sign Gortat this off-season. He is a strong big man that can provide them with rebounding and defense. As he is only 25 years of age, he still has a lot of room for improvement for his offensive game. I wrote an article about him a couple weeks ago, please comment and tell me what you think :)

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