Draft Preview # 2.4: Prospect Evaluation

Written by Ian Ellis (iellis2018@yahoo.com)

‘Sup folks, today we look at the most important part of the draft, the players (duh). Let’s see who the heck these people are, their strengths & weaknesses and how they would fit in with our Knicks. There are three tiers I will place all the players in: the hopefuls, the most likely and the buy-a-picks.


Alright, we’re finally at the end. The Knicks have been rumored to be active shoppers of a second round pick, so these are some players that could be avaliable to pick in the second round. What was my criteria for these players? Well, I just picked some players I liked and whom I think could fit with the Knicks.

Pat Connaughton

Pat Connaughton

NBA Player Comparison: Danny Green

Highlights: HERE


Pat Connaughton is probably the player on this list you should keep your eye on the most, as he is planned to workout with the Knicks. Conaughton, a senior wing (SG or maybe SF in small-ball lineups) out of Notre Dame, opened most eyes at the NBA combine where he posted a ridiculous 44” vertical. The reason I have Connaughton as one of my buy-a-picks is because I absolutely love his ‘3 & D’ role player potential. He has good size at 6’5”, has a good solid frame, and as already mentioned is a crazy good athlete. With his physical profile, he is a solid on ball defender (look at this block!), good help defender (averaged 0.9 blocks) and is also a good rebounder at his position as he averaged 7.4 rebounds. In addition, he is a 3 point marksman as he shot the 3 at a 42% clip. Also, while he only averaged 1.5 assists his senior year, his junior year he averaged 3 (probably due to his decline in minutes and the offense being more oriented toward Jerian Grant handling the ball), so I don’t worry about his passing skills. All these good attributes together make me love him because he seems like an ideal role player, someone who can shoot 3’s, rebound, pass and defend.  In terms of weaknesses, he’s already 22 so he’s not gonna get a lot better overall and he is not a particularly good driver, but remember, a team who is drafting  him is drafting him to get a role solid player, not a star, therefore these weaknesses are not that impacting. In terms of player comparison, Danny Green is perfect. Danny Green was a second round pick (Connaughton is projected to be one), both players are 3 point marksmen, good rebounders for their position and good defenders. His Knick fit is perfect because he’s not going to command the ball, he can come off the bench (most likely) or start (if the odds fall that way) and just do anything to impact the game.

Robert Upshaw

Robert Upshaw

NBA Player Comparison: Festus Ezeli

Highlights: HERE


Continue reading

Draft Preview # 2.3: Prospect Evaluation

Written by Ian Ellis (iellis2018@yahoo.com)

‘Sup folks, today we look at the most important part of the draft, the players (duh). Let’s see who the heck these people are, their strengths & weaknesses and how they would fit in with our Knicks. There are three tiers I will place all the players in: the hopefuls, the most likely and the buy-a-picks.
The Trade Downs

These are the players that *shouldn’t* be in play for the Knicks to pick at number four, but due to the Knicks interest to trade down, they are still in play to be picked in the late lottery or mid first round if the Knicks do trade down. Also due to the mass amount of potential options at this area of the draft, I am only looking at the prospects the Knicks have been already linked to.

Cameron Payne

Cameron Payne

NBA Player Comparison: George Hill

Highlights: HERE


Cameron Payne is a 6’2” sophomore point guard coming out of Murray State. Payne was initially projected to be a mid to late first round pick, but over the last few weeks, he’s started accumulate some draft buzz. First, the Thunder promised to take him if he was still on the draft board by pick 14. Then the Sacramento Kings decided to work out him, mind that the Kings only have the 6th pick. Now here we are, with our Knicks brass intrigued by Payne. Payne is a crafty guard with a high IQ for the game, with good scoring ability (averaged 20.2 points per game last year) including a beautiful Tony Parker-esc floater, solid three point stroke (37%), and pull up jumper, with good defensive instincts to get into passing lanes and Payne is a good passer (6 assists per game) in the pick & roll. Payne on the flip side is not good at finishing with any contact, he is a streaky and sometimes ill advised shooter, Payne isn’t very consistent defensively and he played in a lower level of competition (than a player like D’angelo Russell did) at Murray State in the Ohio Valley conference. While it is worth noting that guards from smaller schools like Stephen Curry (Davidson), Damian Lillard (Weber State) and Elfrid Payton (University of Louisiana Lafayette), it’s harder to evaluate the talents like Payne coming from to these smaller schools because while they are putting up superior numbers, it’s important to note that he’s playing against inferior talents than to the Big 10 or ACC conferences. Payne has a player comparison to George Hill because Hill is a solid but not spectacular NBA starting point guard is a good three point shooter, good smart pick & roll passer and annoyingly pesky defender. In terms of Knicks fit, he would be in the mix for starting point guard along with José Calderón and Langston Galloway and would be a solid contributor in the backcourt. Also, since the Triangle doesn’t emphasize the need of a amazing point guard (while it wouldn’t hurt if it had one), Payne could fit in as a solid starting point guard in the Derek Fisher mold. Also, here’s a nice graphic to look at for more info on the dude.

Frank Kaminsky III

Frank Kaminsky

NBA Player Comparison: Kelly Olynyk

Highlights: HERE


Continue reading

Concerned Canadian

Written by Steve Musil (atsc08@gmail.com)

The Canadian dollar has dropped steadily over the last few months. The unemployment rate rose slightly in Quebec, and there’s a Federal election in October. Right now main my concern is the Knicks.

I am and always will be a Knicks fan. It started at the age of 11, when I was predominately taller than the kids in my class, and I was told I should give basketball a try. I was horrible at first. All I could do was rebound due to my height advantage, but that was mainly it. Then in 1991, I remember catching a Knicks game on television. I was infatuated immediately. Ewing, Mason, Starks, Jackson, the X-man, Wilkins. I mean c’mon! They were gritty, they had heart, they had swagger, and a cool as ice coach in Riley. They were my team immediately, and my basketball religion. I did everything I could to get better after that, and modeled my game after Ewing and his gang wherever I could.

I have never wavered from this team, and I am not about to. Continue reading

Whats up with all the Finals Trades?

Written by Ian Ellis (iellis2018@yahoo.com)

Let’s take a break from the NBA draft and look at what’s happening in the rest of the association. First off, there was the NBA Finals. Lebron James put on one of the greatest (if not the greatest) Finals performances of all time only to watch as Steph Curry took his Warriors to getting a ring. During this, small ball ran wild, JR & Shump built houses and not didn’t live up to expectations (we’re all soooo surprised), Andre Iguodala won the Finals MVP and lots of other fun stuff. But enough of that, you’ve probably already heard a ton of this stuff, let’s look at the trades. Oddly enough two trades went through during the finals. This is interesting because this is probably the first time this has happened and these trades didn’t even involve draft picks as the draft approaches. Alright let’s look at these trades, the first between the Bucks & Pistons, the second between the Clippers & Hornets.

The Trades

Trade 1:  Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks

DET Got: MIL Got:
PF Ersan Ilyasova SF Caron Butler
SF/PF Shawne Williams

This trade is pretty straightforward. Detroit did this to get a stretch four to put next to Andre Drummond, similar to what Van Gundy did in Orlando by putting Ryan Anderson next to Dwight Howard. Milwaukee did this trade as a salary dump to get rid of the remaining 16.3 million dollars over the next two years that they owed Ilyasova.


Trade 2:  Los Angeles Clippers and Charlotte Hornets Continue reading

Draft Preview # 2.2: Prospect Evaluation

Written by Ian Ellis (iellis2018@yahoo.com)

‘Sup folks, today we look at the most important part of the draft, the players (duh). Let’s see who the heck these people are, their strengths & weaknesses and how they would fit in with our Knicks. In this 4 part series, there are four tiers I will place all the players in: the hopefuls, the most likely, the trade downs and the buy-a-picks.

The Most Likely

These are the players the Knicks are looking the most at to pick at number four. Players I put here are players that I would not be extremely surprised at if they were picked at number four. Now, that doesn’t mean that they’re not trade down candidates, just that they are in play.

*Note: Yes, there is no Kristaps Porzingis. This is not because I don’t like him or that I think he’s bad, he’s just too much of a risk for these Knicks in my humble opinion (sorry Jay).

Emmanuel Mudiay


NBA Player Comparison: Jason Kidd

Highlights: HERE and HERE

Emmanuel Mudiay is this years ‘mystery man’, like Dante Exum was last year. At the same time, he’s absolutely not. Emmanuel Mudiay was born the Congo and moved to Texas at a very young age with his mother and two brothers to escape the Civil war emerging there. Here, he emerged as one of the top point guard prospects in the nation. After playing taking part in all of the special events for high school seniors, like the Nike Hoop Summit, McDonald’s All American game and Jordan Brand Classic, he even was projected as the potential #1 pick in the 2015 draft by some sources. He initially signed to play under Larry Brown at SMU, but then due to either academic ineligibility or financial reasons, he decided to play for the Guangdong Southern Tigers in the CBA (Chinese Basketball Association) for 1.2 million dollars. There he averaged 18 points, 6 assists, 6.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 12 games before he was sidelined with an ankle injury. Mudiay’s strengths revolve around his physical profile. Mudiay is a very strong built point guard at 6’5” and 200 pounds. On offense, this strength as well as his quickness allows him to get into the paint with ease. Once he gets to the basket, he is very adept at finishing with either hand. Also, he can use his athleticism to get up for finishes and high flying dunks. In addition to this, while he’s not the flashy passer D’angelo Russell is, he is a very good passer in his own realm. He is very good at finding open shooters and working the pick & roll, which will be critical in the NBA. On the defensive side of the ball, he has all the physical tools to be a very good defender, his only problem is staying concentrated. Mudiay has two real weaknesses: perimeter shooting and decision making. Perimeter shooting is the biggie here. If Mudiay had Russell’s shooting ability, it wouldn’t even be question who would better. While he shot 34% from 3 in China, he isn’t a great shooter. This will allow teams to go under screens in pick & rolls and sag off of him in man on man coverages, therefore taking some of his penetrating ability. His stroke doesn’t look broken, but t it will take time and practice to fix it. The other weakness is his decision making. Sometimes he seems to force passes or shots, but with tutelage he should be able to fix it. When it comes to player comparison I believe it’s Jason Kidd (now remember, this isn’t a player projection, just a comparison). Both are big point guards, good passers and floor generals, and better rebounders for their position. It’s also worth noting that Jason Kidd, who is 5th all-time in three point field goals made, came into the league as a struggling three point shooter at a measly 27%, very similar to Mudiay. There are also lots of flashes of Dwayne Wade, John Wall and Jrue Holiday in his game. When it comes to Knick fit, I think he could fit much better than people think. Why, well I look back at the 2012-13 season. As we know, the Knicks did very well winning 54 games, and they were spearheaded by point guard Raymond Felton. Felton is a bad player, but let’s look why he did well that season; Felton was a mediocre shooter, set up the offense and penetrated the paint. Sound similar? My thinking is if Raymond ‘Doughnut Eating’ Felton can do that, think of what Mudiay can do with the Knicks. While Mudiay may be just as good a shooter, he could be a much penetrator, finisher, disher and pick & roll operator, plus Mudiay is a much better defender then Felton could ever dream of. Also Phil Jackson said that he wanted someone who could drive to the basket and he also loves taller triangle guards. Anyways, the Knicks could be a great match for Mudiay. Also, here are three more great videos about Emmanuel Mudiay HERE & HERE & HERE.


Continue reading

Draft Preview # 2.1: Prospect Evaluation

Written by Ian Ellis (iellis2018@yahoo.com)

‘Sup folks, today we look at the most important part of the draft, the players (duh). Let’s see who the heck these people are, their strengths & weaknesses and how they would fit in with our Knicks. In this 4 part series, there are four tiers I will place all the players in: the hopefuls, the most likely, the trade downs and the buy-a-picks.  

The Hopefuls

These are the players that will most likely be picked before the Knicks are up at four, but due to a draft day slide, they might be available. Also, no, I’m not gonna look at Karl Anthony Towns. There is no way he’s still available at four.

Jahlil Okafor:

DURHAM, NC - DECEMBER 15:  Jahlil Okafor #15 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after a basket against the Elon Phoenix during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on December 15, 2014 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

NBA Player Comparison: Al Jefferson

Highlights: HERE

We start off with Jahlil Okafor, the post scoring dynamo from Duke. Jahlil came out Chicago’s Whitney Young High School as Illinois’s Mr. basketball and ESPN’s Top Recruit in there ESPN 100 for 2014, and along with buddy Tyus Jones, signed with Duke University. While at Duke, he did not disappoint. Starting off by winning the co – MVP in both the McDonald’s All American game and Jordan Brand Classic, Okafor averaged 17.3 points on 66% shooting, along with 8.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in his freshman year at Duke, that culminated in leading his team to a National Championship. In addition to that hardware, he was a Consensus first-team All-American, won the USBWA National Freshman of the year award, won the ACC player of the year award and won the Pete Newell Big Man of the year award (yeah, that’s a lot). When you think of his game, it all revolves around his post game. He has one of the most sophisticated post games that we’ve seen in awhile, enough to be compared to Tim Duncan’s. He will immediately be able score once he enters the league. In addition to that, he is also a very good passer out of the post, so finding open shooters wouldn’t be a problem with him (Amaré Stoudemire should take some notes…). Once we look past these strengths, there are some real weaknesses to his game. First, there is the defense. He is not a rim protector, which can be seen by his measly 4.6 block percentage, which is similar to Nikola Vucevic and Spencer Hawes. In addition, he is a terrible pick & roll defender, so especially with the fact this is the most run play in the NBA, teams could really attack him (trust me, you don’t wanna see a Calderon, Okafor pick & roll defense). But, there is also a disclaimer: Jahlil played on a very shallow Duke team, with his only backup being Marshall Plumlee. So, it was best for Okafor to not be aggressive on defense and get fouls, because they needed him to score to win. Am I saying Okafor is suddenly a good defender, no way, just merely that he’s probably not as bad as advertised. His other big weakness is his shooting. He shot an abysmal 51% from the line, and doesn’t really have a jump shot meaning he won’t be able to spread out defenses. You can see that I compared him to Al Jefferson, but really think that’s his floor: a consistent 20 & 10 guy who can score in the post, with below average defense. A better comparison might be Tim Duncan, but comparing Okafor’s defense to Duncan’s is insulting. Now how would he get to and fit with the Knicks? Well, assuming Towns goes first, maybe L.A decides that they prefer one of the guards in D’angelo Russell or Emmanuel Mudiay. Philly then picks the other guard, because they already have Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel (or the guy Marc can’t pronounce). Then there he is and Knicks get him at four. While this may seem crazy, some NBA executives think that this will happen. With the Knicks, he would be the primary focus of the offense in the paint, and be a consistent 16 and 7 starting his rookie season. This would allow Carmelo to play more outside. This would also mean that Phil would have to bring in one more defensive minded frontcourt player, because Carmelo + Okafor could = atrocious defense. All in all, Jahlil Okafor has the potential to become a franchise big man for the next decade or so. Continue reading

Draft Preview # 1: Where are the Knicks?

Written by Ian Ellis (iellis2018@yahoo.com)

Hello all this is the first part of a multiple part series of highlighting all things NBA draft, and especially the Knicks Draft. Today, I’m just going to outline the basics of the draft and what does this mean for the Knicks.

When’s the draft? June 25th

Where’s the draft? Barclays Center

When’s it on? 8:30 ESPN

Where do the Knicks pick and what’s the draft order?

#1 Minnesota Timberwolves
#2 Los Angeles Lakers
#3 Philadelphia 76ers
#4 New York Knicks
#5 Orlando Magic
#6 Sacramento Kings
#7 Denver Nuggets
#8 Detroit Pistons
#9 Charlotte Hornets
#10 Miami Heat
#11 Indiana Pacers
#12 Utah Jazz
#13 Phoenix Suns
#14 Oklahoma City Thunder
#15 Atlanta Hawks
#16 Boston Celtics
#17 Milwaukee Bucks
#18 Houston Rockets
#19 Washington Wizards
#20 Toronto Raptors
#21 Dallas Mavericks
#22 Chicago Bulls
#23 Portland Trail Blazers
#24 Cleveland Cavaliers
#25 Memphis Grizzlies
#26 San Antonio Spurs
#27 Los Angeles Lakers
#28 Boston Celtics
#29 Brooklyn Nets
#30 Golden State Warriors

Alright, cool, but what does this mean?
Continue reading

An Open Letter to Amare Stoudemire

Dear Amare,

After witnessing Carmelo have one of the worst All-Star Game performances I have ever seen, in a game he probably shouldn’t have even been playing in, I found out your Knicks tenure was coming to an end after you and Knicks had reached a buyout agreement. Initially, I was ecstatic, after a long 4 and a half years, I figured it was best for both parties to just move on. But later that night, I couldn’t help to feel a little bit depressed; for the rest of my life, I’ll always wonder, what could have been. You had a chance to be on the Mount Rushmore of Knicks big men, but unfortunately I’m not convinced you even crack the top 25 Knicks of all time. You will forever be associated to Allan Houston, another former Knick, who signed a $100 million contract, and failed to live up to expectations.

But unlike in 2001, when we were dumbfounded when Allan Houston signed his $100 million dollar contract, the majority of the Knick fan base (including myself) was openly excited when you signed your deal (even though it was uninsured) in the summer of 2010 and proclaimed, “The Knicks are back.” Unlike Allan Houston, you had that it factor; I watched you go toe to toe with Tim Duncan, the greatest power forward to ever play, on several occasions in the playoffs. The fan base could sense the Knicks were heading in a positive direction. I still believe to this day you would have stayed in Phoenix had they offered you the same deal, but we were just glad to have a superstar, it had been almost a decade since Patrick Ewing was infamously traded to Seattle. We had to endure a long two years of horrendous basketball, waiting for this moment. I’ll admit, you weren’t our first choice; hell you weren’t even the second or third choice for some people. Of course, we all wanted Lebron; others preferred, Chris Bosh, or Joe Johnson.

Although I knew there was diminutive chance we’d get Lebron I was still dejected when Lebron, Wade and Bosh decided to construct a potent trio in Miami, but I still maintained on to the idea that hopefully one day, we could form our own trio. Soon after you signed, to my satisfaction, I remember reading rumors about you, Melo, and Chris Paul, joining forces to form a new potent trio.  I’ll never forget your first season in a Knick uniform; you brought electricity back to the Garden, and was a legitimate MVP candidate. Your two and a half week stretch where you averaged 34 points, and 11 rebs, including nine straight 30-point games, was some of the most superb basketball I’ve ever seen by someone in a Knick uniform. When the Knicks acquired Melo later that year, your effectiveness was affected, but I was still on cloud nine because the Knicks had reached the playoffs for the first time in seven years. Continue reading

Okafor, Melo, Harris, and Other Second Half Thoughts

Written by Nicholas McGowan

From twenty rows up in the upper deck of the student section I watched my Syracuse Orange go toe to toe with the Duke Blue Devils. It was quite the game. The final score was in Duke’s favor, 80-72, but there was some good to take out of it. I was able to watch Jahlil Okafor play, and let me tell you, he is special. This 6-11, 260 pound freshman came into the Carrier Dome and just played. He went off for 23 points on 10 of 15 shooting, added 13 rebounds and a block. He shut down Syracuse’s best player Rakeem Christmas or “Rak” as we students call him. Rak finished with just 11 points and 6 rebounds, well below his averages of 18 points and 9 rebounds. It was hard to watch as Okafor held Rak to 5-17 from the field. That game last night, only solidifies my stance that the Knicks need Okafor, we cannot settle for a Karl Anthony-Towns or an Emmanuel Mudiay because they are not on the same level. Every time Okafor touched the ball all I could do was think about how much I want him to be Knickerbocker.

While Okafor stated the other day that we would be happy staying in Durham for another year, the Knicks should be more focused on losing. The Lakers are 1-9 in their last ten games, pushing themselves to only 3 games ahead of the Knicks. The Sixers and T-Wolves sit at one and two games ahead of us respectively. While the Knicks should still be considered the frontrunners for finishing in last, there is some competition. Continue reading

Knicks Get Unexpected Breather Thanks to Snow

In mid-January when predictions of crippling snowstorms came through from the US National Weather Service the NBA took the decision to postpone the NY Knicks home game against the Sacramento Kings.

The Kings had arrived in New York on Sunday night but, with the huge snowstorm apparently set to wreak havoc, it looked likely that the team could end up stranded in The Big Apple. The NBA postponed the matchup just after lunchtime, leaving the Sacramento side to make a hasty dash to Toronto for their next game.

The threat of a “potentially historic blizzard” also prompted driving curfews along with airport, subway and school closures across New York. When the storm failed to materialise in quite the manner which had been forecasted, Mayor Bill de Blasio had to defend himself against claims that such measures were a gross overreaction. He was acting only on the information he had to hand.

Massachusetts and Connecticut did endure very heavy snowfall but New Yorkers were left thinking to themselves “Is that it?”

Naturally, this is not the first time in history that a Knicks game has had to be cancelled, there have been 15 postponements in all. Most recently, Hurricane Sandy put paid to 2012’s opening match of the season but the last time snow forced a Knicks game to be called off was in 2000 when travelling to Washington DC. Other cancellations to be called included the immediate game following the assassination of President Kennedy.

The Knicks poor season continues. Sitting in fifth place in the Atlantic Division at the time of the Kings game, with a 9-38 record, the short weather-bound break might help them to take a breather and regroup.

The game against Sacramento Kings has been rescheduled for March 3. Tickets bought for the January 26 game will still be valid and fans can also look here for their NBA fix.