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

Knicks vs. Hornets 11/2/2014 – Game Recap

Written by William Lee

January 24, 2014 Carmelo Anthony set a career high and franchise record with 62 points in Madison Square Garden against the then Charlotte Bobcats. It is only fitting that Anthony reached his 20,000 career point milestone against the now Charlotte Hornets as well.

Iman Shumpert started the game off very aggressively, possibly because of his contract not getting extended Friday night. Trying to make a point? Possibly…Shumpert looked for his shot early and often, scoring nine points in the opening five minutes, but was overly aggressive on the defensive end, collecting an early second personal foul, forcing him to the bench. With back to back threes, New York held an early double digit lead, 15-5. Carmelo Anthony’s three also put him in the 20,000 career points club.

Gary Neal kept Charlotte in the game, scoring eight of the ten points by the Hornets in between the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second quarter. Neal finished the game with 17 points. New York would lead by as much as 15 points in the first half, going on a 7-0 run capped off by an Iman Shumpert baseline slam dunk, giving the Knicks a 43-28 lead. The Hornets answered with a 22-9 run powered by Al Jefferson, scoring ten points working the low post, cutting the deficit to 52-50 by the end of the first half. Continue reading

Knicks @ Bobcats – 1-14-14 – Game Recap

Written by William Lee 
Carmelo Anthony last comment in a post-game interview with MSG Tina Cervasio “We got another game tomorrow, Shit”  after an overtime victory over Phoenix Monday night pretty much foreshadowed   Tuesday night’s game. After narrowly escaping a gritty game with the Suns, the Knicks just looked tired on the second game of a back to back, flying to Charlotte right after Monday’s game, getting in at 3 A.M. New York was content with launching long range jumpers, and was just going through the motions for most of the game.
 Charlotte went on a 19-5 run to end the first half, holding a 55-46 lead at intermission.  Al Jefferson dominated New York with his post game, setting the tone early with 11 first quarter points. Jefferson made his presence felt throughout the game, finishing with the game with 35 points and 8 rebounds, helping the Bobcats snap the Knicks’ five game winning streak.
New York got as close as a four point deficit, going on a 12-7 bridging from the end of the third quarter to the beginning of the fourth quarter. All the points were scored by either Carmelo Anthony or Amare Stoudemire during the run. It was interesting to see that Carmelo Anthony had to play 38:25 minutes, continuing to shoulder the scoring load, as well as waste his energy bringing up the ball. Continue reading

The Knicks follow Charlie Sheen’s Motto

If not for those 2 horrible losses to the Cavs this team plus Carmelo has been awesome. Tonight they crushed the Jazz. By midway into the third quarter Charlie Sheen had a better chance of being named father of the year than the Jazz had of winning.

  • The only negative tonight was that Al Jefferson looked like a hall of famer tonight. He was unstoppable and obviously the Knicks need to figure out how to defend a big man like this. He did a great impression of JJ Hickson vs. Knicks.
  • Jared Jeffries scored zero but he was a hero (I am a poet). He may have only had 6 rebounds but he did all the little things on D and looked great.  I especially liked how he hustled and saved a couple of balls going out of bounds by throwing the ball off the jazz players.
  • Watching Carmelo and Amare pass to each other and work the pick and roll made my nipples hard. If they can play unselfish and continue to look for one another they are going to be tough to contain. I also love the fact that Carmelo can take the ball up court on occasion taking some pressure off the pg and giving a different look to the offense.
  • Toney Douglas’s message tonight was hey Chauncey, take your time recovering.
  • Shelden Williams has 13 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds…nope, not a misprint.
  • Newly acquired Derek Brown played 12 minutes and had 3 great thrown downs, I wonder if this guy will get another shot to play any time soon.
  • Andy Rautins actually looked decent in his five minutes, including hitting a nice jumper.
  • Roger Mason has now played 50 minutes in the last two games. I would have predicted the overthrow of Egypt before I would have predicted this.