My Knicks Top 8 Big Board

Written by Guillem @goodoldliam

For the last 2 months or so, I’ve spent quite an amount of time reading and watching videos about the best players in Thursday’s draft. Now it’s the time of truth, and I’ve come to this conclusion to which players I’d draft if I was making the decisions. This order doesn’t mean that I would draft them all at #4, but how high I regard each player. If a player doesn’t have the value, then I’d trade down. Now, let’s go to the big board:

 1 Karl-Anthony Towns

The comparison I like the most is a bigger Al Horford. That’s a center that does everything well, including shooting from distance. With the extra size, he could be a better defender and a rim protector too. That’s why he’s considered the best prospect. And that’s why the Knicks won’t get him. We needed to win those final games.

2 D’Angelo Russell

Russell is the first player the Knicks could potentially draft if he falls to 4. I like his shooting, creativity and vision. Would be a great fit in the triangle, and Phil reminded us that the triangle offense is still the plan. With not a lot of quality guards available through free agency this summer or next (Dragic and Rondo in 2015; Conley and Lillard (RFA) in 2016), this draft may be the only way to get one, and potentially a great one. He has a very high bust potential though, read more here [http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/projecting-the-top-50-players-in-the-2015-nba-draft-class/]: he has the highest % of bust potential in the top 25 college players, and also the highest % to become a star from all of them.

3 Kristaps Porzingis

I can imagine a lot of people not wanting Porzingis here. But let me explain. Porzingis has elite size and length, and great athleticism and skill. His major weakness is his strength. Which is why he may need a couple of seasons to develop physically. But I would take the risk of not physically developed yet over players that can’t shoot, have issues off the court, don’t have size or have injury concerns. Because players can add enough muscle easily, like Durant, Pau Gasol or Noah did. In addition to that, Porzingis’ parents and older brother all played professional basketball, so he has good influences around him. If and when he develops, he could very well be the best player in the draft: a big man that can protect the rim and space the floor to an elite level, something that would complement to perfection a player like Greg Monroe, our most likely free agent signing. Continue reading

Draft Preview # 4: Trades!

Written by Ian Ellis (iellis2018@yahoo.com)

In our last draft preview, we look at one of the most talked options with the pick, trading it. Whether it be trading the pick for a superstar or to trade down, a lot of talk has been about trading the pick. So, I decided to create 12 mock trades that the Knicks could do. Here are some notes before you read this:

1) Some of these trade include the Knicks acquiring players owed more money than them the cap allows, so some of them would have to be done once free agency starts, but they can be agreed on draft day.

2) WARNING: Some of these trades are really crazy…

3) …But no, you can’t do Lebron/KD/Anthony Davis for the pick, nice try. Trades have to make sense for all teams involved.

4) Teams trading for the pick are probably targeting Kristaps Porzingis, the big man from Latvia producing tons of draft buzz, or Emmanuel Mudiay, the athletically gifted PG that played in China last year.

5) Knicks have a ton of trade exceptions that expire on draft night. A trade exception is essentially a cap filler in a trade. To keep things simple, I won’t include them in these trades.
Alright, now that we’ve got that down, let’s look at the trades!

Trade #1: NY Deals with MJ

NYK Gets: CHA Gets:
SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 4th Pick
9th Pick
39th Pick

Why this Trade goes down:

The Knicks are doing this because MKG is very very good. While people may say that he’s a bust for going 2nd overall, that’s because they are only looking at his two weaknesses: his jump shot (that’s actually improved) and his 1 on 1 game. If you look at any other aspect at the game, he’s very good at it. MKG is athletic, an amazing defender, passable ball handler and playmaker, is a good slasher and good rebounder. Him next to Melo at the 3 or 4 is a great combo. With the 9th pick the Knicks could possibly take Cameron Payne, Frank Kaminsky or Stanley Johnson, or they could trade down this pick again to get a pick more around 14 & 15 to get even another asset. The second round pick is also nice. The Hornets are doing this because their roster is a mess and they need a franchise player, which they could get in Mudiay or Porzingis at 4. Also while giving up MKG stings, he is a restricted free agent next summer and I’m not sure if Charlotte wants to give a ton of money for him as while he’s very good, he’s not a franchise player.

 

Trade #2: Undoing the Bargtastrophy Continue reading

Draft Preview # 3: Mock Draft

Written by Ian Ellis (iellis2018@yahoo.com)

After parts 1 and 2 we know the basics of the draft and a bunch of the players so now I put that together and present *drumroll* the official Ian Ellis 2015 Mock Draft. For this I will only do the first round and I will take team needs into account, so this won’t just be a big board. In addition I won’t add in any potential trades to make it simple. Here we go!

*BPA = Best Player Available

 

Pick #1 Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl Anthony Towns, PF/C

While people want to speculate if the Wolves want Jahlil Okafor first, Towns should eventually be their pick. Towns has the most potential of any player in this draft, he can do nearly anything on the court, and is versatile enough to play with Nikola Pekovic at the PF or play C with any of Minny’s other young bigs.

 

Pick #2 Los Angeles Lakers: Jahlil Okafor, C

Similar to Minnesota, as much as people like to speculate about taking D’angelo Russell, it is in LA’s best interest to take Jahlil Okafor from Duke. He is the most  dominant post scorer coming out of college in a long time, is a good offensive rebounder and while he doesn’t have the potential Towns has, he has the potential to be a franchise big man. While it is questionable pairing up of Julius Randle and Okafor because they both share similar weaknesses (no jumpshot to space the floor, not very good defenders), LA should just get Okafor now and think about those things like fit later.

Pick #3 Philadelphia 76ers: D’angelo Russell, PG/SG

The 76ers need a guard and here they get one. D’angelo Russell, the sweet shooting guard from Ohio State with amazing passing ability, is perfect for the 76ers because they need a guard and they are getting more of a combo guard, meaning that they can pair a PG or SG next to him. Look out for the 76ers taking Kristaps Porzingis out of Latvia. The 76ers have been interested in him, and combine this with Hinkie’s desire to gain high potential assets and Joel Embiid’s injury setback, don’t be surprised if Philly makes a real draft day surprise.

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Episode 299: The Draft Preview

Marc and Jay recap the last two games of the finals and then go into their extremely informative draft preview.

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.

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

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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.

 

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Episode 298: The Episode Before Our Draft Preview

Marc, Jay and the Doc talk about the finals, ex Knicks that are still in the finals, some draft talk, lots of listener questions and more

Download Episode 298