New York Knicks at Denver Nuggets – 12/17/16 – Game Recap

New York Knicks at Denver Nuggets
Game 27: December 17, 2016
Nuggets 127, Knicks 114

Written by Eric Weinstein – @ericcweinsteinn

So much for that promising road trip.

The Knicks concluded the west coast swing in Denver, Colorado tonight to and met the Nuggets at Pepsi Center. Hoping to finish this trip on a positive note, the Knicks did quite the opposite and dropped this game to the Nuggets, 127-114. New York looked like they had been away from home for five games, as the Nuggets came out with more energy from the get-go.

Carmelo Anthony returned after his one game absence to lead the Knicks with 29 points against his former team. Kristaps Porzingis scored 22 points along with 7 rebounds. The Nuggets were led by 25 points on 10-11 shooting by Kenneth Faried who looked as if he had been shot out of a cannon all night. Emmanuel Mudiay went for 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Takeaways from this game:

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Knicks Rookies Join NBA Player Props Betting Mix

New York Knicks fans in attendance at the recent 2015 NBA Draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn reacted with disappointment upon the announcement of the Knicks’ much anticipated first-round selection.

While the fan faithful anticipated their club picking a familiar name like Justise Winslow of the Duke Blue Devils or Willie Cauley-Stein from the Kentucky Wildcats, many were surprised when the Knicks took relative unknown Kristaps Porzingis with the No. 4 overall selection.

The 7′ 1” Latvian spent the past three seasons with Seville of the Spanish Liga ACB, where he was heavily scouted by a number of NBA clubs that discovered a versatile and physical big man who can consistently hit from three-point territory.

The 19 year-old is expected to have an immediate impact on the Knicks fortunes next season and joins a fellow Knick prospect on the NBA player props betting odds as an intriguing 25/1 bet to earn NBA Rookie of the Year honors next season.

Jerian Grant took a much less direct route to a Knicks uniform on Draft Night.

The 22 year-old point guard, who earned Consensus first-team All-American honors last season while leading the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to the ACC Tournament title, was taken by the Knicks with the No. 19 selection after New York acquired the pick as part of a three-way deal that saw Tim Hardaway leave the Big Apple for the Atlanta Hawks, and No. 15 pick Kelly Oubre go to the nation’s capital.

The announcement of the acquisition of Grant was met with a roar by Knicks fans in attendance and puts two New York players in the 2016 NBA Rookie of the Year mix.

Indeed, the older and more experienced Grant holds the edge over Porzingis in NBA online props betting, with 22/1 odds.

Jahlil Okafor leads the way in early NBA rookie betting, pegged as a 15/4 favorite.

Selected third overall by the Philadelphia 76ers, the 6′ 11” center was named ACC Player of the Year last season before leading the Blue Devils to a national championship at this year’s March Madness.

Okafor is closely trailed by second overall pick D’Angelo Russell. The Los Angeles Lakers point guard was a standout for the Ohio State Buckeyes a year ago and is a strong 4/1 bet to be the top rookie in the NBA next season.

First overal pick Karl-Anthony Towns rounds out the front of the betting pack with 11/2 odds at the online sportsbook.

Taken by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Towns played a key role in Kentucky’s undefeated regular season, earning SEC Freshman of the Year honors.

The Denver Nuggets’ Emmanuel Mudiay, who played last season with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association sits at a strong 7/1, followed by Winslow, who was eventually taken by the Miami Heat, at 9/1.

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 # 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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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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