Know The Draftee: Jerian Grant

BROOKLYN, NY - JUNE 25:  Jerian Grant, the 19th overall pick of the NBA Draft by the New York Knicks, speaks at a press conference during the 2015 NBA Draft on June 25, 2015 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Mark Westcott /NBAE via Getty Images)

The Knicks picked up two players in the first round of yesterday’s NBA draft: 87 inches of Latvian controversy, Kristaps Porzingis, and Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant. Porzingis was the headline move, but trading Tim Hardaway Jr. to Atlanta for Grant says a lot about the style and substance of the team Phil Jackson’s putting together. I broke Grant’s game down today at P&T. Long story short: he’s the complete opposite of Hardaway…in that he does things. Lots of things. He could be a good fit for where the team is headed.

Know The Prospect: Stanley Johnson

Arizona forward Stanley Johnson (5) dunks against Southern California during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Arizona forward Stanley Johnson (5) dunks against Southern California during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)    

When I was a kid, I had a friend whose house was always messy. Everything inside was broken or broke-down. The lawn was scraggly and brown. He had a swimming pool, but it was never clean or useable. There was a gorgeous Cadillac in the driveway. But it was forever one repair away from working.

The Knicks are that friend’s house. Carmelo Anthony is the Cadillac: the one bright spot, only 31 and coming off of major knee surgery. The rest of the roster needs a makeover. I reviewed lottery prospect Stanley Johnson at P&T today, the rare 19-year old who’s already showcased NBA-level skills on offense and defense. Long story short: Johnson could be as close to a one-man home makeover as there is in this draft.

 

Know The Prospect: Cameron Payne

cpayne  A late-rising mystery man in this year’s NBA draft is Murray State point guard Cameron Payne. I reviewed his game for Posting & Toasting. Here’s an apertif:

“Player comparisons are like cancer: inevitable irregularities that bloom to the point they overwhelm their point of origin. Consider: Payne’s one of only 13 collegians ever to average at least 20 points, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 2 three-pointers per game for a whole season. One was Steph Curry. Eight never played in the NBA. The best after Curry? Jason Terry. Drafting a Steph Curry’s unlikely, but not unheard of (as Knick fans know all too well). Curry dominated lower-level competition, then dominated some more in the NBA; so did Damian Lillard. Those are Payne’s best-case scenarios.”

Get To Know Kristaps Porzingis

porzingis  One of the NBA draft’s most promising yet perilous prospects is 19-year-old Latvian Kristaps Porzingis. I reviewed his game over at P&T. A hint of what you’ll find:

“7’1”, with a quick release, a wet jumper, infinite range, the athleticism to beat bigs off the dribble, the hops to finish strong, the height to post the sub-84-inchers of the world, and an unholy amalgam of wingspan and footspeed on defense feeding on the souls of NBA offenses…and yet, more than one scouting report included the phrase ‘the new Bargnani.'”

Karma Police: The True NBA Lottery Odds

lottery

This one was two big for one post! In part 1 I looked at some of the underlying patterns that seem to affect the outcome of the purportedly unpredictable NBA draft lottery. A billion-dollar industry and the billionaires and future millionaires driving it supposedly have their futures determined by a random drawing of ping-pong balls. If you believe that, you probably think we live in a two-party democracy, and you’re about to pay the deposit on that lovely bridge in Brooklyn you saw listed on Craigslist. Part 1 also spelled out the cases for and against the teams with the worst odds of winning the first pick. Part 2 examined the karmic cases for and against the top ten hopefuls.

Draft Prospects: D’Angelo Russell

russell

The latest in my series of interviews on P&T found me in touch with Bob Baptist of the Columbus Dispatch, discussing Ohio State star D’Angelo Russell, one of the nation’s more intriguing young talents. Some compare Russell to Houston Rocket bearded wonder James Harden. That’s some heady comparing. I’ma defer to my boo Flo Davies on that one. ‘Cuz ain’t no one know heady like Flo Davies knows heady.