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.
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.
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.”
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.'”
Over at P&T I reviewed the life and times of Emmanuel Mudiay, who may be a New York Knick in a month. Click here to learn about the mysterious talent from China, by way of Texas, by way of Kinshasha.
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.
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.
The latest in an ongoing series looking at players the Knicks might add in next summer’s draft is University of Texas center Myles Turner. To sum up: he’s 18, he’s 6’11”, he blocks others’ shots and has a nice touch on his own. Gimme gimme gimme.
I interviewed SB Nation college basketball expert Ricky O’Donnell on two Duke Blue Devils who could be future Knicks: consensus top prospect Jahlil Okafor, who is 19 and friggin’ huge, and Justise Winslow, who hopes to supplant Dwyane Wade as the NBA’s next seemingly-misspelled big name player.