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Who will the Knicks draft? A look at NYK’s Options


The Knicks have the 4th pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft. That is, if they don’t trade down. Who will the Knicks be introducing as their newest addition? Here’s a breakdown of the candidates to be the newest New York Knick:


Jahlil Okafor

The Breakdown: 6-11 275 lb Center, Freshman out of Duke, 7-5 wingspan, 19 years old

Strengths: Potential to be a dominant low-post scorer. Has the size, strength, and the moves. Very skilled. Decent out to mid-range but not beyond. Smart, unselfish.

Weaknesses: Motor can be a concern. Doesn’t project as a top defender although he could be if he were committed. Not very quick. Should be a better rebounder.

Why the Knicks would draft him: This is one of the guys Phil Jackson really wants. After the Knicks slipped in the lottery, he lamented the fact that they would probably end up having to take a guard or a wing, when they had planned on taking a big. Okafor and Karl Towns were those bigs. Okafor could provide the Knicks the franchise center they haven’t had since Patrick Ewing, and would add an entirely new dimension to the Melo-Centric offense. This is a guy the Knicks could build around.

Why the Knicks won’t draft him: Simple… he probably won’t be on the board. The Timberwolves will almost certainly take Karl Towns at #1. After that, it’s probably Okafor to the Lakers. If the Lakers decide to pass, they could trade down to a team that wants Okafor, or they could let the Sixers have a crack at him. If the Sixers pass as well, and don’t trade the pick to a team that wants Okafor, the Knicks would have a shot at the Duke center. That’s a lot of “ifs.”

Chances he’s a Knick: 5% (99% if he’s on the board)

DeAngelo Russell

The Breakdown: 6-5 193 lb Point Guard, Freshman out of Ohio State, 6-10 wingspan, 19 years old

Strengths: Terrific scorer. Quick, coordinated, can get to the rim. Great shooter. Lefty. Good distributor.

Weaknesses: Defense is fine but not great. Not a terrific finisher once he gets to the basket, could improve. Skinny.

Why the Knicks would draft him: Russell is another guy who has a chance to be a true franchise player. This is a point guard’s league, and the Knicks will need a star at that position if they want to contend. Russell could be that guy. If he’s on the board, he’ll almost certainly be the most talented guy there. This would be a terrific pick for the Knicks.

Why the Knicks won’t draft him: Like Okafor, Russell probably won’t be on the board— the Duke and OSU stars are the two main casualties of the Knicks’ lottery disaster. The Sixers are likely to take Russell, and the Lakers are even giving him a look at #2. If the two bigs go 1 and 2, and the Sixers take Kristaps Porzingis or trade the pick to a team that wants him, the Knicks would have the chance to take Russell. If he is on the board, Phil will likely select him, but it’s worth keeping in mind that the role of the point guard is de-emphasized in Jackson’s precious “Triangle.”

Chances he’s a Knick: 15% (80% if he’s on the board).


Emmanuel Mudiay

The Breakdown: 6-5, 196 lb Point Guard, spent 2014-15 in China, 6-9 wingspan, 19 years old

Strengths: Phenomenal athlete. Big for a point guard. Can sneak or muscle his way to the basket. Good finisher. Good defender. Good rebounder. Good in transition.

Weaknesses: Turnover prone in China. Mediocre shooter from the perimeter.

Why the Knicks would draft him: Mudiay is likely to be the best player available when the Knicks make their pick, with Towns, Okafor, and Russell likely to go 1-2-3. Mudiay has star upside at the crucial PG position, and would provide the Knicks a guy who could penetrate on offense and stay in front of the other team’s star guards on defense. If Phil Jackson stays at #4 and makes the right call, without overthinking himself, this is the likely pick.

Why the Knicks won’t draft him: Again, the Triangle doesn’t place a lot of emphasis on the point guard, and there might not be room in the system for a PG who isn’t a good shooter (although shooting can be coached). Phil’s comments in the media make it sound like he’s not enamored with Mudiay, although that could be a smoke screen.

Chances he’s a Knick: 30% (45% if he’s on the board)


Kristaps Porzingis

The Breakdown: 7-2, 230 lb Power Forward from Europe (Latvia). 7-4 wingspan, 19 years old.

Strengths: Big and versatile. Good ball-handler, good shooter who can shoot over defenders and can hit the three. Athletic, very quick for his size. Can guard multiple positions. Good shot-blocker. Massive upside.

Weaknesses: A bit of an unknown. Needs to add a lot of muscle. Low floor. Not skilled in the post. Unlikely to make a big impact right away.

Why the Knicks would draft him: Porzingis might have the biggest upside in the draft. He has the skills of a small forward and the height of a center. He might have the most upside in the draft. And he’ll probably be on the board. Porzingis might be a good Triangle fit— the system calls for versatility.

Why the Knicks won’t draft him: Porzingis might also be the riskiest player in this draft. That star potential comes with a caveat: he’s expected to need a couple years before he’s ready to be a major contributor to an NBA team. Porzingis isn’t very strong, and would fit better in the Triangle if he were a post threat (which can be taught, but how long would that take?) Carmelo Anthony is 31, so the Knicks might not want to draft a guy who will make them wait. Of course, the Knicks might not have the option to take Porzingis, and they’re probably even hoping they don’t. The Sixers and Lakers have taken a look at him, as have teams who might trade up in front of New York (such as Orlando). Phil Jackson is probably hoping that a team ahead of him takes Porzingis and causes Okafor or Russell to drop… or overpays the Knicks to move up to #4 for the Latvian.

Chances he’s a Knick: 15% at #4 (20% if he’s on the board), 5% if the Knicks trade down,


Justise Winslow

The Breakdown: 6-6, 222 lb Small Forward, Freshman from Duke. 6-10 wingspan, 19 years old

Strengths: Terrific athlete. Terrific motor. Might be the best defender in the draft. Good rebounder, good footwork. Composed. Has 3-point range (but not consistency). Can get to the rim and finish.

Weaknesses: Not one of the draft’s top scorers. Inconsistent with his jumper. Doesn’t shoot well off the dribble— mostly a catch-and-shoot threat. Short for a small forward.

Why the Knicks would draft him: If their top targets are off the board, Winslow could be a good pick for the Knicks and will almost certainly be on the board. Carmelo Anthony isn’t going to be locking down the other team’s star forward— Winslow could be that guy. If he can improve his jumper and become a true offensive threat, he could be one of the best all-around players in the league some day.

Why the Knicks won’t draft him: Phil might want somebody who is a safer bet on offense, especially if he’s not going to be anchoring a defense in the post. Winslow is 6-6 in shoes, which is a bit small for a small forward, and even smaller for one who, offensively, would be looking to do most of his damage around the hoop. Again, there isn’t much room in the Triangle for guys who don’t shoot the ball well. Other teams appear to like this guy more than the Knicks do— a team might trade up for our pick to get him

Chances he’s a Knick: 15% at #4, 5% if the Knicks trade down.


Willie Cauley-Stein

The Breakdown: 7-1, 242 lb Center. Junior out of Kentucky. 7-3 wingspan, 21 years old.

Strengths: Best defensive big man in the draft. Can guard multiple positions. Athletic, tough. Great shot-blocker. Quick for his size. Three years of college experience.

Weaknesses: Very small offensive-skill set— mostly just dunks and layups, in the Tyson Chandler mold. Motor isn’t an issue but isn’t as high as those of guys like Winslow. Should be a better rebounder. Could be stronger.

Why the Knicks would draft him: Phil seems to like this guy, who could be the Knicks’ new Tyson Chandler (before Chandler quit on the team). This is a guy who can anchor a defense, and any offensive skills he develops would just be icing on the cake. “Trill” Willie will definitely be on the board when the Knicks pick. He’s probably a reach at #4, but the Knicks could trade down a few spots and still get him— another plus.

Why the Knicks won’t draft him: Again, he’s raw on offense, and the Knicks might be looking for scorers. He’s a reach at four, so assuming the Knicks don’t want to take him there, they might not trade down for him, and if they do trade down, they might trade down too far and lose him to another team— unless they find a team offering a deal they like with a pick high enough that Phil is confident he could still draft WCS.

Chances he’s a Knick: 5% at #4, 45% if the Knicks trade down.


Trey Lyles

The Breakdown: 6-10, 242 lb Power Forward, Freshman out of Kentucky, 7-2 wingspan, 19 years old

Strengths: Good offensive big man. Can score inside (but not a great post player) can shoot from mid-range and even from 3, can handle the ball, good passer, smart, coordinated.

Weaknesses: Not a good defender. Not very strong, or fast.

Why the Knicks would draft him: The Knicks have taken a look at Lyles at #4, but it seems unthinkable that they’d take him that high. Lyles is a more likely candidate if the team trades down, as he has great versatility on offense.

Why the Knicks won’t draft him: Do the Knicks want another big man who doesn’t play good defense and isn’t strong enough to bang around in the post? They certainly shouldn’t at #4. If they can trade down, add more assets in a deal, and still land Lyles somewhere around #10, he might make sense. But he seems like a bit of a reach from a logical standpoint, although he is talented.

Chances he’s a Knick: 0% at #4, 15% if the Knicks trade down.


Frank Kaminsky

The Breakdown: 7-1, 231 lb Center. Senior out of Wisconsin. 6-11 wingspan, 22 years old

Strengths: Tall, skilled, can score from anywhere— has good moves in the post, great range. Can handle the ball. Dominant in college. Smart, composed.

Weaknesses: Not very athletic. Not very strong. Tiny wingspan (less than his height), question mark defensively.

Why the Knicks would draft him: The Knicks would only draft Kaminsky if they trade down, he is not a viable pick at #4 unless Phil wants to embarrass himself. Kaminsky should help the offense— if he’s a bust, he’ll at least be able to shoot over defenders, and he could be a big-time scorer if he pans out. Frank The Tank could also be a good triangle fit, and Phil will find his 4 years of college experience appealing. Worth noting: Kaminsky isn’t projected to go in the top 10, so the Knicks could trade down pretty far if they want him, which would net them a bigger return.

Why the Knicks won’t draft him: Every year there’s an elite college scorer who hasn’t fooled anybody into thinking he’ll be an NBA star— Jimmer Fredette, Tyler Hansbrough, Doug McDermott… Kaminsky is that guy this year. The Knicks should be looking to get a future face-of-the-franchise in this draft, and Kaminsky wouldn’t be consistent with that goal.

Chances he’s a Knick: 0% at #4, 15% if the Knicks trade down.

Other: The Knicks almost certainly won’t take somebody other than the guys I have listed at #4, but if they trade down, there’s certainly some room for Phil to get creative.

The NBA is a crazy place, so the Knicks could go in a number of unforeseen directions. But these are the most likely candidates to be selected by New York in Thursday’s draft. Tickets to the Draft can be purchased here

-Tommy Rothman

New York Knicks Memes Mock Draft


Tonights NBA Draft will be full of trades, surprises, and hopefully a few future stars. Despite the unpredictability of such an event, we will try to forecast the outcome as accurately as possible. Here is our mock draft, put together by my good friend Ben Tenzer.


Cleveland Cavaliers

 Alex Len, C, Maryland

Analysis: Rumors have been building since the Cavs won the lottery that Len was growing on them more and more. At the end of the day, Len and Noel both are unproven projects at the college level, but Len is coming off of a less severe injury and he has one inch and 20 pounds on Noel. They could end up going either way though, and if the offer is right the Cavs would certainly consider trading the pick, but I think that come Thursday, Len will be the Cavs’ man.


Orlando Magic

 Victor Oladipo, G, Indiana

Analysis: ESPN’s hype machine has pulled off its magic (no pun intended) yet again. Even though Victor Oladipo’s offensive upside is limited at best (though his defense seems to be a sure bet), ESPN and other media analysts have been talking him up to be the next D-Wade, proving that people forget D-Wade had a jumpshot. The truth is that Oladipo will be a fine NBA player, but will almost certainly not live up to his hype due to his limited offensive range. However, he has been hyped up to the point where either the Magic will take him or another team will trade up to this spot and will (Magic GM Rob Hennigan reportedly said that “3-4 teams” were in negotiations with the Magic for the pick). I will say, however, that if Oladipo develops a jumpshot and some quicker hands on offense, he has the potential to be very good.


Washington Wizards

  Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

Analysis: Team needs a SF, player has played in team’s arena for 3 years, player will  at worst be a solid starter but has potential to be much much more. This pick is a textbook no-brainer. Besides, Okafor and Nene can hold the fort down for another year if need be (and before you think it the Wizards have no incentive to bet on Noel, they want to match Beal and Wall with guaranteed talent while they’re still in town on small, guaranteed rookie contracts).


Charlotte Bobcats

 Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

Analysis: The Bobcats are full of projects, (see: Michael Kidd Gilchrist, Bismack Biyombo) and aren’t going to make the playoffs no matter who they draft here, why not go for the most upside available while allowing the 6’9 Biyombo to try out the PF position?


Phoenix Suns

 Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

Analysis: Wesley Johnson isn’t the SG of the future on this team and Goran Dragic/Kendall Marshall are fine in the PG slot. McLemore definitely has the offensive tools to be great, however his attitude has been questioned so strongly that he has fallen in range from top 3 to 3-6 range (larger than in sounds). Phoenix has their frountcourt in order for the time being (Morris twins, Scola, Gortat) and can majorly benefit if McLemore pans out.


New Orleans Pelicans

 Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

Analysis: The Pelicans draft a PF with high upside and an NBA ready body (6’8, 240 pounds). Bennet could also provide a fantastic 1-2 punch in the frontcourt with Anthony “The Brow of Justice” Davis.




Sacramento Kings

 Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

Analysis: The Kings passing up a guard in the high first round? Such an egregious departure from character likely wont happen again after last years’ disastrous Thomas Robinson fiasco. Despite a relatively poor draft history, I think that the new ownership will stumble upon a gem in Trey Burke, a prospect who could go as high as 2, because Burke has NBA guard speed and dribbling ability now. He’s a little undersized, but so is Isaiah Thomas v2.0 and he starts for the Kings. I think that if Burke develops his defense and intangibles slightly more he could prove a lot of people wrong.


Detroit Pistons

 C.J. McCollum, G, Lehigh

Analysis: LILLARD ALERT!!! LILLARD ALERT!!! LILLARD ALERT!!! This kid, out of Patriot League Powerhouse Lehigh, is so similar to Damian Lillard, a comparison which is not lost in Lillard, who as acted as a sort of mentor for McCollum. CJ has the tools and the relative size to be exactly like Damian was last year, but he has the same knocks as Damian (didn’t prove himself against quality opponents)  and he’s coming off of an injury, but I see McCollum as the PG of the future for the pistons. Look for Detroit to pick Trey Burke if McCollum is gone.


Minnesota Timberwolves

 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia

Analysis: Caldwell-Pope is a kid who you probably didn’t know about unless you’re an SEC fan, but he is the exact type of all-around shooting guard with a sweet jumpshot that David Kahn would love to use in a pair with Ricky Rubio. There is a general consensus growing among league sources that if Caldwell-Pope is there at 9, he’s going to the wolves.


Portland Trail BlazersOS: PG

 Cody Zeller, PF, Indiana

Analysis: With Lamarcus Aldrige making a stink about leaving to play somewhere else and with the general instability of JJ Hickson I would have to say that the Blazers have to draft a center. Zeller is a physical specimen who has the physical tools for greatness, but I question whether or not he can actually learn the many skills he needs to to be a quality player in this league. At worst, I can see him being similar to Tyler Hansbrough.


Philadelphia 76ers

 Michael Carter-Williams, SG, Syracuse

Analysis: The Sixers need talent, Carter-Williams is widely perceived to have the most upside at this point in the draft. In my opinion he is a trash player with no offensive game (just insane athletic ability) and no defensive game (just good at steals) who went to a trash university (he hasn’t been playing and defense but Zone for the past 2 years). I don’t think it’s the right pick, but I think it will be the Sixers pick.


Oklahoma City Thunder via Toronto Raptors

 Steven Adams, PF, Pittsburgh

Analysis: Adams is a smart, quality player who doesn’t have great potential, but who can step in right away (7’0 255 pounds) and contribute, a classic Thunder pick.




Dallas Mavericks

 Sergey Karasev, SF, Triumph Lyubertsy (Russia)

Analysis: Mavs want to stash player in Europe for cap purposes, Karasev is best Euro player on board. 2+2=Karasev.


Utah Jazz

  Shane Larkin, PG, Miami (FL)

Analysis: The Jazz need a PG very badly, Shane Larkin is the best PG on the board and I’d wager that though he doesn’t have too much size or room to build, he could start on this Jazz team opening day.


Milwaukee Bucks

 Dennis Schroeder, PG, New Yorker Phantoms (Germany)

Analysis: The Bucks need a guard badly and have proven in the past (Jennings) that they aren’t afraid to draft a player from overseas. Schroeder is the best mix of talent and potential left on the board and the guard position.


Boston Celtics

 Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA

Analysis: After what can only be referred to as the Rivers fiasco, the Celtics pushed themselves into a new era of rebuilding. What better bet to take for a team ready to lose than Shabazz Muhammad outside the lottery? Last year’s #2 prospect out of highschool and pre-season top 5 pick consensus has been pummeled with off-the court issues over the past year, but still has tools to be more than great. There is simply nobody better for the Celtics to choose at this spot than Shabazz.


Atlanta Hawks via Houston Rockets

 Giannis Adetokunbo, F, Filathlitikos Div II Greece (Greece)

Analysis: Giannis (I’m not going to attempt to type his last name) is a hit or miss prospect who will be stashed in Europe for the next few years. He has received a first round promise from an unknown team and considering that the Hawks have two consecutive picks, I’d bet they’ll stash one for salary purposes, goes without saying that he could also be picked 18th.


Atlanta Hawks

 Reggie Bullock, SG, North Carolina

Analysis: Bullock steps in as a wing that will add some nice size to this hawks roster while also providing an extra soring threat, which is nice.


Cleveland Cavaliers via Los Angeles LakersPOS: SF

 Mason Plumlee, F, Duke

Analysis: After picking Len, the Cavs could go for a forward who can score. While Plumlee may not provide the complete package, he certainly does fit the profile of scoring forward.






Chicago Bulls

 Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville

Analysis: After being ravaged by injuries and with Boozer’s time on the chopping block fast approaching (Amnesty is still available for the Bulls) the Bulls could really use a big to step in and play some D for them right now, which Dieng provides.


Utah Jazz via Golden State Warriors

  Rudy Gobert, C, Cholet Basket (France)

Analysis: After picking a PG earlier in the round I see the Jazz picking for potential by going with the guy who has an astounding 9’7 standing reach.


Brooklyn Nets

 Kelly Olynyk, F, Gonzaga

Analysis: The Nets need interior defense badly. Though they could just count on Brook Lopez improving this summer after playing in the WNBA, the fact of the matter is that they need some sort of presence in the interior, which even the vastly overrated Olynk provides at the most basic level (7’0 234 pounds of defensive interior).


Indiana Pacers

 Myck Kabongo, PG, Texas

Analysis: If George Hill’s concussion against the Knicks proved anything, it’s that the pacers are thin at PG and you can’t count on Lance Stephenson forever, So I see the Pacers taking a chance on a talented kid in Myack Kabongo.


New York KnicksPOS: SF

 Allen Crabbe, SG, California

Analysis: The Knicks are plagued this summer with the likely loss of JR Smith, Pablo Prigioni, Jason Kidd, and James White (Maybe not plagued with loss of James White) leaving them with no depth at SG at all. JR’s cold streak in the playoffs proved that the Knicks need another scoring option badly, Allen Crabbe out of UCLA is a shooter who fills both of those criteria. Though it would be nice for the team to get a big like Jeff Whithey or a true project like Ricky Ledo, Crabbe has to be the pick.


TLos Angeles Clippers

 Tim Hardaway, Jr., SG, Michigan

Analysis: The Clippers need to win now. Hardaway Jr. has a low ceiling but can play now and he’s the kind of hard worker that you’re going to receive a solidly consistent effort from.


GMinnesota Timberwolves via Memphis GrizzliesPOS: C

 Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas

Analysis: Mitchell has Wolves written all over him. For a team who plays Derrick Williams at PF, Mitchell’s high ceiling and fantastic physical tools is perfectly worth the small-school risk at this point in the draft.




Denver Nuggets

 Jamaal Franklin, G, San Diego State

Analysis: The Nuggets miss Aaron Afflalo and Franklin is the best SG in the draft at this point. His toughness and athleticism would complement Faried perfectly, but he doesn’t really have a shot yet. Think of this kid as a swall Kawhi Leonard.


San Antonio Spurs

   Lucas Nogueira, C, Asefa Estudiantes (Spain)                

Analysis: “Bebe”, as he’s known in Brazil, is a lanky prospect who has been in the eyes of NBA scouts for over two years, and is so similar to Nerlens Noel as a prospect that not only is it creepy, but it also makes him a perfect candidate to be a Spurs foreign potential pick (See: Ginobli, Splitter, Parker) and gives the Spurs the opportunity to one day have the great Brazilian frontcourt with Splitter and Bebe. This represents a large slide for Bebe as some mock drafts have him in the late teens.


Oklahoma City Thunder

 Glen Rice, G-F, Rio Grande Valley Vipers

Analysis: The 2013 NBA Draft’s feel good story is of Glen Rice, a player who spurned Europe for the D-League and worked his way up from playing an average of 10 minutes a game to the D-League All-Star team. He’s the kind of hard-working player who just fits in seamlessly with the Thunder, who have no big needs to tend to besides just adding more talent.





Phoenix Suns via Miami Heat

  Mike Muscala, FC, Bucknell

Analysis: The Suns could always use a little something extra at big man and Mike Muscala, who has carried Patriot League champs Bucknell on his back for four years, is just the kind of hard working, full bodied PF/C combo who can provide some solid bench minutes right away for any team.