Between our detailed overview of every player who ended 2011 as a Knick and keeping you informed on all the latest gossip regarding all things New York professional basketball, we’ve decided to begin our speculation on who Donnie Walsh will/should select in the 2011 NBA draft. June 23rd is rapidly approaching (only 42 days away) and with the free agency pool being so depleted of game changing big man talent, the draft could be the Knicks best shot at improving their playoff chances as soon as next season.
During March Madness we took a look at some of the tournament’s most talented big men who could still be available when the Knicks make their first and only pick at 17. Getting someone born with a natural penchant to grab rebounds whose sole focus is patrolling the paint remains a major priority; the team’s largest hole. But according to two respected mock draft sites, the Knicks are in dire need of something else. Our first culprit is NBAdraft.net who has them taking UCLA’s 6’8″ swingman Tyler Honeycutt. For the full scouting report on Honeycutt go here. Read on for a snippet:
Strengths: Honeycutt is a 6’8 versatile and athletic player who can interchange between the off guard and forward positions … Shows impressive vision and can hit the open man in tough situations … With his length and athleticism, Honeycutt has potential to be an excellent defender, with high defensive awareness averaging 1.5 steals per game in 27 minutes … Also has the ability to guard multiple positions … Excellent rebounder for a wing especially on the offensive glass
Weaknesses: Being able to create with the ball in his hands is not one of his strengths, and he will need to tighten up his ball handling skills and work on ball security … Not much range on his jump shot, and needs to add more consistency all around to his outside game … Has been given the “soft” label by some so will need to prove himself with consistency and toughness
Why the Knicks would take a player who replicates everything Landry Fields can be is beyond me. Honeycutt may become a talented NBA player, but he doesn’t fill any needs for the Knicks, a team that’s in win-now-or-bust mode. They need a very large, tough man and judging from this scouting report Honeycutt doesn’t fit that description.
Over on DraftExpress, things are wild, crazy, and completely out of control. Raise your hand if you think the Knicks could use a 6’2″ gunner who couldn’t defend mid-major guards on the perimeter if his life depended on him. That’s right, the folks over here think New York could use Jimmer Fredette. Before bashing this prediction six feet into the ground let me try and make sense of it. New York is in trouble at the point guard position. Their backcourt consists of a nearly finished Chauncey Billups, a completely finished Anthony Carter, and streaky career backup Toney Douglas. Selecting a young kid with fresh legs and unlimited range to run Mike D’Antoni’s offense seems like a logical idea, but only if you know D’Antoni’s sticking around for the next four or five years. For all we know Phil Jackson could announce his wanting to come back and officially end an illustrious career coaching the New York Knicks. This would shift the offensive philosophy from run and gun to the triangle (a.k.a. the point guard is irrelevant).
What the addition of Fredette also brings is major spacing of the floor for Amar’e and Carmelo to do their business. Most of his shots in college came off the dribble, but adjusting to a spot up shooter role shouldn’t be that hard of an accommodation. For this I like Fredette and if he were to become the Knicks starting point guard the team could average 110 points per game. But, unfortunately, they’d likely give up 120. Fredette is an atrocious man to man defender. Not decent, not unwilling, not destined to improve. Atrocious. In a league that’s headed towards prioritizing the neutralization of blazing point guards Fredette will serve as an enabler. Guys will eat the Knicks alive, driving into the lane at will and breaking down the already thin interior defense. If possible, Fredette makes the Knicks defense even worse. If you’ve never heard of this particular mormon or had the opportunity to see him play, here’s the scouting report.
In the coming days we’ll have more on who the Knicks should get instead. Stay tuned!