In the second round of last Thursday’s draft, the Knicks selected Josh Harrellson of Kentucky. The Knicks, who did not originally have a second round pick, purchased the 45th pick from New Orleans in order to take the Wildcat senior. Just like Landry Fields last season, the Knicks are hoping they found another diamond in the rough that can help make an immediate impact.
Harrellson really came out of nowhere in his senior season with Kentucky to become a major contributor and NBA prospect. He was a junior college transfer and rode the bench his junior year, but worked extremely hard and it finally paid off. In his senior season, Harrellson averaged eight points, nine rebounds, and shot 61 percent from the field in what was a Final Four season for Kentucky. What really increased his NBA stock was his performance in that Final Four run. He averaged almost 15 points, nine rebounds and shot 76 percent from the field.
Harrellson is listed at 6’10″ even though he is closer to being 6’8″ and will mostly play power forward in the NBA, and at times he could even match up against some centers. He might not be the best athlete, but he is a hard worker and has become a work out beast.
When you look at him, he looks like he could be playing linebacker for the Giants. He is a good rebounder and has developed a good jump shot, which would work great in a pick and pop style of offense. On the defensive end, he will be undersized in most match ups against other fours and fives, but his strength will help make up for his lack of height. He is also very tough and will embrace an enforcer role.
I look at Harrellson as someone who definitely fits a need of the Knicks. The Knicks need rebounding help and he could be someone who could play along Amar’e and Carmelo to do the necessary dirty work. The Knicks do not need offense from him, which will allow him to focus on defense and rebounding. Additionally, even though he lacks a low post NBA offensive game, he has good range from the outside, which he must show in order to get playing time.
He will defiantly become a fan favorite, with his blue-collar style of play. My only question is, does he fit the Mike D’Antoni system? I do not see him coming into the league and being a major offensive factor and we have seen D’Antoni be reluctant to play someone who does not contribute much at the offensive end. If D’Antoni has a philosophy change and puts more of an emphasis on defense and rebounding, Harrellson can definitely have an immediate impact for this team. If he does show an offensive game, it will only improve his chances of impressing the coach and give him more of a chance to be in the regular rotation.
Harrellson will never become a superstar, but he can be a very useful player in the NBA. Guys who work really hard make it in the NBA because they give you everything they’ve got every single night, which is not something many NBA players can do in a long 82 game season. He is not Kevin Love, but brings a similar type of effort to the court all the time. That is something you can’t teach and every winning team needs a few guys with those types of qualities.