We’ve covered two point guards that could make an impact as a back-up for the Knicks as a second round draft pick. One with experience playing in MSG (Scoop Jardine) and one with New York ties and a mean ability to create opportunity (Scott Machado). Now, its time to look at one of the most prolific scoring points in this year’s draft crop, Missouri’s Kim English.
Missouri’s last impression is unfair considering all the good the team accomplished throughout the regular season. I mean, they were the Big 12 Champions, lest we forget. However, its the crushing loss to 15-seed Norfolk State in the first, er, second round of the NCAA Tournament that destroyed their hard work and a ton of brackets.
What Missouri did throughout the regular season was remarkable considering they played almost exclusively with a four-guard starting line-up. English, along with Marcus Denmon, Phil and Max Pressley created a dynamic starting line-up that few teams were able to keep up with in a fast-paced offensive attack. When you include sixth man Michael Dixon, the Tigers were an incredible team to watch on a nightly basis, which made them easy picks to do well in the NCAA Tournament.
On the season, English’s best attributes were on the offensive end. He averaged 14.5 points, with a remarkable 52.1% from the field and an even more impressive 45.9% from beyond the arc. His defense was better than average, bringing in over a steal a game, but English was never the main distributor on offense, averaging only 1.6 a night for a team that dished out over 16 a night.
While I admire everything English can do for a team on offense and love that he played against some of the best competition the game had to offer (including going head-to-head with potential lottery pick Tyshawn Taylor numerous times), I can’t bring myself to seeing him as a fit for the Knicks, especially if Machado is available before him.
The problem mainly for English is he’s really not a point guard, but more of a combo-guard in the form of Iman Shumpert. He would be a luxury for the Knicks if they took him instead of someone that would fill a hole. In the draft, the Knicks should focus on one of three aspects: a back-up point guard with the potential to one day start, a defensive-minded block player or a combo guard with an emphasis on defense.
English is no bum when it comes to one-on-one defending, but Missouri did play almost strictly a zone coverage because of their lack of size inside, forcing teams to move the ball around the wing in order to create scoring opportunities. His best asset (scoring at will) isn’t something the Knicks are really short of. English would likely play with the second unit if he played at all, and his opportunities would be limited especially if J.R. Smith re-ups with the team in the off-season.
You can talk me into English fitting on the Knicks if Smith walks, but that’s the only scenario I truly see him working into the Knicks master plan. Would I be upset if the Knicks went with English at 48th overall? Absolutely not. I think he did more than enough at Missouri to prove he can be a scorer and a contributor in the NBA.
However, that late in the draft, it isn’t about taking the best player, but taking the best option that fills a need. Right now, Kim English wouldn’t fill a need for the Knicks the way they are currently constructed.