(Knicks players who possess average fantasy values and shouldn’t be taken with a high draft pick)
Raymond Felton, PG: A lot of improvement was expected from Felton in his first year back with the club, but that never really came about. While he certainly topped his putrid output from the previous season with Portland, he didn’t quite measure up to the career stats he put up in his prior stint with the Knicks.
That fantastic 2010-11 season is shaping up to be an anomaly for the former UNC Tar Heel and going forward it’s possible we see stats similar to what he produced in March and April of this past season, where he averaged 12.7 points, 4.9 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 three-pointer per game. If you expect him to shoot 47% like he did in those last two months, you’re in for a world of hurt, as he is a career 41% shooter, but the rest of those numbers may stay constant throughout the season.
The additions of Pablo Prigioni (and Jason Kidd) to the backcourt last year contributed to Felton’s career-low assist numbers (5.5 per game), and with Beno Udrih essentially replacing Kidd on this year’s roster, those totals don’t figure to change much. Finding help in the assist category is harder to do later in drafts, so keep an eye on Felton if he is available between the 10th and 12th rounds.
Iman Shumpert, SG: With one week left in the preseason, it looks as if Shumpert has the leg up on beginning the year as the Knicks’ starting shooting guard. The Knicks are one of the few remaining teams who have yet to name an “official” starting five, but something tells me Smith will continue to come off the bench, like he did so successfully last season.
If Shumpert is the starter his value is in about the 11th or 12th-round range, but if he’s sent back to the bench he’s nearly undraftable unless you’re in a deep league format or a dynasty league. He’s currently dealing with a shoulder issue, but setting that aside, if he can improve on his minutes-per-game last year (22.1), it’s hard to argue his value as a source for steals and an ever-improving three-point shot.
During his very raw rookie season he averaged 28.9 MPG and managed to score 9.5 points, while tacking on 1.7 steals. In this past year’s playoffs he played almost identical minutes and was able to make 1.5 shots from behind the arc. The upside is there, and if you’re a risk taker, he someone to consider for your bench.
Andrea Bargnani, PF/C: The former No.1-overall pick is finally out of Toronto, but that doesn’t mean he’ll revert to whatever he did while playing in Italy that made the Raptors want to draft him in the first place. I do think that a fresh start in a new city helps and I also think playing for a team where he won’t be the focal point of the offense will take a lot of pressure off him. He finds himself in a unique situation where he’ll most likely form part of the Knicks’ second unit.
This isn’t Toronto, and having loads of talent among that second bunch (Smith, Amar’e Stoudemire) will allow him to get open looks from the wing, rather than being forced to bang inside. If he can stay healthy and you don’t care about your team’s field goal percentage — and those are two big ifs — it’s not far-fetched to think he could average 12-14 points, grab 4-5 rebounds and hit a three or two per game.
Unless you’re taking him in the 13th round or higher of a deeper league, you’re best served monitoring his progress from the waiver wire.
Metta World Peace, SF: Metta, if that’s what he’s going by these days, will bring a fierce, unabashed approach to this Knicks team, something that was sorely needed when they faced Indiana in the Eastern Conference Semifinals last year. He had somewhat of a revival in his final year with the Lakers, as his 12.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.9 threes-per-game were his highest single-season marks during his four-year run in L.A.
Injuries have piled up for him recently, and it’s doubtful he duplicates those exact numbers, but if you’re taking him towards the end of your draft it’s best to think of it as if you’re buying a scratcher ticket – if he hits, you win big, but if he doesn’t, just throw it in the trash.