5 Available Free-Agent Summer League Standouts New York Knicks Should Target

Adam Friedgood@AfriedgoodContributor IIIJuly 30, 2012

5 Available Free-Agent Summer League Standouts New York Knicks Should Target

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    The New York Knicks will be looking to sign a summer league standout or two to fill out their roster for next season. 

    The Knicks are over the cap and already used their mid-level exception to sign Jason Kidd.

    This means the only deals they are able to sign now are for players who are willing to accept the league minimum contracts.

    Currently, the Knicks have seven players on their roster that can play the guard position: Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Pablo Prigioni, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Ronnie Brewer and James White. 

    The Knicks need to add a few big men to their team who can compete for one of the final roster spots in training camp.

    Here are five available free agents the Knicks should target who played great in the Summer League this year. 

Hassan Whiteside

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    4.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.0 bpg

    The Sacramento Kings recently waived Hassan Whiteside in order to make room to sign Aaron Brooks.

    Whiteside is a legit seven-footer who has played in 19 games during his two seasons in the NBA. He is a very solid rebounder and defender who averaged 2.2 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game in only 6.1 minutes per game.

    Both these skills were on display during the Summer League. Even though he averaged only 15 minutes per game, Whiteside was tied for the league lead in blocks per game with 3.0. He was also a tenacious rebounder who averaged 5.0 rpg.

Hilton Armstrong

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    7.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.2 bpg

    Hilton Armstrong is a five-year NBA veteran who has already played for five different teams in his career. 

    Armstrong started all five of the Clippers’ games this Summer League and averaged 25.6 minutes per game. He isn’t much of a scorer, only scoring in double digits once, but was efficient on the offensive end with a 51.7 field-goal percentage. 

    He was also made major contributions on defense. Armstrong had at least one block in four out of the five games he played and even recorded four blocks in two of them. He also averaged 6.4 rebounds per game, including 2.4 on the offensive glass.

    Armstrong is currently signed to play with ASVEL Basket of the French professional league, but he would definitely come back to the United States if an NBA team wanted to give him another shot.

Keith Benson

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    13.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.2 bpg

    Keith Benson had a very successful college career, but hasn’t found his way yet in the NBA.

    Benson played at Oakland, where he was a two-time Summit League Player of the Year. By the time he finished college, he was the Summit League career leader in blocks with 371. 

    Benson was the first player ever drafted out of Oakland by the Atlanta Hawks during the 2011 NBA Draft, but was waived before the regular season started. He eventually signed a 10-day contract with the Golden State Warriors, but only played in nine total minutes before becoming a free agent again.

    Benson joined the Hawks again this offseason and started in all five games for them during the Summer League. He played terrific basketball, averaging 13.2 points per game and finishing fifth in blocks per game with 2.2.

    The Knicks could use Benson as a reserve big man if anyone on the front line goes down with an injury next season. 

Terrel Harris

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    15.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.5 spg

    Terrel Harris is the only guard that’s on this list.

    Harris went undrafted out of Oklahoma State in 2009. He went on to play professionally in France, Germany and the D-League before catching on with the Miami Heat last season. Harris played with the Heat during the Summer League, but is currently a free agent after they declined his qualifying offer.

    Harris is known for his defensive abilities and showed it off during the Summer League. He averaged 3.5 steals per game, which was second in the league behind No. 2 pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

    Not only did he play great defense this summer, but Harris also showed off an offensive skill set that he had never displayed before in his career. Harris led the Heat in scoring with 15.5 points per game and shot 35.7 percent from distance. 

Malcolm Thomas

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    11.4 ppg, 12.4 rpg, 1.4 bpg

    The Knicks need another rebounder who can come off the bench and Malcolm Thomas would bring just that. He has been a fantastic rebounder his entire career. 

    As a freshman at Pepperdine University, Thomas averaged 8.8 rebounds per game. The following season he transferred to San Diego City Community College and averaged 12.9 rebounds per game on his way to being named Pacific Coast Conference Player of the Year.

    Thomas then declared for the draft, but later withdrew and went to San Diego State where he averaged 7.9 rebounds per game over his final two college seasons. 

    Now Malcolm Thomas is trying to turn his incredible rebounding into an NBA career. Even though he entered the league as an undrafted free agent, Thomas still led the league in rebounds per game with 12.4. His average would have been even higher if he didn’t play only 19 minutes in his final game. In his first four games where he averaged 30 minutes per game, Thomas pulled in 14.5 rpg.

    Considering he was also an efficient scorer, averaging 11.4 points per game and shooting 53.5 percent from the field, Thomas would be a great addition to the end of the Knicks' bench.