Barring any trades between here and the NBA draft, the New York Knicks are going to end up selecting at No. 24. That’s more than low enough, but it’s the price the Knicks gladly pay for bringing playoff basketball back to the Big Apple.
Although the Knicks are performing better than they have in years, the team needs to add some depth considering that they are fielding the oldest team in NBA history.
For most of the season, draft experts have been talking about the need to add a backup center. While it wouldn’t be unreasonable to add a big man, it seems more and more likely for the team to add a guard. That chance would increase tenfold if J.R. Smith were to leave the team after the season.
Here are some of the prospects the Knicks have to target in this year’s draft.
The Louisville center already has a championship pedigree thanks to the Cardinals triumph during March Madness.
Dieng played the most minutes out of everyone on the team in the championship game and finished with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting, eight rebounds and he accounted for all of Louisville’s three blocks.
The 23-year old junior averaged 9.8 PPG and 9.4 RPG this season and his play was good enough to earn him Big East Defensive Player of the Year.
Dieng is “only” 6’11” but he has a 7’6” wingspan to make up for it. In New York he would learn from one of the best defenders in the league in Tyson Chandler, which would be incredibly helpful to his game.
While it’s certainly wishful thinking that Dieng is still on the board when it’s the Knicks’ turn to choose, the orange and blue will do well to keep an eye on him leading up to the draft.
If he should somehow miraculously fall to No. 24, don’t expect the Knicks to hesitate.
The small forward out of North Carolina could be an exciting fit for the Knicks.
One of the advantages New York has heading into this draft is that as of right now they don’t need another dominant star player. They need more solid role players and Bullock could be exactly that.
Bullock is a strong three-point shooter and he shot 42.9 percent from behind the arc this season, which means he will fit in great with a Knicks team that relies so heavily on three-point shooting.
Unlike Dieng, Bullock will most likely be available at No. 24.
If the Knicks are looking to add a scorer in this draft, Crabbe is the way to go. The junior averaged 18.4 PPG with the California Golden Bears this season.
In the second round of the NCAA tournament he more or less singlehandedly beat UNLV after putting up 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting, nine rebounds and four assists.
In the next round, California ran into trouble when faced with Syracuse’s splendid defense, which is undoubtedly the reason why Crabbe’s draft stock has fallen.
If Crabbe can work on his three-point shooting, which receded to 34 percent this season, he will be a lethal offensive player in the NBA.
As much as Knicks fans might wish it, Jason Kidd is not going to be around forever. This might prompt the front office to start looking for an option at point guard.
Brown has something neither Raymond Felton or Kidd have, which is size.
The North Carolina State product stands at 6’5”, which gives him a size advantage on virtually every point guard in the league.
A 6’5” passer should be enough to get most NBA coaches excited.
Considering how great Mike Woodson has been when it comes to handling team chemistry—with regards to the conventional wisdom of Melo and Stoudemire not being able to play together—it wouldn’t be surprising if he found a fit for Brown on his team.
Believe it or not, Jeff Withey actually lead the nation in three-point shooting this season after he made every single three-point shot he attempted. Although he only tried his luck once, and succeeded, nobody can take that away from him.
Well done, Jeff.
As a 7-footer, it comes as no surprise that Withey can make an impact on the defensive end, which is also highlighted by his 8.5 RPG.
While he might not be as athletic as Dieng, he’s arguably a more efficient scorer.
If Dieng is off the board by the time the Knicks are on the clock, Withey would be an adequate option if they choose to go for a center.