Unfortunately, the Knicks long-term financial commitment to Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler puts them in a difficult position. They don’t have a lot of money to throw around in free agency (just the veteran's minimum and mini-mid-level exception), and they don’t have many movable assets.
All in all, the Knicks don’t have a lot of options for improving the team.
What they do have though, is the No. 24 pick in this year’s NBA draft. With a host of prospects rumored to be his player of choice, Grunwald only has a few days left to decide which prospects he’s buying, and which ones he’s selling.
Tony Mitchell rumors have been heating up.
As a sophomore, Mitchell averaged 13 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game-numbers that were down from his freshman year. Described by Begley as an elite athlete, he could fit the Knicks’ need for a big man who can be effective when Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire are on the bench.
While Mitchell may end up a solid pro, prospects who were ranked much higher than him by NBA.com (and with similar skill sets) have not turned out, making him a risky pick. The Knicks need to draft a player who can either contribute right away, or one who has sufficient upside. Mitchell seems to be more of a low-end option with a high motor.
This story is picking up traction due to the Knicks’ need for size, but they can do better.
Ricky Ledo was unable to play in college last year due to academic issues, but that hasn't stopped his name from being linked to the Knicks. Labeled as one of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s draft because of his ranking in high school, some NBA team is sure to take a chance on him.
That team should be the Knicks.
Highly ranked high school players don’t always work out, but often they can be worth the risk. For instance, Brandon Jennings, another highly touted high school player, skipped college altogether and played a year in Europe.
Ledo, who can also play point guard, may be able to follow a similar path to the NBA. He didn't play in Europe, but he did spend the entire year practicing with his team at Providence College.
Friars head coach Ed Cooley told Chris Dortch of Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook (per NBA.com) that he is sold on Ledo:
He had a 'wow' play just about every practice. Stuff you can't teach. Ricky is an explosive scorer, and a very good athlete. He's got incredible range on his shot, too, out to 25 feet or more. If you're a defender, there's just nothing you can do with that.
It also doesn't hurt that Ledo is listed at 6’6" and described as an explosive scorer.
Bullock is known as a greater shooter and defender.
Jared Zwerling, of ESPNNew York, has speculated that the Knicks should take a good look at North Carolina small forward Reggie Bullock.
Considered one of the best shooters in the draft, Zwerling writes that Bullock could help create fluidity and motion in the Knicks’ offense through his off-ball movements.
Whereas the Knicks' best three-point threat, Steve Novak, is mostly a spot-up shooter with limited mobility, Bullock could function as a shooter cutting through screens and running the baselines. He is also considered a strong defender, which could quickly earn him minutes with head coach Mike Woodson.
However, how much he would really open up the Knicks’ offense is debatable. The Knicks led the NBA in three-point field-goals this past season, so that’s the last area they need improvement in. They also already have a defensive-minded, ball-hawking guard in Iman Shumpert.
Where they hurt the most was when their second-leading scorer, J.R Smith, couldn't make shots. Without a secondary scorer, Carmelo Anthony was often forced to go into isolation plays, which aren't good enough to beat a great team like the Indiana Pacers.
This is a tough one, as Bullock is very talented, but in the end, his skill set is too redundant with the Knicks' current makeup.
Nate Wolters to the Knicks has been gaining steam.
Howie Kussoy of the New York Post has reported on the prospect of Nate Wolters joining the Knicks this summer and contends that he could be a great fit for the team. Standing 6’4", the South Dakota State product is considered an excellent scorer and creator.
Several news outlets have discussed the Knicks’ need for a point guard to back up Raymond Felton, especially in light of Jason Kidd’s retirement and the rumor that Pablo Prigioni may be heading to Europe.
Drafting Wolters is a spectacular idea. While Felton is an excellent shooter and a good ball-manager, Wolters could develop in the same mold as Damian Liliard or even Aaron Brooks, both excellent attacking point guards.
Any guard with that sort of scoring ability would be welcome on a Knicks team devoid of secondary creators.
If he’s still available at No. 24, the Knicks need to pick this guy up.
Dieng may not even be available by the No. 24 pick.
Many see Dieng, a 6’11" center who anchored Louisville’s No.1-ranked defense last season, as a player who could keep the Knicks' defense afloat whenever Tyson Chandler needs a break.
While his defense and shot-blocking may be considered elite, Dieng's offense leaves a lot to be desired. He’s not particularly adept in the post, as he prefers to face up and shoot the mid-range jumper.
Interestingly enough, Dieng may not even be available when the Knicks get to pick, as several mock drafts have him being taken earlier. NBA teams have come to value defensive big men, but if the Knicks are wise, they'll steer clear.
Remember Bismack Biyombo or Hasheem Thabeet? Both big men were chosen in the NBA draft lottery and were perceived as gifted defensive players who were extremely raw on offense. After two years for Biyombo and four years for Thabeet, they still only score a combined 7.2 points per game, a number that severely limits their effectiveness.
Many outlets are speculating on who the Knicks should target with their No. 24 pick. The noise is loud for Tony Mitchell and even Dieng, but in the end, the Knicks' greatest need is a guard who can be a dangerous scorer and, eventually, a commander on offense. That means Ricky Ledo or Nick Wolters.