NY Knicks Summer League Players with Best Chance of Making Final Roster

Ciaran Gowan@@CiaranGowanContributor IIIJuly 21, 2013

Jul 14, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Nicks forward Jeremy Tyler reacts to a penalty called against him in an NBA Summer League game against the Washington Wizards at the Cox Pavillion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

Now that we've had the chance to take a look at the New York Knicks' Summer League squad in action, it's time to break down if any players were actually good enough to make the final roster.

After splitting the mini mid-level between Pablo Prigioni and Metta World Peace, the Knicks are left with only minimum-salary contracts to offer in free agency, so they may well have to turn to one or two of these players for the end of the bench.

If they choose, the Knicks could also give some of these players a chance to develop in the D-League with the Erie BayHawks, keeping them as options for later in the season if injuries start to hit the team.

Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway, Jr. are obviously going to be on the roster, but it's the frontcourt where the most interesting Summer League battles took place. New York is in need of a backup for Tyson Chandler, and it's clear trying to find one was a priority in these five games.

Let's take a look at the standout performers the Knicks had in Las Vegas, and break down whether or not they could have a place on the actual team.

C.J. Leslie

The Knicks wasted no time signing undrafted free agent C.J. Leslie on draft night, giving him a partially guaranteed contract and an invite to training camp.

Leslie was used experimentally in the Summer League, playing on the perimeter and in the post without having a consistent role. He did, however, get to show off a range of skills including good decision-making off the ball, the occasional jumper and surprisingly good ball-handling skills for someone who projects to be a power forward at the NBA level.

His numbers weren't too impressive with 9.2 points and 3.2 rebounds, but since he played more minutes than anyone else on the team, it's clear the Knicks are very interested in him. Had Hardaway not been available, there's a good chance they would have taken him in the first round.

There won't be a rotation spot available for Leslie from day one, but his versatility means he'd be a great third string player in a frontcourt that's likely to face more than a few injuries at some point.

Whether or not he makes the final roster will depend a lot on what he does in training camp, but no matter what, it's hard to see New York giving up on him completely. They wouldn't have given him a partially guaranteed deal if they didn't at least see him as someone to keep wrapped up in the D-League.

Jeremy Tyler

All things considered, Jeremy Tyler was probably the Knicks' standout player in Summer League, at least among those who didn't already have contracts signed with the team.

It's not really surprising, since he has more NBA experience than his competition, having played 63 career games (including 23 starts) with the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks.

Tyler was the team's leading scorer, putting up 12.8 points per game on a team-high 56 percent shooting, while showing a genuinely diverse offensive game in the post. Weighing in at 260 pounds, he's capable of powering his way to the basket, but he also has good footwork and skill.

He's looked a bit raw so far in his professional career after skipping his final year of high school to play abroad, but he may finally be making good on his talent. His defense still needs to get better, but there's no doubt this is someone with a genuine chance of making the team.

According to Jonah Ballow, Tyler said he was given a camp invite from the Knicks, so he's definitely in the running for the backup center role. New York will likely add a veteran free agent as well, but as far as Summer League players go, he appears to be the frontrunner.

Jerome Jordan

For a while now, the Knicks have had high hopes for Jerome Jordan, but at age 26, he still hasn't shown any real signs of being a capable rotation player.

Though he has good height and athleticism and performed well abroad, he's never really stepped up when it matters most. 

Still, Jordan did lead the Summer League squad in rebounds with 7.8 boards per game and played some solid defense in the post.

The real problem with Jordan is that he seemed lost on offense. He was the oldest player on the team, but shot only 38 percent from the field for a total of 8.3 points per game.

Jordan might get one last chance in training camp, but the odds of him making the NBA are quickly falling. With an open rotation spot at center, this was his big opportunity to prove himself, but he was outshined by Tyler despite having four full years of college experience.

Toure Murry

The focus in Summer League was finding a player to contribute in the frontcourt, but the Knicks are also on the lookout for a third point guard, and Toure Murry played his way into contention in these five games.

Murry was the best guard among those without guaranteed contracts and was arguably even more impressive than Shumpert and Hardaway, although he did have the benefit of playing more games.

He's not perfect, but he can penetrate and works well in the pick-and-roll with the ability to finish well inside. A consistent jump shot would be useful and his defense could also use a little improvement. Neither are big enough issues to keep him off the team, however.

In total, Murry averaged 7.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and a team-high 1.2 steals, contributing efficiently in multiple categories.

The Knicks don't necessarily need a veteran to fill the role with Pablo Prigioni already on the roster, so Murry deserves a shot at the job. They need someone energetic who can get inside and that was one of the biggest strengths he showed in Summer League.


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