Winners and Losers from NY Knicks' Summer League Team
The NBA Summer League has concluded, and the New York Knicks now know a little more about their future. The slew of games in Las Vegas are designed so that teams can get a good look at prospects, and New York did just that.
Certain players earned trips to the Knicks' training camp this fall, while others may be deserving of looks elsewhere. Conversely, other players may have destroyed their professional chances.
The team is still searching for a final guard to add to the rotation, and Toure Murry did everything he could to rise from the unknowns and claim a spot. The Knicks also need a defensive big man with rebounding ability, and they brought in a deep lineup of bigs to compete for the position.
Now that the league has wrapped up, it's an appropriate time to judge who benefited from the games, and whose stock was hurt the most by them.
We'll do so in the following slides.
Loser: Jerome Jordan
Jerome Jordan entered summer league play with a real shot at impressing Knicks higher-ups. He was already in good graces with the organization despite being dealt away last summer. Even though league rules prohibited the Knicks from signing him, the team invited him back for last year's summer play. This year, they invited Jordan to Vegas again—with no restrictions by the league.
So, sure, the Knicks can sign Jordan back if they want. But they probably won't.
At 7'1" and 250 pounds, Jordan has the size to be a force in the middle. He's dominated in the D-League and overseas play, but he can't quite string together enough progress to warrant an extended NBA look. The disappointment only continued these past few games.
Jordan actually finished up in Vegas as the team's leading rebounder—with 7.8 boards in 21.5 minutes per contest. However, he shot just 38 percent from the floor and failed to block a single shot over his four games.
Jordan will be a not-so-youthful 27 by opening night and needed a great showing in Nevada to set up an opportunity in the association. Instead, Jordan turned in efforts packed with slow feet and swiss-cheese defense.
He will almost surely be searching for a new gig this fall.
Winner: Toure Murry
The Knicks have a need for a third point guard, and Toure Murry may have put himself in the running at Vegas.
Murry has incredible size at the 1, standing at 6'5". His skill set is as sound as they come in the summer league—as far as non-NBAers go. He's shown the ability to run a decent pick-and-roll, view the court well and actively defend his opponent.
The latter is perhaps what the Knicks are looking for the most—opposing point guards torched New York last year by posting a PER near 18, according to 82games.com. He often relies on his athletic ability to jump passing lanes and pressure the ball-handler.
On offense, Murry's jumper isn't overly reliable, but he's able to penetrate to the basket and score from in close.
Murry has been invited to training camp, according to ESPN, and the team has been working on a deal that would guarantee him a roster spot for 2013-14.
Murry played four seasons at Wichita State from 2008-12 and has D-League experience. The 23-year-old still stands alone as his alma mater's assist leader.
Loser: Tim Hardaway Jr.
By looking at the numbers—and even the tape—Tim Hardaway Jr.'s first NBA action wasn't bad at all. Over two games, the rookie averaged 11 points and 3.5 rebounds and displayed the fearlessness that's at least partially responsible for his first-round draft selection.
But Hardaway's Vegas action ended before he logged two full games, when he suffered a bruised wrist. The Knicks have called him day-to-day.
Hardaway's premature exit was unfortunate for a few reasons—the first being that it came by way of injury. Having to sit out thanks to health is always frustrating, but even more so when the injury comes in an exhibition game.
At the same time, the wrist tweak cost Hardaway valuable experience in an NBA setting. Spending time under the Knicks' coaching staff would've only helped the 21-year-old's progression this early in his development, and now he'll have to wait until training camp opens up later this fall.
The injury is presumably minor, and the team was most likely playing it safe with their 24th-overall pick by having him sit out the final three summer games. The bruise probably won't affect his play by the time games actually matter. Nevertheless, it's unfortunate that Hardaway's Knicks career has begun less than favorably.
Winner: Jeremy Tyler
Of the numerous big men the Knicks brought into Las Vegas, Jeremy Tyler is the one that opened the most eyeballs amongst the Knicks staff. They rewarded him for his standout performance with an invite to training camp later this year.
Tyler ended summer league play as New York's leading scorer with 12.8 points per contest. He shot 56 percent from the field and averaged 6.3 boards in just under 18 minutes per game.
His offensive game seemed to tidy up as the summer league trudged along. Besides cleaning on the glass from in close, he's able to knock down short jumpers from just outside the paint and even create his own looks from the low block.
On the other end, Tyler is a bit shorter than most centers but makes up for his height disadvantage with a 7'5" wingspan. He's averaged more than a block per 36 minutes in the NBA. The 22-year-old suffers from occasional lapses and poor positioning, but a strong defensive foundation seems to be in place. Tyler would surely benefit from time with Tyson Chandler, Mike Woodson and former NBA big and current Knicks assistant Herb Williams.
The Knicks have a need at almost every position on the floor to fill out the roster, so Tyler will definitely have a shot at making the real Knicks this fall.
Loser: Chris Smith
The reigning Sixth Man of the Year's sibling was brought in to the Knicks' summer league for a second-straight season. And for the second-straight season, he failed to impress.
There has been speculation from the New York Post that Chris' inclusion in the team's summer league was merely a token of good faith by the Knicks, and possibly even a side deal with his family related to J.R. Smith re-upping with the team. Whatever the case was, Chris had his shot at Knicks training camp.
And it's pretty safe to say he let it pass by.
Smith shot 22 percent from the floor and a terrible 11 percent from three-point range over the five games—four of which were starts. He took the fourth-most shots on the Knicks' roster (41) and made the sixth-least (9), discounting Iman Shumpert who played in just one game.
Smith seems to have a good attitude. He's active on defense and isn't too greedy with the ball in his hands. He's just not an NBA-caliber player at this stage of his career, and at 26 come November, you have to wonder if he'll ever be.
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