New York Knicks Should Trade up for Hasheem Thabeet

Hot Stove New YorkSenior Writer IJune 1, 2009

DETROIT - APRIL 04:  Hasheem Thabeet #34 of the Connecticut Huskies reacts after he scored a basket in the first half against the Michigan State Spartans during the National Semifinal game of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Ford Field on April 4, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The New York Knicks have finished last place the NBA in blocked shots the past seasons. 6″8″ F Wilson Chandler led the team in blocks (75) while playing in 82 games.

UConn center Hasheem Thabeet recorded 136 blocks in 36 NCAA games last season. The junior finished second in the nation while blocking 4.2 shots per game. He also finished 12th in rebounding with 10.8 per game.

There is a history of trading up to draft a big man in the NBA. While with the Pacers, Donnie Walsh traded up to the number two spot to select Rik Smits 21 years ago. The 7′4″ center had a productive 12-year NBA career with averages of 14.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game. 

The 7″3″ Thabeet has been compared to Dikembe Mutombo and Samuel Dalembert. His value comes from his defensive ability, but Thabeet's offensive game has improved for the Huskies. He also is a good rebounder who runs the floor well. His scoring increased by three points from his sophomore to junior season.

Walsh interviewed the 22-year old last week at the NBA Draft combine in Chicago. Shot blocking is the Knicks biggest need, which makes Thabeet an intriguing prospect.