New York Knicks: Impact Players to Target in the 2011 NBA Draft
The New York Knicks made major strides this season, going from a 23-59 laughingstock to a 42-40 playoff team that landed the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. Of course, the building of this team is far from complete. Here are some players the Knicks should seriously consider in this year's draft to move them one step closer to championship material.
(F) Kenneth Faried: Morehead State
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Faried is undoubtedly the best rebounder in this draft and would immediately help to shore up what is one of the Knicks’ biggest weaknesses as a team. He also averaged 17.3 points for Morehead State this season, proving that he’s not JUST a rebounding and hustle player.
However, his lack of ideal size (he measured just 6’6” in socks and 6’7.5” in shoes) could be a cause for concern. The Knicks really need a center to play next to Amar’e Stoudemire and Faried’s height probably precludes him from playing the position, even if he does help cover up a weakness.
(F) Markieff Morris: Kansas
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
The taller, stronger and better defender of the Morris twins, Markieff’s offensive game isn’t as polished as his brother Marcus’, but he is a better fit in New York.
His size, length and defensive prowess would help protect the rim, and the fact that he can step outside and shoot jumpers makes him a great fit for coach Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system. He’s probably more of a power forward than a center, but his defensive abilities and the range on his jumper have drawn comparisons to Rasheed Wallace, which is a very good value at the 17th pick.
(G) Klay Thompson: Washington State
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Thompson is one of the better perimeter shooters in this draft, having hit 39.6 percent of his three point attempts this season. The Knicks could use a long-range bomber at the 2 to space the floor for Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, and Landry Fields is probably more suited to play the 3.
The Knicks got themselves nice value by drafting the leading scorer in the Pac-10 last year and would be wise to do the same again.
(G) Josh Selby: Kansas
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Selby didn’t have a great season at Kansas, what with his starting the season on a suspension and then missing a few games with an ankle injury.
Kansas started off hot without him, and he never really found his groove there in their slow-it-down-and-dump-it-in-to-the-big-man offense. Selby’s style is much more free-wheeling, and getting him into the open court in D’Antoni’s offense would allow him that freedom.
He came into his freshman season as one of the most highly touted prospects in all of college basketball, and he should be better in the NBA than he was in college. The Knicks can clearly use a point guard of the future because Chauncey Billups won’t be around forever.
(G) Jimmer Fredette: Brigham Young
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
The Jimmer could do wonders in a D’Antoni style offense.
With the freedom to fire his deadly jumper from anywhere on the floor at any time, Fredette can be a dangerous scorer in the NBA just like he was for the Cougars. He’s not a natural point guard in the way that Steve Nash was for D’Antoni’s Suns teams, but his shooting ability and basketball IQ could make him very dangerous. If it didn’t work out at point guard, he could always be an explosive scorer off the bench for a team that seriously lacked punch in its second unit last year.