New York Knicks

New York Knicks: Impact Players to Target in the 2011 NBA Draft

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IIMay 23, 2011

New York Knicks: Impact Players to Target in the 2011 NBA Draft

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24:  (L-R) Amar'e Stoudemire #1 and Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks stand on court against the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at Madison Squ
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    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

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    DENVER, CO - MARCH 19:  Kenneth Faried #35 of the Morehead State Eagles dunks the ball against the Richmond Spiders during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Pepsi Center on March 19, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Justi
    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

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 27:  Markieff Morris #21 and Marcus Morris #22 of the Kansas Jayhawks react during the southwest regional final of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams at the Alamodome on March 27, 2011
    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

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10:  Klay Thompson #1 of the Washington State Cougars looks on in the second half against the Washington Huskies in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Pacific Life Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament at Staples Center on March 10, 2011 i
    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

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 25:  Josh Selby #32 of the Kansas Jayhawks looks on during the southwest regional of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament against the Richmond Spiders at the Alamodome on March 25, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. Kansas defeated R
    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

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 24:  Jimmer Fredette #32 of the Brigham Young Cougars reacts during their 74 to 83 loss to the Florida Gators in the Southeast regional of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 24, 2011 in New Orle
    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.

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