NBA Draft 2011: 5 Sleepers the New York Knicks Should Look to Pick at No. 17
In a so-called weak NBA draft, the New York Knicks are in the middle of it, picking at No. 17. As they ponder the next addition to MSG, Donnie Walsh, coach Mike D' Antoni and the Knick brass need to fill the roster by acquiring some depth and balance at various positions.
With hopes of getting past the first round of the playoffs in 2011-2012, the Knicks might want to try to acquire another late first-round pick and address the team's many needs. The team sorely needs outside shooting, size and defensive toughness.
Let's take a look at some college sleepers the Knicks might grab in the 2011 draft.
The Next Great Guard or Bust?
During the 2011 season, Kansas freshman guard Josh Selby averaged a paltry 7.9 points and 2.2 assists in 20.4 minutes per game.
Prior to his return, the NCAA had been investigating for months the relationship between Selby and Robert "Bay" Frazier, who is the business manager for New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony; they all happen to to be from Baltimore.
After his nine-game suspension from the start of the season, Selby showed flashes of his brilliance by pouring in 21 points in just 27 minutes and also hit the game-winning shot versus USC. The suspension and a mid-year injury seemed to affect Selby's explosiveness and play, as he averaged only 14 minutes per game after returning from injury.
The 2010 HS McDonald's All-American is a great athlete (he won the dunk contest) whose game should flourish in NY's current uptempo system. His ability to attack the basket and his athleticism on defense will impress. With Chauncey Billups as a mentor, the sky's the limit for Selby.
The Defensive Stopper
Defense wins championship, and the Knicks showed very little of it at times. Step in Chris Singleton, a player who can certainly defend multiple positions. The FSU forward has lived off his defensive rep while showing flashes of offense.
Singleton showed scouts a 30.5-inch no-step vertical and a 37.5-inch maximum vertical, bench-pressed 185 pounds 15 times and had one of the best three-quarter-court sprint times of anyone at the NBA scouting combine.
As Singleton improves as a shooter, he has shown some range out to the college three-point line. You might compare him to a poor man's Josh Smith with more ability on the defensive end right now. He might not slip to No. 17, as his name has surfaced as of late but if teams go in other directions, the Knicks need to grab him up, develop him and unleash him.
High Energy Needed
Sometimes you only get one chance in the NBA, and every team needs a player who plays like it's his last game. Kenneth Faried, an undersized power forward, could be the person the Knicks come calling for to address their lack of toughness and rebounding.
Faried's Dennis Rodman-type motor alone would be truly appreciated by the Garden faithful. He can come in and possibly take over the role that Jared Jeffries provided the Knicks in the past.
Faried is a tenacious rebounder with a limited offensive package who is going to have add a bit to his 225-lb. frame. With the brute strength he has now and his explosive leaping ability, he should find himself out on the court for some minutes this year for some NBA team.
Big Man Depth
Markieff Morris, one half of the Morris twins, will finally be separated from brother Marcus as he ventures into his new NBA city. In step the New York Knicks, who are in need of a young, athletic forward to provide them with some depth.
Markieff, the bigger of the two twins, is a solid rebounder who finishes well around the basket. He can provide the Knicks with some legit shot-blocking skills and length on the defensive end.
While his offensive game is a work in progress, Markieff does have three-point range on a developing jump shot. His college numbers—13 points, eight rebounds and one block per game—don't jump out at you, and that's a testament to how balanced his Kansas team was this year.
Wild-Card Pick with a Jump Shot
They say certain systems are for players with particular skill sets, and if you can play, they will find you. The Knicks might find their man in Wisconsin seven-footer Jon Leuer.
Leuer is a sweet-shooting big man, and while he might not be the next Dirk Nowitzki, he could develop into quite a scorer in the league. He reminds me of a more athletic Ryan Anderson (Orlando Magic) with his surprising 36-inch vertical and the ability to put the ball on the floor if needed.
Leuer has legit NBA range and improved his FT shooting to 84 percent his senior year. His rebounding and shot-blocking numbers could be better, but Leuer makes up for it with a great basketball IQ and solid passing ability.