NY Knicks: Power Ranking the Upside of the Young Blood on the Roster
Even though the Knicks have traded away most of their drafted players in order to either clear up cap space or acquire Carmelo Anthony, they still have done a pretty good job of keeping some young talent on their roster.
From 2007-2009, the Knicks drafted three players in the first round, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Jordan Hill.
Both Chandler and Gallinari were part of the package the Knicks sent to Denver for Melo and Hill was traded to Houston so the Knicks could acquire Tracy McGrady, a large expiring contract at the time.
Due to these trades, the Knicks have had to find other ways to bring young players to their roster to compliment their newly acquired stars.
They have done a great job of finding underrated players in the second round of the draft or via the waiver wire.
Here are my power rankings for all of the current players on the Knicks with two years of NBA experience or less.
5. Josh Harrellson
2011-2012 Statistics: 4.6 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 0.8 SPG
Josh Harrellson has been counted on a lot more than the Knicks expected this season with the multiple injuries to Jared Jeffries and now Amar’e Stoudemire. Jeffries is currently out with a right knee injury and STAT will need to miss time because of a bulging disk in his back.
Harrellson isn’t known for his offense, but he provides energy on both the boards and defensive end of the floor. Even though he’s only played around 16 minutes per game this season, he still averages a respectable 4.2 rebounds to go along with a combined 1.3 steals and blocks per game on defense.
I don’t believe Harrellson will ever put up huge numbers on offense, but he can always impact a game with his hustle and intensity off the bench.
4. Toney Douglas
2011-2012 Statistics: 7.1 PPG, 2.1 APG, 1.9 RPG
Heading into the season, Toney Douglas at 100 percent would have been either No. 1 or No. 2 on this list.
Douglas opened the season as the Knicks' starting point guard, but quickly fell out of the rotation after everyone saw his now atrocious shooting ability. Toney is a career 36 percent three-point shooter, but for some reason he has lost his touch this season and is only shooting 24 percent. Because of this terrible shooting, the former starter hasn’t played in over 15 minutes in a game since January.
Douglas may still have a little bit of upside, but it’s definitely at shooting guard, not point guard. He doesn’t have the ball-handling skills to become a successful NBA point guard, but if put in the right situation I think Douglas can help a team by scoring in bunches off the bench.
3. Landry Fields
2011-2012 Statistics: 9.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.7 APG
Landry Fields has been one of the best draft picks the Knicks have made during the past couple of drafts.
When they selected Fields in the second round back in 2010, they definitely didn’t think they were selecting a player who would eventually start alongside newly acquired Amar’e Stoudemire for the entire season. Fields has started in 129 of his 132 career games so far with the NYK.
Unfortunately, Fields has definitely had a drop-off in production from his rookie to sophomore season. Last season, Fields led all guards in the NBA in rebounds per game with 6.4, but this season he is only averaging 4.3. His shooting has also declined drastically this season with his three-point average decreasing from 39 percent all the way down to 25 percent.
You usually hope a player’s rookie season isn’t their peak, but for now we can only hope Fields will eventually match his numbers from his freshman year once again.
2. Iman Shumpert
2011-2012 Statistics: 9.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.8 SPG
Iman Shumpert is by far the most athletic player on the Knicks roster. He has really excelled this season when playing the off guard position.
When the Knicks drafted Shumpert in the first round of last year’s draft, it was because of his superb defensive ability. He has definitely lived up to expectations, playing defense in either guard position with success. He has been one of the few bright spots on the Knicks' defense this season, forcing numerous turnovers and averaging 1.8 steals per game.
Shumpert’s offensive success has really been a pleasant surprise this year. His shooting has been sporadic, but he has consistently been able to drive to the basket with relative success. If he can greatly improve his jump shot throughout his career, Shumpert has the potential to eventually become an All-Star in the NBA.
1. Jeremy Lin
2011-2012 Statistics: 14.6 PPG, 6.1 APG, 1.6 SPG
The emergence of Jeremy Lin completely saved this season for the New York Knicks.
When Lin first began starting, he needed to showcase his scoring ability since Carmelo and Amar’e were both out at the time. This was also before Baron Davis came back from injury and J.R. Smith was added to the roster, so Lin really needed to score in order for the Knicks to compete and win games.
Over his first 10 games, Lin averaged an astounding 24.6 points per game. He even set NBA scoring records for first-time starters, surpassing players like Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and even Michael Jordan.
Now that the Knicks have much better scoring surrounding Lin, he has been able to focus more on his ball distribution. When he leads a balanced attack by the Knicks, they have been very successful this season.
Lin’s upside really lies in his defense. He is averaging a respectable 1.6 steals per game this season, but too many times he’s getting beat off the dribble by quicker point guards. However, I think Lin is a smart player though and the sky is the limit for him now that he finally got his chance to grow into the player he has the potential to be.