Knicks Select Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo


Just one night removed from making his first trade as president of the Knicks, Phil Jackson made his first draft decisions too. Fans were happy just be involved in the festivities. So happy that no one selected by New York was booed! Both Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo will be a mouthful for Clyde Frazier and Knicks bloggers everywhere, but more importantly, they should be a handful for opponents as well.

34th Pick – Cleanthony Early

Since Phil couldn’t get his hands on a first round pick, he essentially took a first round talent in the next. Not that Early is a can’t miss prospect, but he probably shouldn’t have been hanging around when the Knicks were on the clock with the fourth pick of the second round.

At 6-7, Early is a versatile scorer, but what sticks out the most is his ability to get involved when the ball isn’t in his hands. Early is most effective as a slasher and even better in catch-and-shoot situations. This should come especially in handy if he’s on the floor with an unselfish point guard like Jose Calderon.

My only concern with him comes on the defensive side of the ball. Early is going to need to put on weight to bang down low with the fours, and at 23 years old, it might already be too “late” for that (by the way, you need to prepare yourself for TONS of upcoming “Early” puns).  He isn’t awful on the perimeter, but his awareness isn’t always there and at times, he can get caught napping when he isn’t on the ball. This could be a major issue when the Knicks need to put points on the board and have him paired up with Tim Hardaway Jr. Or Andrea Bargnani. Or Amar’e Stoudemire. You get the point

Early will never be able to replicate the offensive production of Carmelo Anthony, but when you consider that he’ll basically be making the league minimum, the Knicks are going to get a lot of bang for their buck.

51st Pick – Thanasis Antetokounmpo

With tons of holes in the frontcourt, most expected the Knicks to use this selection on a big man, but possibly in preparation for Melo’s departure, they went with another small forward. Thanasis Antetokounmpo is (believe it or not) the brother of Milwaukee’s Giannis Antentokounmpo, who has one of the highest ceilings in the NBA. As a 19-year old, 6-11 shooting guard, Giannis showed some flashes of serious potential as a rookie last season, but despite having a similar body build, Thanasis’ game isn’t all that comparable.

HIs defense should translate right away the next level, but Antetokounmpo’s inefficiency on offense might prevent him from getting on the floor. In 42 D-League games with the Delaware 87ers (possibly the only D-League nickname lamer than the Westchester Knicks), he averaged just 12.0 points despite playing close to 30 minutes a night. His 47 percent shooting from the field wasn’t terrible, but he only managed to make 30 percent of his threes and 66 percent of his free throws. The coaching staff, which is still non-existent at the moment, will have a lot of work to do in order to get some results out of the 51st overall pick.

57th Pick (via Indiana Pacers) – Louis Labeyrie

Phil surprised us all trading for one last pick during the draft’s final moments. Nobody knows if this guy is even real. Jonathan Givony of Draft Express describes the Frenchman as “an athletic, skinny, offensive rebounder.” We’ll take his word for it. Sounds like the next Frederic Weis if you ask me.

For those of you that hold on to these types of things, the Knicks officially traded Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Cleanthony Early, and Thanasis Antetokounmpo. Not too shabby.

Surprisingly, targets such as Patric Young and C.J. Fair went undrafted, so it’s possible that New York could still bring them on board at some point. As always, TOK will keep you updated.


Are you happy with the Knicks draft choices? Let us know in the comments section below!            

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4 thoughts on “Knicks Select Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo

  1. Early is very athletic-40″ vertical at the combine, so he has the explosiveness to be a solid defender. There certainly is some concern about him being 23, but I tell you what with how much a a crap shoot this is, I like taking this guy more than I do taking some of these 19yr olds, who are simply being take on ‘projections’:

    Exum, 19 and has never played in the US and hasn’t play competitvely in nearly a year?

    Elfrid Payton?
    Any of these European guys who won’t be here for 2yrs
    Tyler Ennis?

    Amazing to me…you have a guy who has shown he can score, inside and out, competes all the time and is a above average athlete. He needs to work on defense and ball handling, but finding a guy, who can shoot and score, like this, in round 2 is a nice job.

  2. Never is a long time buddy. I would like a dollar for every time somebody say’s that something cannot happen and they turn out being wrong.Don’t be too sure of yourself. Early plays his best against the toughest competition. Don’t judge a player before he’s even started. Cleanthony Early can be as good as he wants to be.

  3. Being 1 year older than an average college senior is a concern ? Give me a break. Oh no! he,s 1 year older than the average..better buy him a cane and a walker.For pete’s sake,cut the drama. If 23 is too old then 90% of the nba should be put out to pasture.

  4. Gary,

    ‘Cut the drama’? I simply stated ‘there is some concern’..but overall, I think it’s pretty obvious how I view the pick.

    Just look at the past 10 drafts and give the average age of guys taken in the first round, and I’ll be it’s likely below 20. The fact of the matter is if a guy is a 23yr old senior, scouts question why he hasn’t already been able to turn pro. Curry was a senior and so was Lillard, so there are definitely recent examples of guys disproving that theory. However, there aren’t many 4yr college players among the NBA’s ‘elite’. That’s the only point I was making. Either way, I do like the pick, especially in the 2nd round.


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