Every Wednesday at Turn On The Knicks our staff will debate an issue of the week surrounding the team here in Roundtable Format. Make sure to give everybody a follow on Twitter, along with follow the site right here. Let us know if you agree/disagree.
Who are your final thoughts and predictions for the NBA Draft?
Joe Caporoso - Not only is the Knicks course of action completely wide open, so is the entire first round, most notably the top few picks. The rumor mill is in full swing with plenty of big names reportedly on the trading block and many teams looking to slide up and down pending their situation. Personally, I’m not banking on the Knicks doing anything too flashy. Ultimately, I think they will stay put and take the best value present. I’m keeping an eye on Tony Mitchell, Nate Wolters and Ricardo Ledo. All three of them could immediately become role players and improve the Knicks depth in an area of need. At the top of round one, I think Cleveland finds a way to trade the pick and Nerlens Noel is going to slide a little further than many expect.
Chris Celletti – Where this draft may lack in surefire franchise players, it should make up for in unpredictability and excitement. When was the last time we were unsure of who the No. 1 pick was going to be this late in the game? (If I’m the Cavs, I’m taking Nerlens Noel, by the way.) And not that they’re an exact science by any stretch, but the mocks are all over the place. DraftExpress has potential Knicks target Reggie Bullock going 19th, NBADraft.net has him going 35th.
The Knicks, as it always seems to be on draft night when they actually have a selection, are part of that unpredictability. They can go a bunch of ways tomorrow night. There have been reports that they could even trade their 24th pick for the guy they took 48th last year and traded, Kostas Papanikolaou. Personally, I wouldn’t mind if they went this route. Some believe that if Papanikolaou was in this year’s draft, he’d go higher than 24, and the Knicks could also nab one of Portland’s three second round picks in return. There are players that are projected to go in the second round that the Knicks have shown interest in, like Bucknell big man Mike Muscala. Additionally, there are other players projected to go late who could end up being steals, like Detroit scorer Ray McCallum.
If the Knicks keep their 24th pick, they should go with the best player available. They have too many holes to try and zero in on a certain position. Personally, I’d be fine with the Knicks coming away with any of the following players at 24: Bullock, Tony Mitchell, Ricky Ledo, Nate Wolters, Rudy Gobert, or Allen Crabbe. There are probably others, too.
Kevin Smith - I’m not going to name any specific players because it’s impossible to know who will actually be on the board when the Knicks pick at 24, but it’s a must that they take a two-way player. Even on some of his worst nights, Melo can do enough to shoulder the offensive load, but the Knicks need an infusion of young legs, especially on the defensive side of the floor. I would prefer it to be a big man, but with such a low draft pick, it’s probably better for them to just take the best player available. At the very least, management needs to find an everyday rotation player after a failed win-now experiment. The opening night roster needs to have a balance of the veterans that are already in place and legitimate young talent, and it all starts with the 24th pick on Thursday night. One prediction I will make though, is that fans will be unhappy no matter what selection is made, despite my best efforts to prevent it.
Chris Connolly - No matter who the Knicks select with the 24th overall pick, they will quickly be humbled by boos from the Knicks faithful. Appeasing a fan-base as large as the Knicks is nearly impossible. While boos are going to be inevitable, the way the player handles the immediate adversity will be a telling sign of things to come. Fairly or unfairly, whoever the Knicks select will be thrown into the limelight and expected to produce right away for a team in “win-now” mode. A good strategy for the newcomer may be to take a page out of Iman Shumpert’s book. Shump, who was booed loudly, embraced the challenge and set out to change the views of Knicks fans from that day forward. Shump entered his rookie season with both intensity and charisma, and became an instant fan favorite. Knicks fans may boo you from the start, but in reality they are just issuing a challenge for you to make them believers. From the time the commissioner announces the selection, it will be in the players hands whether they turn out to be a fan favorite like Iman Shumpert, or a bust like Frederic Weis.
As for predictions, I wouldn’t put anything past the Knicks. Glen Grunwald has shown to be very creative, and a trade for a player or higher pick should not be out of the realm of possibilities. Also, don’t be surprised to see the Knicks acquire a second round pick. One thing is for sure, the Knicks have been very quiet leading up to the draft. With no players who clearly distinguish themselves as a clear cut favorite, draft night should be very interesting.