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Who do you prefer the New York Knicks take with the 24th overall pick in the NBA Draft?
Joe Caporoso - Considering their position in the first round, the Knicks need to focus on adding the best player available instead of reaching for a specialist who they think could fill a specific need. If Shane Larkin falls to #24, he’d be terrific value and the type of player who could give quality rotation minutes immediately. Tony Mitchell is probably a more realistic target at 24 and brings a strong collection of skills and the potential to develop into a complete player in the Knicks frontcourt rotation. Another player to keep an eye on is Ricardo Ledo, who some might consider a reach but has the potential to bring needed offensive firepower.
Chris Celletti - There seems to be a number of intriguing prospects that will be available at 24 for the Knicks. Of course, we have zero idea how any of these players will pan out, but this seems to be a deep, solid if unspectacular draft. The Knicks have plenty of holes, and I personally would like to see them add as many two-way players as they can. This team has plenty of specialists as is.
With that being said, I think the Knicks are in a position to take the best player available, regardless of position. There are a few guys in particular I’d be excited to see still on the board when the Knicks pick, namely Reggie Bullock and Tim Hardaway, Jr. While neither guy is lauded for his defense, both are athletic wing players that can shoot. In today’s NBA, you can never have enough threats from distance. Also, it would be reasonable to think that with some proper coaching and experience, both could become solid-enough defenders.
The Knicks can definitely use some help on the glass as well, so Gorgui Dieng, Jeff Withey wouldn’t make me want to punch something either. Nor would French project Rudy Gobert, although I know I would be in the severe minority there.
Kevin Smith - It’s hard to be picky about who the Knicks select with their 24th overall pick. More important than taking anyone specific, I think it’s critical that they draft the best player available, regardless of position. With such a low pick, you never know what you’re going to get so rather than harp on a team need, it makes more sense to get the most talent possible. Also, now isn’t the time to draft a project. Whoever they select needs to be ready to contribute from day one. This team is seriously cash strapped and it’s not every year they even own a draft pick so the Knicks need to make the most out of it.
That being said, there are certainly players that I like better than others. The name most commonly being floated around is Shane Larkin, and it’s hard to complain with him. The guy I’m gunning for though is Tim Hardaway Jr. His stock is rising after a wonderful combine performance a few weeks ago, so he’ll most likely be gone by the time that the Knicks select, but come draft night, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for either him or Louisville big man Gorgui Dieng.
Chris Connolly - Going into the draft the Knicks have two direct needs: A backup point guard and front court help. In the Pacer series, the Knicks front court was exposed. After injury plagued seasons for both Marcus Camby and Amar’e Stoudemire, it will be difficult for the Knicks to rely on them playing an integral role going into next season. With that said, Tony Mitchell out of North Texas could be a great fit for this Knicks team. Mitchell, a 6-8 forward with a 7-3 wingspan, would bring youth and athleticism to an aging front court. Mitchell may also be the best athlete in the entire draft.
Many people thought Mitchell would come out after his freshman season at North Texas in which he averaged 14.7 points a game. Instead he returned to school, and after a down season he may have hurt his draft stock. I wouldn’t look too deep into his offensive numbers. After all, he played at a small school and had very little help lightening the offensive load. He was often double or tripled teamed every time he touched the ball. What you do know about Mitchell is that you are getting an inside presence, who at worst will turn into a quality rebounder and shot-blocker. There have been some questions on Mitchell’s work ethic and motivation. This is something that would addressed early by the Knicks veteran front court players.
On June 27, if the Knicks come out of the draft with Tony Mitchell at number 24, I would call the draft a success. If Mitchell progresses into the player he has the potential to be, he may wind up being the steal of this draft. Mitchell’s combination of length and athleticism could be exactly what the doctor ordered for the Knicks. With all the athletic tools Mitchell possesses, the sky is the limit for his potential in the league.
Chris DiGioia - After a lackluster display of inside presence that the Knicks showcased this post-season, many fans are going to call for another big man to give Tyson Chandler some help. There is only one problem, it’s going to be tough to fit in anyone in the front-court. Carmelo Anthony has been accustomed to be playing power forward in the small-ball lineup, and although we don’t know how healthy he’ll remain, Amare Stoudemire is still going nowhere. Kenyon Martin is getting old, and I’m not calling him an All-Pro player, but if he conditions himself correctly he can be serviceable in most front-courts.
Finally, that leads me to the 24th pick. With questions of where JR Smith is going to land, the Knicks must be able to surround Carmelo with more offensive firepower. Having a one-on-one player who can create his own shot will take obviously take pressure over Carmelo in the long-run. Erick Green, guard out of the University of Virginia, seems to have a bright future in the league. Green was the leading scorer in all of college basketball last season, averaging a whopping 25.0 points per game.