The New York Knicks currently have 12 of their 15 roster spots full heading into training camp. Last season the Knicks went into camp with a full roster of 15 members and we should expect the same in the 2013-2014 season. With three spots left, which players should fill them?
The Knicks have a glaring need at the backup point guard position. Multiple names have been linked to filling the Knicks 3rd PG roll on the team including, Beno Udrih, Delonte West, Bobby Brown and New York native Sebastian Telfair. Looking to take the internal route to filling the void, the Knicks have invited combo guard Toure Murry to training camp.
Murry, out of Witchita State, went undrafted in the 2012 draft and spent last season in the D-League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. In 46 games, in which he started 30, Murry averaged 8.3 points, 2.8 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. His game really picked up where it mattered most, in the D-League playoffs. In the post season, Murry averaged 14.0 points, 4.8 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game, which was obviously sure to catch the eye of many NBA scouts.
In the Knicks summer league, Murray played in 6 games in which he averaged 7.1 points, 2.1 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game. The one number that might alarm some Knicks fans would be that he averaged 2.0 turnovers during summer league play. However just using the “eye test” Murry had some stand-out plays, including this steal/assist, which included some fancy handles and a behind-the-back pass.
The 6’5 Murry can run the point or play shooting guard, while defending both positions well. Murry posses quick hands, hence the number of steals per game, and also is an active defender. He still has a great deal to learn about the point guard position, including his pick and roll game, but at 23 years old, he should inject some youth into that position for the Knicks in 2013. It would be wise for the Knicks to keep him on the roster heading into the season, as well as fellow Knicks summer league standout Jeremy Tyler.
The player on the receiving end of that Murray pass, Jeremy Tyler, also received an invitation to the Knicks training camp. Tyler is your prototypical power forward in the NBA, standing 6’10″ and around 260 lbs. He has a back to the basket game, a decent mid-range jump shot and when he gets to the basket he is an explosive finisher.
Tyler spent time with the Golden State Warriors last season, in which he failed to make a great impression, but wound up spending most of his time with the D-League affiliate Santa Cruz Warriors. He was pretty dominant in D-League play, averaging 16.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 0.6 blocks and 0.6 steals per game. Like Murry, Tyler also elevated his game in the playoffs, in which he averaged 20.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and 1.2 steals per game.
Tyler is a bit raw as a big man and has work to do in order to receive serious minutes in the NBA. The biggest knock on him is that despite his 6’10″ frame he plays like a much smaller player. How is this possible? Well when Tyler receives the ball he typically brings the ball down to his waist, which therefore leaves him susceptible to having it knocked away or stolen. he also needs to develop the jump shot a bit in order to become a threat in the pick and pop game.
That being said, Tyler will have to continue his impressive play in training camp and show that he could benefit the Knicks roster now, or the team may opt to sign some veteran to round out the roster. The Knicks already have four big men on in Tyson Chander, Amare Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani and Kenyon Martin, however, the Knicks desperately need to inject some youth into their front court. Tyler should develop into a consistent player in due time, after all he is just 22 years old.
Both Murry and Tyler will have to earn their spots, but ultimately both should be welcomed additions to the Knicks and should start somewhat of a youth movement for the bench, along with rookies C.J. Leslie and Tim Hardaway Jr.