By John Schmeelk
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Which backcourt players might be available for the Knicks to draft at No. 17? Here they are, broken down between point guards and shooting guards, in the order I believe them to be best available.
I haven’t watched these guys in live workouts, but I did see many in college. I’ve taken a look at as many scouting reports as I could find and consolidated all the information in one neat package for you die-hard Knicks fans.
Jimmer Fredette: 6’2, 195 LBS, BYU, Senior, 22 years old
It took me about ten minutes to decide whether or not to classify him as a point guard or shooting guard. Therein lies the problem.
A shooter stuck in a point guard’s body, Jimmer will have to learn to improve his playmaking ability on the pro level. We all know he can shoot, but does he have the athleticism to get off his shot against a good NBA defender? Can he pass like a point guard? Can he defend on the NBA level? Even with these questions, it’s more than likely he’ll be off the board when the Knicks pick, with reports saying he could go as high as No. 7 to Sacramento.
D’Antoni would love to have a shooter of his caliber off the bench.
Darius Morris: 6’5, 190 LBS, Michigan, Sophomore, 20 years old
In my mind, Morris is the best pure point guard in the draft after Kyrie Irving.
He has great size at 6’5, and likes to pass the ball as much as he likes to score it. He showed great improvement from his freshman to sophomore year, jumping from four to fifteen points per game, and from two to six assists. He comes from John Beilein’s system, where ball movement and sharing the ball, not one on one play, leads to success.
At 6’5 he isn’t the quickest point guard in the draft, but his handle and size will help him get into the lane. His achilles heel is his shooting, only hitting at a 25 percent clip from behind the arc.
Josh Selby: 6’3, 195 LBS, Kansas, Freshman, 20 years old
One of the biggest boom-or-bust picks in the draft. After being one of the top high school players in the country, his first year at Kansas could not have gone worse.
He was suspended the first nine games for taking illegal gifts in high school, and then he injured his ankle. He also ended up being a poor fit in the Jayhawks’ system, which didn’t take advantage of his ability to play off the dribble and get out in transition. More of combo guard who looks to score first and pass second, his superior athleticism could help him blossom into a top scorer on the pro level.
Charles Jenkins: 6’3, 220 LBS, Hofstra, Senior, 22 years old
I’ve read a couple opinions, saying Jenkins could end up being a better pro than Kemba Walker, a very comparable player. Both are scorers stuck in too-short bodies that will force them to play point guard, not their natural position.
His numbers as a senior at Hofstra were out of this world – 22 points, 5 assists, 52% FG and 42% 3PT. The kid can flat-out score and at 220 LBS will be ready to take the beating at the NBA level. Some question whether he is a good enough athlete to get around NBA defenders, but his good shooting should help him on the scoring end of things.
Think “spark off the bench” type of guy.
Reggie Jackson: 6’3, 208 LBS, Boston College, Junior, 21 years old
Another guy many consider a combo guard who likes to shoot more than he likes to pass. Are we sensing a trend here?
A great athlete with crazy speed and a ridiculous seven foot wingspan, he can get to the rim and shoot it. Late rumors are he has a promise somewhere in the first round.
Iman Shumpert: 6’6, 220 LBS, Georgiea Tech, Junior, 20 years old
If you want defense, this is your guy. With questionable passing and shooting skills, Shumpert uses his 6’6 size to lock down his opponent defensively. He has good instincts and quickness that leads to steals and allows him to get to the basket. Can’t really shoot and his decision making has been called into question.
He would be a reach for the Knicks at No. 17.
Klay Thompson: 6’7, 205 LBS, Washington, Junior, 21 years old
I’m becoming more and more convinced this is the Knicks’ true target in the draft. With a shooting touch equal to Jimmer Fredette and legit shooting guard size at 6’7, he could step into the Knicks’ starting lineup immediately and spread the floor for Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire.
He doesn’t have great athleticism to get to the basket or defend, but his size and shooting would be too much to pass up. Some mock drafts have him jumping into the top ten, which would be unfortunate for the Knicks.
Marshon Brooks: 6’5, 195 LBS, Providence, Senior, 22 years old
He averaged nearly 25 points per game last year for an awful Providence team, but still managed to shoot 48% from the field. A very good athlete with ridiculously long arms (more than a 7 foot reach) he knows how to score in every possible way.
His shot is more advanced than Alec Burks, but he could still use some work on his three pointer. With a terrible team at Providence, he took some bad shots and didn’t pass the ball much, but did he have a choice? If Brooks can prove to teams he has those intangible basketball skills like good instincts, passing ability, court vision and teammate involvement, he could become a star at the NBA level.
As for the Knicks, do they really need another guy that wants to score before anything else? (See: Carmelo Anthony)
Alec Burks: 6’6, 195 LBS, Colorado, Sophomore, 19 years old
He has everything you want in a shooting guard: size, reach, athleticism, ball-handling, explosiveness and the ability to get to the hole. One problem: He’s not a good shooter. That makes him a bad fit for the Knicks.
He is the most athletic of all the two-guards and shooting can be improved with reps, but it does add a measure of risk to this pick. He and Brooks are really a toss-up and I might flip their order before draft night.
Possible 2nd Round selections if the Knicks buy a pick: Andrew Goudelock, Isaiah Thomas (yes, I’m serious), Shelvin Mack, Malcolm Lee, Norris Cole.
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Look for the Knicks’ frontcourt options on Wednesday.
Knicks fans: do any of Schmeelk’s picks get you pumped? Let us know in the comments below…