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Schmeelk: Singleton, Vucevic Among Knicks’ Frontcourt Options In NBA Draft

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Chris Singleton (credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Chris Singleton (credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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By John Schmeelk
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Which frontcourt players might be available for the Knicks to draft at No. 17? Between small forwards, power forwards and centers, there are quite a few players that might still be on the board.

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 the information for you die-hard Knicks fans.

Keep in mind that with Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, the need at forward is not great. In the case of a power forward, Stoudemire can always be moved to center if need be.

SMALL FORWARD

Chris Singleton: 6’9, 230 LBS, Florida State, Junior, 21 years old

Chris Singleton provides perhaps the one thing the Knicks need more than anything else: defense.

At 6’9, this long and lanky forward can guard three different positions. His shot showed great improvement from his sophomore to his junior season, and is starting to extend to beyond the three point line. His shot and the rest of his offensive game can be streaky, and he doesn’t use his size well to score in the paint.

He is someone that could play right away for the Knicks, though his minutes would be limited by Carmelo Anthony.

Jordan Hamilton: 6’8, 230 LBS, Texas, Sophomore, 20 years old

Hamiton scored more than 18 points per game in his second year with Texas, and did so in a variety of ways. He can hit the long jumper out to the three point line and bang inside. He’s a good rebounder and isn’t afraid of mixing it up. He can score in transition and get up and down the floor.

As one might expect, at 6’8 and 230 LBS, he doesn’t have great quickness side-to-side. Even more worrisome is his questionable shot selection and the tendency to lock in on the rim.

POWER FORWARD

Tristan Thompson: 6’9, 230 LBS, Texas, Freshman, 20 years old

A skilled big man, Thompson could have used a little more seasoning at Texas, but he certainly has the talent to be a lottery pick. His 7’2 wingspan makes up for the fact he is slightly undersized at power forward.

He rebounds the ball well, hustles, and can blocks shots with his long arms. He can score in a variety of ways, but is still working on his perimeter game. He has lots of talent but it might take a year or two to reach his potential. Stoudemire would be a good mentor for his game. Reminds me of Wilson Chandler.

Markieff Morris: 6’10, 240 LBS, Kansas, Junior, 21 years old

The lesser of the Morris brothers. The Knicks would love to have Marcus fall to them, but that is unlikely.

Markieff is more of a bruiser than his brother and doesn’t have the same polish on his offensive game. He has only started extending his jumper into the mid-range and his post game could use some refinement as well.

What he lacks on offense he makes up for on defense, the glass, and blocking shots. He is long, athletic, finishes with authority and has the body type to be an NBA power forward for a long time. He won’t develop into a star, but he could be a good 25-30 minute a night power forward that will play defense, rebound, and do the dirty work.

Bismack Biyombo: 6’9, 240 LBS, Baloncesto Fuenlabrada, International, 18 years old

This Congo native is one of the biggest mysteries in the draft. With some international experience in Europe, Biyombo’s physical traits are obvious.

He has an insane 7-7 wingspan and is very athletic for a big man. It all screams lock-down defender and rebounder. But make no mistake: he would be a huge project.

Biyombo really has no offensive game to speak of, and he is still learning how to play. Consider his upside to be Ben Wallace. Worst-case scenario: we never see him play meaningful minutes in the NBA.

Kenneth Faried: 6’8, 225 LBS, Morehead State, Senior, 21 years old

Faried caught everyone’s attention in the NCAA tournament with his rebounding and relentless play. What you see is what you get. Despite being undersized, his seven foot wingspan made him the best rebounder in the country. He relentlessly chases balls down and will bang with anyone in the paint. He jumps well and can be a weak-side shot blocker.

There are, however, plenty of knocks against him. He is still a little too thin and may not be strong enough to rebound as well on the pro level. He doesn’t have an offensive game either. Faried has a low ceiling but a high floor. He does what the Knicks need in a player, but can he complement Stoudemire?  

Tobias Harris: 6’8, 225 LBS, Tennessee, Freshman, 18 years old

He has every tool you would want in the shed on offense. He can shoot it, get to the basket, pass it and finish inside. His size, however, might force him to small forward on the NBA level.

He might also lack the athleticism to play PF position in the NBA. I’d be shocked if the Knicks rolled the dice on him as early as 17.

CENTER

Nikola Vucevic: 7’0, 260 LBS, USC, Junior, 20 years old

The Knicks could be a in a Landry Fields redux position in which a very productive player from the PAC-10 falls in their lap.

Last year, Vucevic averaged 17 points, 10 rebounds and more than a block a game. He has the body to play in the NBA today, and his 7’5 wingspan will allow him to rebound the ball well. The range on his jumper extends to the college three point line and he has a soft touch around the basket.

He isn’t a great athlete, but otherwise he would seem like a perfect fit in the Mike D’Antoni system.

Donatas Motiejunas: 7’0, 215 LBS, Benetton Treviso, International, 20 years old

Donatas has been playing professionally in Europe for a couple of seasons and NBA teams have gotten a good, long look at him. His strength is in the post where he displays excellent foot work, can score with both hands with a variety of moves, pass well and shoot it from mid-range. However, that range does not extend much past 12-15 feet.

His lack of strength might make it tougher to post-up and score inside in the NBA. Even more disturbing to some scouts is that he hasn’t shown much improvement in the past couple seasons. The feeling is he might have already peaked. He would likely be too much of a project for the Knicks at 17.

Potential Targets if the Knicks buy a second round pick: Jeremy Tyler, JuJuan Johnson, Trey Thompkins, Jordan Williams and Keith Benson.

On Thursday I’ll give my final verdict on who the Knicks should draft.

You can follow me on twitter throughout the NBA Draft at: http://twitter.com/#!/Schmeelk.

Knicks fans: do any of Schmeelk’s picks get you pumped? Let us know in the comments below…

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