Knicks draft primer
June, 27, 2012
By Jared Zwerling | ESPNNewYork.com
The NBA draft takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday on ESPN.
When do the Knicks pick?
They have the No. 48 in the second round.
Why don’t they have a first-round pick?
Based on a three-team, nine-player trade between the Knicks, Kings and Rockets in Feb. 2010, in which New York received Tracy McGrady and Sergio Rodriguez. The Rockets secured the Knicks' 2012 first-round pick, which is No. 16 overall.
Is there any possibility to trade into the first round?
Highly unlikely. The Knicks' only trade bait before free agency starts consists of Toney Douglas, Jerome Jordan and Josh Harrellson -- and being that this draft is one of the deepest from picks 20 to 40, teams won't want to settle for average to below-average transactions. The Knicks won't touch the Big Three or Iman Shumpert, who has the potential to develop into one of the best offensive and defensive shooting guards in the league. Overall, the team will make most of its moves after July 1.
What kind of player might they get with their pick?
Here are five prime candidates who could be there at No. 48 (in alphabetical order):
1. Jae Crowder (Marquette) -- The consensus on Crowder is, there isn't an exact position for him in the NBA. But that's because he's viewed as a very good all-around player who has the size (6-6, 235) to play inside and out. He was basically a double-double machine this past season, and he would likely become a fan favorite in New York for his defense, intensity, toughness, active motor and unique style (he has long dreadlocks). Perhaps most impressive is that he has an NBA-needed quick release and range out to 3-point territory.
2. Kim English (Missouri) -- Some of the recent mock drafts had the Knicks selecting English (6-6, 200), mostly because the team needs 3-point shooters and he's deadly in that department. After shooting 36.6 percent from downtown two seasons ago, he improved to 45.9 percent as a senior -- one of the best marks in the country. He's money in catch-and-shoot situations, especially because he doesn't drop the ball below his waist during his quick setup (Ray Allen-esque). With his high basketball IQ and intense D, he'll be a solid role player on an NBA team.
3. Bernard James (Florida State) -- James is as tough as they come, out of all the draft prospects. The Iraq war veteran has an NBA-ready body at 6-10, 240, and he should be able to make stops right away. That's exactly what Mike Woodson wants from everyone, and James knows a thing or two about the last line of defense. In his last two seasons, he averaged about 2.4 blocks per game. James is already 27 years old, but the Knicks shouldn't care. Because they want to compete immediately for a championship, they need experience and maturity.
4. Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette) -- Johnson-Odom is the most undersized out of this bunch at 6-2, but he makes up for this with his tenacity and strength (215 pounds). At the Nets' draft combine in mid-May, he was the best perimeter defender there. He was also the loudest one, calling out screens and back-picks, and aggressively getting up on guys and causing turnovers. He has some Shumpert in him. Offensively, he can stroke it from deep and score in the paint with creative playmaking, including NBA-like stop-on-the-dime moves.
5. Scott Machado (Iona) -- Machado (6-1, 180) says he's a top-three point guard in this draft class, and he's probably right. Last year he led Iona, a small Division I school, to the NCAA Tournament, while finishing first in the country in assists per game (9.9). His ball control is superior, and he passes well in traffic out of the paint -- a needed skill in the NBA. Machado can also D up (1.6 steals per game) and shoot the 3 (40.4 percent). He could drop in the draft since he's not very athletic (low-30s vertical). He also needs to work on speeding it up in the halfcourt.
The Knicks are coming off back-to-back wins in the second round (Landry Fields in 2010 and Harrellson in '11). Can they make it a third? Tune in Thursday night.
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