Rapid Reaction: Kostas Papanikolaou at 48
June, 28, 2012
By Jared Zwerling | ESPNNewYork.com
Petras Malukas/AFP/GettyImagesKostas Papanikolaou's contract with Olympiacos has two years left on it.WHAT IT MEANS: Likely favorites Scott Machado (Iona), Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette) and Hollis Thompson (Georgetown) were available to the New York Knicks with the 48th pick, but they probably felt none of them could make an impact next season. Instead, the Knicks went with forward Kostas Papanikolaou (Greece), who probably won't be available until the 2013-14 season. That's because his contract with Olympiacos has two years left on it. It does, however, have a reasonable $1 million buyout option next summer.
BIGGEST POSITIVES: The lefty Papanikolaou (6-8, 225) is a little bit of a cross between foreign NBA players Manu Ginobili and Carlos Delfino. He has some craftiness like Ginobili -- he has crossover moves, can split defenders and knows how to finish -- but he's not as good of a passer. Papanikolaou is a pure scorer, who also demonstrates defensive intensity like Delfino. In fact, he'll hustle back and make blocks in transition. Like both of the current NBA players, Papanikolaou's best asset is arguably his 3-point shot.
BIGGEST NEGATIVE: That he likely won't play next season. The Knicks were coming off back-to-back wins in the second round (Landry Fields in 2010 and Josh Harrellson in '11). With what was available, there was a sense they could've done it again.
WHAT'S NEXT: What this draft pick represents is that the Knicks are really focused on re-signing their own free agents (Jeremy Lin, Steve Novak, J.R. Smith and Fields) and adding about two new veteran players in the offseason. The Knicks' biggest prize will be winning the early Bird Rights ruling and then using their mid-level exception of $3 million to sign one of the top four point guards available come July 1: Steve Nash, Andre Miller, Jason Kidd or Raymond Felton.
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