- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Leading up to the draft, we're going to take a look at a few prospects who could be available for the Knicks at pick No. 24.
Today, we'll break down the big men.
WHY THE KNICKS MAY GO BIG: The Knicks thought they'd fortified their center position last summer when they executed a sign-and-trade to land Marcus Camby. Camby, the thinking went, would be the perfect backup to Tyson Chandler.
Didn't quite work out that way.
Camby played just 24 games due to injury last year and was a non-factor in the playoffs. The Knicks' lack of size really hurt them in the playoffs -- they were out rebounded by 10.4 boards per game against Indiana. They were also outscored by 40 points in the paint in the series.
So New York will likely look to add a young big man either via free agency or the draft -- preferably one who can score.
If they choose to use the 24th pick on a big man Thursday night, here are a few options:
GORGUI DIENG: Due in part to injury (ankle, knee), Dieng's stock has slipped a bit in the draft. Many analysts expect the Louisville center to be available when the Knicks pick on Thursday night.
At 6-11 with a 7-4 wingspan, Dieng would likely be able to contribute right away defensively. He has range on his jump shot and can face up but there are questions surrounding his offense and how it translates to the NBA.
Based on their lack of scoring on the front line, the Knicks may opt for a more polished offensive player.
TONY MITCHELL: If it's scoring the Knicks are looking for, then Mitchell's the guy. The 21-year-old from North Texas is long (6-8), athletic and can guard multiple positions, which is a plus for the Knicks' pick and roll coverage.
One knock on Mitchell is the range on his jumper, but ESPN NBA Senior writer Chad Ford says the sophomore has all the tools to succeed in the NBA.
Many experts, Ford included, believe the Knicks will select Mitchell if he is available on Thursday.
JEFF WITHEY: Similar to Dieng, the 7-0 Withey could provide the Knicks with an immediate presence on defense. The Kansas product is a strong paint and rim defender and his shot-blocking should translate easily to the next level.
Withey is mobile and can convert around the basket but there is a concern that he's limited to shots near the rim and lacks a post game. Those are issues the Knicks may consider if Withey is there at 24.
MIKE MUSCALA: Muscala is one of the most skilled offensive big men in the draft. He has solid range on his shot and a polished low-post game. He rebounds the ball well and can block shots but there are question marks about his athleticism and whether it will hinder him on the defensive end.
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