- 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 wings.
WHY THE KNICKS MAY DRAFT A WING: One of the main reasons the Knicks won 54 games, a division title and first-round series last season was Carmelo Anthony's success as a power forward.
If the Knicks want to continue to play Anthony at power forward, they may need to find a wing to fill the void via the draft or free agency. Drafting a wing who can knock down shots and defend would allow Anthony to continue to play at power forward. It would also give the team insurance if free agent J.R. Smith signs elsewhere because the draftee, in theory, would help replace the offense New York would lose if Smith walks.
With that in mind, here are a few wing players who could be available for the Knicks on Thursday:
Glen Rice Jr. : There's some concern among evaluators about Rice Jr.'s makeup because he was kicked out of Georgia Tech. But he showed an NBA-ready game this past season in the D-League. He can defend and is versatile on offense -- two qualities that make him an attractive option for New York. Rice Jr. is also a strong rebounder. One knock? He needs to work on his jumper; apparently, his father forgot to pass that down to him.
Allen Crabbe: No one questions Crabbe's offensive repertoire. The Cal standout has great range on his jumper and can knock down the midrange jumper as well. The 6-foot-6 Crabbe can rebound well for his size, but there are concerns he's a bit undersized for his position and needs work on the defensive end.
Reggie Bullock: Bullock's stock has risen over the last few weeks, so he may not be available at No. 24. But if he is, the Knicks would be wise to draft him. The 6-foot-7 wing can score in transition and has great length. He's projected as a strong 3-point shooter, which is important in Mike Woodson's offense. Some say the UNC standout needs to add strength. But he appears to have the frame to do so.
Tim Hardaway Jr.: The biggest concerns about Hardaway Jr. are his shot selection and consistency. But according to someone who was in the room, Hardaway Jr. had a strong workout for the Knicks earlier this month. So that may sway the decision makers on Thursday night. On a positive note, Hardaway Jr. can get his shot off the dribble, get to the basket and be a strong defender when he's committed.
Jamaal Franklin: ESPN Senior NBA writer Chad Ford has Franklin ranked as the fifth-best shooting guard in the draft, so he may not be around when the Knicks pick. If he's available, the Knicks may pounce. According to Ford's latest mock draft, New York likes Franklin. And it's easy to see why: The former New Mexico star is an athletic, long-armed leaper who can get to the basket with ease. One drawback on Franklin is that he lacks consistency on his jump shot.
Tony Snell: The 6-foot-7 junior from New Mexico will likely be available for the Knicks at No. 24. He's long, athletic and can score off the catch-and-shoot, so he fits what New York's looking for in a wing. But the downside for Snell is that his ball handling needs work, which is one reason why he'll probably still be around when the Knicks pick.
QUESTION: If you are Glen Grunwald, would you draft a wing player on Thursday? If so, who would you go with?
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