Draft lookahead: Rating the PGs

May, 20, 2011
5/20/11
7:39
AM ET
When your No. 1 point guard is ready to undergo a second MRI to determine exactly why his knee isn't healing quickly, and when your No. 2 point guard is coming off major surgery for a torn labrum, you start to wonder about your depth at that position.

And given that Chauncey Billups is entering the final year of his contract, and that Toney Douglas proved in the playoffs that he is not yet ready to be a prime-time player, it gets you thinking about whether the New York Knicks will look to strengthen that position when they select at No. 17 in next month's NBA draft.

Much will depend on whether any of the centers on the Knicks' draft board drop to No. 17, as several key members of the team have said a defensive presence in the middle to lighten the workload for Amare Stoudemire should be the No. 1 offseason priority.

But if all the big guys the Knicks like are gone, the smart money says you go the "best available player" route and fill a need -- of which the Knicks have many.

We'll be looking at the draft position by position in this blog over the next month as the draft approaches, beginning today with the point guard spot.

Kyrie Irving of Duke, Brandon Knight of Kentucky and Kemba Walker of UConn should be long gone by the time New York picks, so here are five point guards who have a decent or better-than-decent shot at being available to the Knicks on draft night:

•  Josh Selby, Kansas. My ESPN colleague Chad Ford was especially impressed by Selby at pre-draft workouts in Las Vegas and has Donnie Walsh selecting this freshman in his latest Mock Draft (Insider), believing coach Mike D'Antoni's wide-open style would suit Selby's athletic skill set better than the Jayhawks' system, in which Selby often brought the ball upcourt, fed it to the Morris twins and then spotted up. Selby, a Baltimore native, shot only 37 percent from the field and averaged 7.9 points and 2.2 assists in just over 20 minutes per game. He missed nine games due to a suspension and three with an ankle injury, and he is viewed more as a combo guard than a pure point. "Sometimes you just have to decide what is best for your career," Selby told Ford. "I loved the guys at Kansas. I loved that for the first time in my life, I really had some stability, a roof over my head, steady meals and a support system. But I felt like my game may be better-suited at the NBA. I know it's a risk, but my whole life has been about taking risks."

• Jimmer Fredette, BYU. Again here we have a player who is more of a combo guard than a pure point, but don't doubt for a second that the Knicks would scoop up this scoring machine if he is still on the board at No. 17 -- something I see as unlikely. Scouts tend to have a love-him/hate-him mentality when assessing Fredette's NBA prospects, some saying he is too slow to defend opposing backcourt players, others saying his shooting range and his scorer's mentality make him a can't miss prospect. And since the Knicks are a team that values a player's ability to hit the 3-point shot above all else, he would seem to be a candidate to fill the offensive hole they had at the 2-guard spot last season with Landry Fields starting all but one game. Remember how the Knicks said they would have to find replacements for the assets they gave up in the Carmelo Anthony trade, namely shooting and size? The Jimmer replaces the missing shooting.

• Reggie Jackson, Boston College. If he turns into an NBA stud, maybe they'll name a candy bar after him. Wouldn't be the first time. The most intriguing thing about the 6-foot-3 Jackson is his 7-foot wingspan, but his on-court resume includes an improvment in 3-point shooting from 29 percent to 42 percent last season when he led Boston College in scoring and assists. I can't see the Knicks taking him if Fredette is still on the board, but I like him better than Selby. Knicks scouts will be watching closely to see how he shoots the ball at pre-draft camp in Chicago this week, because there are questions out there over whether his improved 3-point shooting was a fluke or a sign of things to come.

• Charles Jenkins, Hofstra. A one-man offensive show for Hofstra, Jenkins averaged 22.5 points last season and shot nearly 52 percent from the field despite having every opposing defense keying on him. Few have him projected to be drafted higher than No. 25, and again he is more of a combo guard than a pure point. But let's not forget that Billups and Douglas also played as combo guards last season, and the Knicks' need for scoring from the 2 position following Fields' flameout over the final two months of the season will be a big factor driving their decision-making process. Also, Jenkins has a rugged, strong body that reminds some of Deron Williams. Another player whose stock could rise or fall precipitously in Chicago this week.

•  Darius Morris, Michigan. Ford calls him the most improved player in college last season, and it's no secret that scouts and GMs love point guards with size. Morris, 6-foot-4, is more of a floor general and a perimeter defender than an offensive-minded point, and the scouting report on him is to make him go to his left, which he struggles to do. Probably not rated high enough for the Knicks to take him at No. 17, but if Walsh is able to buy up second-round picks (the Lakers have four, and the Clippers have three) and is still seeking a point guard -- assuming the 17 pick is used on a big -- he could be an opportunity pick if he lasts through the first round.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 8.1
AssistsP. Prigioni 3.5
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2