Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Draft prospect Canaan loves New York
By Jared Zwerling
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Draft prospect Isaiah Canaan, a point guard from Murray State, arrived in New York for the first time on Tuesday night like an excited tourist.
"I flew in at nighttime and that was one of the best things I've seen," he said Wednesday at the Knicks' training facility. "I was amazed just flying in at nighttime."
Canaan is projected to be picked in the late first or early second round of the June 27 draft. He said he was "motivated" during his Knicks workout -- which he said went "real good" -- knowing the team is planning to add depth at his position after Jason Kidd's retirement.
Isaiah Canaan will enter the NBA after four years at Murray State.
"It's a great opportunity for me personally to showcase that I can come in and play," said Canaan, who noted that head coach Mike Woodson was involved in the workout. "You can learn from a guy like Raymond Felton and Carmelo [Anthony], so it's a great opportunity for me to come in and know that they need a guard."
The 6-0, 188-pound Canaan averaged 21.8 points per game as a senior. While his 3-point percentage dropped from .456 in 2011-12 to .370 this past season, he's still regarded as one of the best point guard prospects at shooting off screens and off the dribble. His biggest pitch is proving he can make plays for others on the next level. He only averaged 4.3 assists per game as a senior.
"In order for us to win at Murray State, I had to score the basketball, so that's what I was forced to do," he said. "But if I have players around me that they pay a lot of money to score the basketball, I don't have a problem [passing] as well. I'm all about winning."
Canaan is a shorter and less athletic version of Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, the NBA's reigning Rookie of the Year, who also played mid-major college ball, at Weber State.
"He came from a small school like myself," Canaan said of Lillard. "He really gave an opportunity for guys like me."
Canaan said he's also "real close" to the Clippers' Chris Paul, and he tries to emulate the All-Star's game.
"We met at his camp last summer when I decided to come back to school. He's a great guy," Canaan said. "I had a chance to play against him and we exchanged numbers, and stayed in touch throughout the season. He really admired my game. He liked what I did.
"One day, I want to be able to do some of the things, if not better, than he did throughout his career."
Canaan might be undersized, but he's thinking big.
"I'm very confident. I'm a competitor," he said. "I'm not going to back down to nobody."