It’s been a glorious few days for Knick fans because James Dolan made the bad man fly. The sabotage artist Phil Jackson is finally gone. After constantly bashing Melo in public and then trying to trade Porzingis was just mind blowing. So Phil tried to trade both of the Knicks stars and was still fine. The last straw was to buyout Melo and get nothing return. All these moves sound like a guy that was trying to get fired, and that’s exactly what happened. It’s sad that a good day for the Knicks is when they fire someone. This newsletter actually isn’t about Phil anymore; it’s about the new guys this organization drafted.
# 8 Overall-Frank Ntilikina, PG, France-
I’m usually not a big fan of the French, but this guy is the exception. Once again we have a point guard with great height at 6-5 and very explosive. He also has a wingspan of a freaking Bald Eagle (7FT). He a true pass first point guard, and always looks for his teammates and the better shot. He loves to run the floor and get out on the break, which complements his passing game so well. The big question with Frank the Tank is he needs to be a more consistent shooter, with a bit of an awkward release. He will need to figure that part of his game out for him to hit his ridiculously high ceiling. He also needs to be more of a leader as the floor general. He needs to take more control of games because he has the ability to do it. He almost has that shy mentality, like when the Greek Freak came into the league. Finally this year the Greek Freak got that chip on his shoulder and went at people, especially when he went after LeBron again and again, and it was glorious. The Knicks needed a PG in the worst way and they liked Frank a lot and pulled the trigger on him over Dennis Smith Jr. and Malik Monk. Frank is very young and will need at least a couple years to really develop which is fine because he can grow with KP and this organization. If the rebuild goes as plan which it never does for the Knicks, they will look like they have a killer international pick and roll game with Frank, KP, and 1st team rookie member Guillermo Hernangomez.
#44 Overall- Damyean Dotson, SG, Houston-
Dotson has had a rough path to the draft and will look to leave the past behind him. He started his college career at Oregon. Then in 2014 he was dismissed from “The Gon” because of a sexual assault case against him. The charges were dropped and he moved onto the University of Houston. Last year, he averaged 17.4 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game, and shot 44% from three. Those are pretty solid numbers for a guy that fits today’s NBA shooting guard. He is listed at 6-6 and 205 pounds and is extremely athletic. You combine his elite three point shooting, his rebounding, and his athleticism and you look like you have a solid player. Of course the off-court issues raise a red flag especial with being in a big media city like New York. He also is one of the older players in this draft at 23, but that isn’t necessary such an awful thing. He could definitely earn minutes with his shooting ability for the Knicks, because they need knock-down shooters in the worst way.
#58 Overall- Ognjen Jaramaz, PG, Serbia-
The Serb has a lot of White Chocolate to his game. He loves to run in transition and push the tempo with very good handles. He is listed at 6-4, so he has really good height for the position, and is also very athletic. This Serb isn’t a shooter which is odd, but he can get to the rim and finish. It looks like this will be a stash pick for the Knicks and the last time they did that, Hernangomez turned out to be a real find.
As you can see this organization has taken an international flavor to it and I kind of like it. Now they just need a new President and maybe coach to fit their style. Let’s just hope Isiah Thomas isn’t walking through the Garden doors, because Dolan made the good move of letting Phil go, but that only means he is setting us hope for another disastrous move. God being a Knicks fan is rough.
Diamonds in the Rough?
Nigel Hayes, F , 6-8 254 Dec. 6, 1994 Wisconsin/USA:
If you like college basketball then you should know who Nigel Hayes is. He has been a solid force for Wisconsin for the last four years. The once a 4 star recruit according to 247, is getting his shot at the next level. Personally I think he has a great chance at making this team. As a freshman Hayes was a contributor right away. He won Big Ten 6th man of the year and was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team. He didn’t have a sophomore slump as he was the third leading scorer on the Badgers national runner up squad and named third team All-Big Ten. Then Hayes really took his game to the next level and became the face of the Badgers. He led Wisconsin in scoring (15.7 points per game), assists (3.0) and free-throw attempts (258) and finished second in rebounds (5.8 per game), which lead to him being named to the first team All-Big Ten. After his junior year, there was some talk that he would leave early for the NBA, but decided to come back which might have not been the best idea. He had a bit of a dip in his production as a senior with averaging 14.0 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and only shot.59% from the charity stripe (worst since his freshman year). Looking on the bright side his 6.6 RPG were a career best at his 6-8 status. He improved his 3 point percentage from his big junior year going from 29% to 31%, and that is big because at the next level he will be a bit of a tweener from SF/PF. This might be a bit of a problem on the defensive side of the ball because he has to be quicker to play the small forward spot. With all that said he will be battling Maurice N’dour the 6-9 PF and one of the 9 Plumlee brothers that played some minutes last year.
Luke Kornet, F, 7-1 250 Jul. 15, 1995 Vanderbilt/USA
Kornet is another well-known name in the college basketball world. He played for four years at Vanderbilt. He left Vandy as the all-time leader for blocked shots in the school’s history.He was named All-SEC First Team Offense and Defense as well as the SEC’s Academic Scholar of the Year this year. He was also named All-SEC First Team Defense in 2016 as well. Luke is a rare breed; you can almost say Unicorn like, as he is a legit 7-footer that can space the floor. So he fits in this current NBA style offensively, but not so much on the defensive side of the ball. He does time blocks well as he averaged 2 a game at Vandy, but he struggles to guard pick and roll. Luke does need to get stronger because at times he gets pushed around on the block in defense and rebounding. He has some potential because not many guys can do what he does but he does have glaring weaknesses that must be fixed up or at least get to average for him to really stick.
Dominique Jones, G, 6-4 215 Oct. 15, 1988 South Florida/USA Adad/Iran
Jones was a stud at USF in the old Big East. As a freshman he averaged 17.1 points per game, as a sophomore he avergad 18.1 points per game, and as junior he averaged 21.4 points per game. Jones was also named to the 1st team All-Big East team that year. In the 2010 NBA Draft, hee was selected by the Memphis Grizzlies 25th overall, and later the Grizzlies traded his rights to the Dallas Mavericks. He spent 3 seasons with Dallas;
As you can see he was a terrible 3-point shooter and but still contributed each year. After the 2012-2013 season Do-Jo went overseas. While bouncing around he had some pretty good success;
He put up some pretty big numbers overseas, but still has not found his 3 point shooting which is still a big concern. Right now he is a slasher that has pretty good vision, but if he wants to make it in the NBA he will need to be able to bang some three’s in. He will definitely get his chance in Vegas with the Knicks.
We will need to wait a couple of years maybe more to see how this raft class works out, but it looks to have a balance of big potential and safer players. It could work out to have some big stars and some role players. The bigger question for this Knicks class is how will be leading them?