Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who will the New York Knicks will select in the 2013 NBA Draft?
Jared Zwerling, ESPN NewYork.com (12:07 PM)
You basketball fans have heard it for weeks: The 2013 NBA Draft is going to be the craziest one yet.
Unfortunately, the frenetic draft craze isn’t because of the preponderance of blue chip talent. Really, it’s going to be crazy for the exact opposite reason – there are no guaranteed stars in the mix.
Picking a superstar out of this mess ahead of time is like trying to decide between chicken and carnitas when Chipotle Mexican Grill runs out of barbacoa beef.
Fortunately for the Knicks, there’s only one draft decision to make this year.
Unfortunately, with only one draft pick in the holster (thanks to the David Lee sign-and-trade!) and limited free agent cap space, the Knicks will have to really sweat their 2013 selection.
Still, the sole Knicks draft pick represents an economically friendly solution for the cap space-starved franchise. There’s some rotation value to be had in the later stages of the draft, with guys available who can add much needed depth and youth to New York’s roster.
Option #1: Gorgui Dieng, 6’11”, Louisville.
College Career Per-Game Averages: 8.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 54.5% FG.
The Knicks have openly flirted with the idea of grabbing a young big man, and Gorgui Dieng would be the best on the board by the time No. 24 rolls around.
Having just won an NCAA championship, Dieng isn’t afraid of the big stage. Dieng was a big part of Rick Pitino’s pressure cooker defense in Louisville, establishing himself as a rangy back line body capable of disrupting easy drives to the tin and starting quick fast breaks for their guards.
Dieng isn’t a total liability on offense, having invented a neat mid-range jumper to go along with deft post finishing skills. He can be used as a pick-and-roll big on certain possessions, and a solid bench big to spell Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire.
Option #2: Tony Mitchell, 6’9”, North Texas.
College Career Per-Game Stats: 13.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 49% FG.
With Dieng slated in some mock drafts to be gone by No. 24, the Knicks should open up their draft plan to include Tony Mitchell. Although he’s from a small school, Mitchell has received tons of buzz because of his freakishly long wingspan (7’3”) and explosive athleticism.
Last year, Mitchell averaged 13 points and 8.5 rebounds per contest to go along with a terrorizing 2.7 blocks. He’s a raw talent with much work to do on both sides of the ball, but as fellow B/R columnist Ciaran Gowan voiced yesterday, he’s the one prospect the Knicks can’t pass up.
Option #3: Allan Crabbe, G, 6’6”, California.
College Career Per-Game Stats: 15.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 44.6% FG.
If Dieng and Mitchell are gone by No. 24, the Knicks should go for the best player available. For that, I like Allen Crabbe from Cal. Crabbe is a catch-and-shoot aficionado with a nice fluid jumper, able to space the floor with his shot to open up space for Carmelo and J.R. to create.
Crabbe isn’t an explosive athlete, but has the body and drive to be a competent defender. If Crabbe wants to see any meaningful playing time in Madison Square Garden, he’ll have to rise above the fray of current one-dimensional specialists that populate the Knicks roster.