Undrafted Free Agents Who Would Be Steals for NY Knicks
After a deep draft like this, there could be some hidden gems amongst those that went undrafted, and for a team like the Knicks, this is a perfect chance to add talent on the cheap.
There are no guarantees when it comes to undrafted players—after all, there is a reason they weren't taken—but it's not out of the question that the Knicks could find themselves a worthwhile prospect or even a rotation player if they move swiftly enough.
So far in his tenure, Phil Jackson has shown a great eye for value, moving Tyson Chandler for a solid package and selecting Cleanthony Early in the second round. If he wants to continue that trend, it's worth giving the following undrafted free agents an invite to training camp.
Going into the draft, the Knicks were rumored to be interested in Patric Young as early as pick No. 34 according to the New York Post's Marc Berman, so it was surprising to see them pass on him three times.
If the rumors were true, though, it's hard to see them passing up a fourth time, as this has worked out perfectly for Phil Jackson to get his hands on every prospect he wanted.
Young isn't particularly skilled on offense (especially in the post), but weighing in at 250 pounds, he's a very physically imposing player. He's built like a taller DeJuan Blair and uses that strength to his advantage on the defensive end.
As a rebounder, Young isn't as impressive as he should be considering the space he can take up in the paint, but that's a skill that can be taught over time. After all, rebounding comes down to effort, and with his strength, he's already at an advantage over his opponents.
The main issue is that Young stands at only 6'10", but he has a decent wingspan and the athleticism to make up for that. As Dwight Howard has proven time after time, you don't necessarily need to be a 7-footer to make an impact on the defensive end.
After trading Tyson Chandler, the Knicks are extremely thin at center right now, so signing Young is an absolute no-brainer. If they find a starter in free agency, he'd make a solid backup who can hold his own physically and defensively at the NBA level.
Position: Point Guard
After acquiring Jose Calderon and Shane Larkin to go with Pablo Prigioni, the Knicks' point guard rotation is pretty much set. But it won't hurt to continue to add youth, especially considering the collective age of the trio.
With that in mind, Bryce Cotton would be an obvious candidate. He's not the best when it comes to creating and getting to the rim, but he's a sharpshooter and fits the mold of a typical point guard in the triangle offense.
It may be a bit of a stretch, but Cotton has a little Derek Fisher in him in that sense. He had a 62 percent true shooting percentage last season according to Draft Express, displaying NBA range and smart shot selection at the college level.
At 6'0", 163 pounds, Cotton isn't a particularly impressive athlete, but that's not his game. If the Knicks bring him in, they'll do so in the hopes of finding someone to spread the floor in two-point guard lineups.
Position: Point Guard
College: Arizona State
Another point guard worth considering is Jahii Carson, an undersized prospect who gets by on explosiveness and raw athleticism.
Carson will undoubtedly get a lot of attention around the league for his speed and ball-handling. All things considered, he was one of the fastest players with the ball available in the draft this year.
There's certainly potential for an explosive scorer off the bench here—Carson can hit the three, score in transition and get to the rim—but the odds are stacked against him as a 5'11", 168-pound point guard.
Unfortunately, Carson will struggle on defense at the NBA level, and his athleticism won't stand out quite so much at the league's most stacked position. But knowing that he's capable of highlight reels like this, it's worth giving him a shot. The upside is certainly there.
Position: Power Forward
Even after drafting three frontcourt players, it's still a huge area of need for the Knicks, and adding another young forward would do no harm.
Khem Birch was ranked as one of the better high school recruits available in 2011, but he fell off the radar after a quick transfer from Pitt to UNLV.
Though he clearly hasn't lived up to expectations, Birch remains a very enticing athlete who could make the Knicks at forward or center. He's only 6'9", but he also has explosive leaping ability and a 7-foot wingspan. Height won't be an issue for him.
Instead, the issue for Birch is skill. Nothing stands out about his offensive game besides his athleticism, and he hasn't shown many signs of making improvements on that end of the floor.
On the bright side, he's a hardworking rebounder on both ends and has the makings of a solid shot-blocker, too.
Like Patric Young, Birch is definitely someone the Knicks should try out. Even without a refined skill set, players built like this are hard to come by.
College: Arizona State
A teammate of Jahii Carson's at Arizona State, Jordan Bachynski is worth bringing into camp for his height alone.
Standing at 7'2", the center is taller than any player taken in the draft, and that's an attribute that can't be taught.
Of course, height alone doesn't guarantee a productive player, but Bachynski was a good rebounder and defender at college, displaying surprising quickness and skill around the rim.
Bachynski will need to add to his frame to compete with the stronger centers he'll face at the NBA level, as he currently looks set to be abused on the block. Most of his success on defense came from his shot-blocking rather than one-on-one work in the post.
The chances of Bachynski being an immediate contributor are slim to say the least, but this is the type of player that's worth stashing in the D-League until some skill and strength are added to his height.