Knicks have successful first NBA Draft under guidance of Phil Jackson

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

On Thursday night, the Knicks’ total haul from their trade with the Mavericks reached six players, with the selections of Cleanthony Early out of Witchita State at No. 34 overall, and Thanasis Antetokounmpo from the NBA D-League at No. 51 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft.

USATSI_7588981_110579513_lowresSometimes it’s trickier to spot potential diamonds in the rough when moving away from the cream of the crop and into the second round. But as he continues to prove, not only his eye for talent, but his ability to execute and make sensible deals, Phil Jackson has seemingly found two players who offer value to the Knicks in different ways.

Of course, Early appears to be the prospect more poised to start making an impact on day one. A versatile swingman, the young gun was a stud at Witchita State. An intriguing talent on the offensive end, Early can certainly put the ball in the basket. He scores with efficiency around the perimeter, and can even take a step back and pose as a threat to hit the long-range jumper as well. In addition to being able to crash the boards, Early isn’t afraid to drive through the lane, either. He has an explosive first step.

The forward has plenty of the tools necessary to become a solid offensive player in the NBA, but at this point, perhaps his overzealous nature precedes him. Like many young players still coming into their own, Early will need to further develop his instincts on the professional level. Still, the experience he amassed while realizing success as an underdog on the collegiate level will undoubtedly prove to be valuable in the Big Apple.

Should Carmelo Anthony stay in town, the Knicks will continue to employ one of the game’s most skilled scorers. Having said that, the team is still rather desperate to surround him with complementary players on offense. Early is the type of guy who can come in right away and score in bunches, whether that be while coming off the bench, or playing alongside Anthony in the front-court.

On the flip side, there’s a bit more to Antetokounmpo than meets the eye. His strengths aren’t as easy to spot, simply because they aren’t as distinct just yet. Still, his ceiling is rather high, nonetheless.

While playing for the Delaware 87ers, Antetokounmpo (yet another wing player) displayed an ability defend quite well, rebound the ball, and even look for his teammates in transition a bit. His quick hands make it easy for him to react and/or pester opposing ball-handlers.

His statistics in the D-League aren’t all that imposing, which is a tad surprising. One would think a potential NBA draftee would go on to dominate the minor league. As a young gun still adjusting to playing stateside after hitting the hardwood in Greece, Antetokounmpo’s instincts still need some work. He needs to be guided, but perhaps there isn’t much wrong with that. As the Knicks look to retool, perhaps somebody who they can mold into exactly the type of player they prefer (with little resistance from said player) is a plus.

Whereas Antetokounmpo has already shown flashes of doing all of the little things, he still has a way to go on the offensive end. His confidence may not be where it needs to be, so he subsequently lacks that same assertiveness necessary to take the ball to the hole. In time, that will come. Perhaps the beauty of this for the Knicks will be Antetokounmpo’s versatility. Because he’s a wing who enjoys doing all sorts of intangible things, it’s likely he’ll fit right in alongside any number of different lineup combinations. This will give New York the flexibility to explore and further understand his strengths on this level.

In Early, the Knicks acquired a player who can providing a scoring punch. Antetokounmpo can potentially step in to contribute and fill various voids. Both players stand to give New York a boost, and they’ll do so at a cheaper price, too. That’s what Jackdson will be looking for as he fills out this roster.

And if that in itself wasn’t enough, the team also purchased the No. 57 overall selection from the Indiana Pacers. In picking Louis Labeyrie out of France, the Knicks acquired a valuable asset, whether they see that realized via potential contributions on the court, or in adding value to a future trade sometime soon.

Color that a successful evening for Jackson and the team’s brass.




204 comments
MeloStat301
MeloStat301

Marc Berman: Calderon: "I'm open to talking to Carmelo. Would love to play with him. Want to make everything easier for him.'' Twitter @NYPost_Berman -

KnickelusKnickleby
KnickelusKnickleby

I knew Melo wasn't feeling Chandler and Felton , may wanna cross Dallas off that list 

Tony Fonseca
Tony Fonseca

I like to come to this blog and read some inside stuff that I don't find anywhere else. I can fairly can say that most of guys bring info that has enriched my basketball knowledge and I am thankful for that.

Now, I have issues with Melo fans because it makes me perceived that many are more Melo fans that Knicks fan. I give it to you that Melo is a superstar and we need him here in order to win now mentality.

what I don't like is people making excuses for Melo. Per Bill Parcells, "you are what your records says you are".

There is this argument that he never had players around him so he has not win but 11 years is a big sample since the average career in the NBA is 4 to 5 years.

The other one is that Melo will attract stars. That is not valid either because if he has not attracted stars in 11 years most likely, he will not be the reason why stars will want to come to NY. Phil and based on records will be the MAIN reason why starts will want to come here.

Now if Melo wants to stay will def win 54+ games next year with a healthy Stat (the first of season in the longest time he is not having a surgery) and focused JR Smith (JR regardless of how combustible he is, he has TALENT) , motivated young talent playing in a positive environment under the helm of Phisher.

If Melo leaves we will probably win 40+ games next year.

So my point is that  is OK to make case for Melo but keep it with real facts.

I am a Melo fan but I AM a NYK fan first...

Knicks_Fanatic
Knicks_Fanatic

Suddenly MSG employees are on the air dishing the type of dirt that Dolan locks up as part of his media policy. Coincidentally Tyson Chandler has just stated he will recruit Melo to play with him, Dirk, and Monta Ellis. Pandora's Box opens up and out come the bus. Anyone want to buy a ski lodge in Florida?

orlando_knickfan
orlando_knickfan

Still waiting for that boozer amnesty. What's taking so long jerry?

SheSaidSpikeWho
SheSaidSpikeWho

“I think there are going to be things that are going to be happening in the near future in the NBA that’s going to grow this league,” Jackson said of the salary cap, which is tied to league revenue. “And I think, monetarily, it’s going to end up being not an issue for us to do that.”

So the max contract isn’t off the table, it seems. But Jackson will, at least, appeal to Melo with a plan for a future with added cap space.

“The perception is that we want Carmelo,” Jackson said. “As interested in saying he’s competitive and wants to be on a competitive team. And also being able to demonstrate that, if push comes to shove, in a situation where he may have to take a little bit less if we’re more competitive to bring in another player to help.”


http://msg.com/teams/knicks/knicks-fix/nba-growth-may-allow-knicks-to-max-out-melo.html

BiggieTKB
BiggieTKB

Hahn dropping some serious dime on the Chandler/Knicks/Melo relationship..  where was this during the year?

Seth Nadler
Seth Nadler

@incarceratedbob: Melo will enjoy his 3 city tour while @lala gets the new digs in #Chicago ready ... haaaaa poor media still clueless #MelorunningwithDABulls

Knicks_Fanatic
Knicks_Fanatic

@Tony Fonseca 

The problem with building a team around Melo is the constant churn of the roster. One year ago, we came off a 54-28 season and a second round exit. That surely was promising. We all dreamed of better days ahead. Today, the only players left on that team from one year ago are JR, Shump, Prigioni, and STAT. How many 54 win teams get dismantled like that? I wouldn't be surprised to see any of those four traded within a month.

BiggieTKB
BiggieTKB

@Knicks_Fanatic if you think Chandler is recruiting Melo to come to Dallas I got some swamp land in Florida to sell you,

orlando_knickfan
orlando_knickfan

I believe every word cause tyson got real grimey at the end.

If everything was good, how come melo didn't nix it?

phenomenal
phenomenal

Wow.  I'm surprised Colin admitted to liking the pick while being simulcasted on ESPN Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.

theking
theking

@bockers  you might as well tell melo to leave if you think he is taking 10 mill.

BiggieTKB
BiggieTKB

@SheSaidSpikeWho THANK YOU PHIL!!  I been preaching the the potential of a 90 million dollar salary can in three years,

Knicks_Fanatic
Knicks_Fanatic

@BiggieTKB 

Hahn is on the MSG payroll. They just made it up yesterday after Chandler said he would recruit Melo to Dallas. You guys will believe anything that MSG puts out.

SheSaidSpikeWho
SheSaidSpikeWho

@BiggieTKB That is something we certainly didn't need to hear during the season. It was already a tumultuous one.

Seth Nadler
Seth Nadler

Is he saying, that Phil traded Tyson to increase the chances of Melo staying?

tw22
tw22

@Seth Nadler I think you mean losing with the Bulls. It might seem nice playing in front of Jordan's statue, but how healthy is Derrick Rose ever going to be again. Case closed, no depth, see ya.

Tony Fonseca
Tony Fonseca

@Knicks_Fanatic  I agree you with you that we need stability and continuity in this franchise. Stat is the oldest roster player... There is no reason why the Knicks should not have a successful season.

RivDim
RivDim

Hey, some people will choose to believe anything negative the bitter media shut out by MSG policy will choose to write about the knicks. No matter how idiotic or contradictory.

1)*The knicks have Zero flexibility to do anything this summer

2)*They could never trade Felton

3)*players o Expiering contracts are valuable trade chips unless they play for the Knicks

4)*the knicks "underachieved" this season yet will be just as bad next season

5)*nothing was expected from the knicks this past season yet they were a bitter disappointment

6)*Jim Dolan is the only owner to have input on long term multi million dollar decisions for his team.

7)* Dolan made a huge mistake when he fired Aamre signing, Dantoni hiering, Deron Willimas wanting Donnie Walsh.

8)*Yet the Knicks won 54 games and the Altaltic division inspite of the monster who makes all personnel decisions.

orlando_knickfan
orlando_knickfan

So tyso digging melo and wanting to leave was a lie even though it came out of his mouth?

BiggieTKB
BiggieTKB

@VerySilentJay @BiggieTKB he said that MElo and Chandler did NOT have a good relationship.. that tyson early on wanted an extension and talks ended after he broke his leg then he got bitter at the knicks.,


Then Chandler wanted Melo to rally against Woodson and MElo wanted to give it everything he had while Chandler threw the coach uinder the bus at every turn.

theking
theking

@bockers @theking  oo ok ... but its not about the money its about the plan ... get rid of stat I bet he wouldn't mind coming back.

BiggieTKB
BiggieTKB

@MeloStat301 @BiggieTKB @SheSaidSpikeWho well if you think about the cap growing 12-15% this year (58 mil to 65 mil) and the NBA up for a new TV contract and the players having an opt out it is very conceivable that the cap is close to 90 mil by 2017.

tw22
tw22

@theking @bockers Its always about the money. Opting out is the only way Melo can get a raise, this is his last big contract, I'd be surprised if he signed elsewhere (Dallas doesn't seem like a good fit for him) and Houston and Chicago have to do too much to pay him less than the Knicks will be able. Still a loonmg couple of days to go but I think he stays.

orlando_knickfan
orlando_knickfan

U usually hear whispers. All I've heard is that jerry doesn't want to do it.

Knicks_Fanatic
Knicks_Fanatic

@orlando_knickfan 

They traded 16 and 19 for 11 to clear cap space. So they are working on it. I'd assume that if Melo picks the Bulls, they will try to include Boozer in a S&T first, before using amnesty.

tw22
tw22

@Knicks_Fanatic @orlando_knickfan They didn't clear cap space by trading the picks. They precluded adding to their already dire Cap space problem by not having to sign two.

orlando_knickfan
orlando_knickfan

Boozer, dunleavy, ta or butler have to go. stash mirotic, maybe renounce hinrich. Lots to do.

Mel is not taking 13 mil