Looking back at the 1985 Draft
The Knicks are again in position to get an impact player at the top of the Draft, with both Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns available.
In the New York Post, Fred Kerber takes a look back at 1985, when the Knicks won the Draft Lottery and selected Patrick Ewing >> Read more
New York Knicks’ assistant coach Brian Keefe is a potential candidate to return to the Oklahoma City Thunder under new head coach Billy Donovan. (Yahoo! Sports, May 17).
Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer
Less than a year after initially joining the Knicks, Keefe could be booking an one-way ticket out. He’s one of the top up and coming, younger assistants in all of the league. Of course, in addition to employing a quality assistant, New York is able to keep the pipe dream of successfully recruiting Kevin Durant to the Big Apple in 2016 alive.
Keefe is said to be very close and well respected by both Durant and superstar teammate Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City. This could play into the Knicks’ favor should he stick around. On the flip side, the Thunder didn’t consult either player when hiring Donovan as head coach. Bringing Keefe back into the fold could make the transition easier, all while maintaining each one’s trust.
If Keefe figures to be that much of a potential key piece to the Knicks targeting Durant, his return to OKC would seemingly that much more crucial to ensuring Durant stays in town instead. The assistant is also a good part of the team’s staff because, although he’s Derek Fisher’s guy, he’s not a triangle disciple. Regardless of Phil Jackson’s ultimate vision, it’s important to have balance in one’s staff. Keefe brings a different and fresh prospective.
Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer
On Sunday, the Knicks have a scheduled workout with Kentucky big man Willie Cauley-Stein at the team’s training facility.
And while the young man may be a top three center in this summer’s draft behind Karl Anthony-Towns and Jahlil Okafor, his overall game is seemingly lacking a bit more, compared to those of other top prospects who play different positions.
Alas, Cauley-Stein may not be considered a top five overall pick. In addition to having a 19.9 percent chance of landing the top spot, the Knicks are also guaranteed to select no later than fifth.
There’s nothing wrong with exploring any and all possible options. What’s more, there’s no denying not only that one of the Knicks’ most pressing needs is at center, but also that the type of defensive mentality Cauley-Stein brings is exactly what they need down low.
Still, there are set to be other players with more talent available. Perhaps New York is looking to cover all their bases, just in case they ultimately decide to trade down. This isn’t something they should consider too seriously, however.
This draft is pretty deep. There’s little doubt the Knicks can end up with an impact player when selecting anywhere in the top fifteen picks or so. Nevertheless, the team now has a clean slate. Phil Jackson is building from the ground up. When considering the future, one would think New York wants to nab the best possible talent and seemingly build around him, even after Carmelo Anthony’s contract expires. Drafting based upon need may fill an evident void at this point, but such voids will change as the years go on. It’s better to draft a more versatile player than can fit into any number of scenarios.
What’s more, the benefit to trading down would assumedly be to acquire another quality player or asset, as compensation for sacrificing their pick for a lower one. Such a move may prove to be short-sighted for the Knicks. The draft obviously comes before free agency, so committing to any player’s respective salary is eating into the cap room they team can use to build up in the weeks that follow.
It’d be one thing if such an acquisition is one of the league’s best players (an unlikely case), but for the most part, it’d be well worth it for the Knicks to see things through into July. There’s a certain risk involved when it comes to banking on the fact that Jackson will be successful in his recruiting efforts, but at least that would involve sticking to the plan. There are set to be some very talented players available in free agency.
Of course, the alternative to potentially committing to a player’s salary via trade would be acquiring future assets along with the lower pick, instead. That would also not be in the Knicks’ best interests per say. The team is in win-now mode, and can use all they help they can get as soon as possible.
There’s no need to trade down before really having an opportunity to see what this team is going to look like otherwise. There are too many holes to fill, which means the Knicks should aim for the best possible player and then continue building. Let the draft set the tone for what comes next.
Current Knicks President Phil Jackson is reportedly unhappy with former Knicks executive and head coach Isiah Thomas returning to Madison Square Garden. (NYDN, May 15)
According to the New York Daily News, league executives believe Thomas, who was named president and partial owner of the WNBA’s New York Liberty, accepted the position “as an entry-level position to eventually return to the Knicks.”
With the NBA Draft looming, there are beliefs, according to the report, that Knicks Owner James Dolan may use Thomas as a consultant for Jackson’s ideas.
The lottery is May 19 and the draft itself is June 25. The Knicks, who finished with the second-worst record in the league, are guaranteed to have a pick no worse than fifth.
Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer
Thomas having any presence around Madison Square Garden, let alone the Knicks specifically, obviously comes as a sore spot for an abundance of fans. Dolan’s choice to hire him back to run the Liberty clearly wasn’t the most ethically sound decision. Even so, Thomas isn’t exactly the greatest basketball mind, either. Though he proved to be a great judge of talent when drafting prospects, his trade negotiations skills were lacking and he often overpaid for players in free agency. And to boot, the Knicks weren’t successful during his tenure. Donnie Walsh and others spent a lot of time fixing his mistakes in the seasons that followed.
Essentially, there doesn’t appear to be much that Thomas can offer and/or add to the Knicks in the form of a positive contribution. Having said that, Jackson’s disdain for potentially having the Hall of Fame point guard involved likely goes past the individual’s reputation.
Jackson was promised autonomy. A big part of the reason that he eventually assumed office with New York was the fact that Dolan promised to let him do his thing. This obviously means that not only Dolan must stay out of the way, but also his other confidants, too.
In his first season as President, Jackson worked with a multitude of staffers already in place that Dolan and previous executives had hired. He’s shown patience and leinency with them to this point, but it remains to be seen how much longer the likes of Steve Mills, Allan Houston, and others last. Should Jackson eventually decide to cut them loose and bring in fresh blood, Thomas isn’t likely to be atop of his list for a new voice to lend a helping hand.
Adam Zagoria, SNY.TV
Willie Cauley-Stein will head from the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago to work out for the Knicks on Sunday in what promises to be one of many workouts for the projected top-5 pick.
“I haven’t met with the Knicks yet, they’re on the schedule, though,” the 6-foot-11 Cauley-Stein said Friday at the Combine, where he is not participating in 5-on-5 or doing drills.
The Knicks will receive no lower than the No. 5 pick in Tuesday’s Draft lottery, and Cauley-Stein is projected at No. 5 by Draft Express.com. The Knicks have a 19.9 percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick, and could potentially take Cauley-Stein’s former Kentucky teammate, New Jersey native Karl-Anthony Towns.
“I love it, I respect Melo and the way they’re running things over there,” Cauley-Stein said of Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks. “It’s a matter of time before they begin to get back on the top.” To read more of this story, click here
Adam Zagoria, SNY.TV
The last time Knicks President Phil Jackson interacted with D’Angelo Russell, the Zenmaster ended up getting fined.
Feb 8, 2015; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Bishop Daniels (2) defends against Ohio State Buckeyes guard D’Angelo Russell (0) during second half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
That was back in February when Jackson attended an Ohio State game and told Cleveland.com that Russell was a “great looking kid” and a “great prospect.”
“I actually apologized to him when I met with him today,’’ the 6-foot-5 Russell said of the fine Friday at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, where he is not participating in 5-on-5 play or doing drills. “He kind of winked and smiled. I don’t know if it hurt his bank account at all. I apologized to him for that.”
In his mind, there is no need to play in front of the vast array of NBA GMs and scouts on hand here at Quest Sports Complex.
“I’m the best player in the draft,” he proclaimed without hesitation. To read more of this story, click here
Keith Schlosser, TheKnicksBlog.com
J.R. Smith took to Instagram to insult the Knicks after his Cavaliers advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals with a win over the Bulls on Thursday (May 15).
Phil Jackson will continue to be criticized for shipping Smith and Iman Shumpert out of town and getting very little in return, that is, until (or if) he fills out the roster with better players this summer.
Trading both players was a strategic move. With the team struggling earlier this season and Smith not pulling his weight, it was clear his lucrative player option for next season would potentially stand in the way of the Knicks’ development. Smith had some exciting moments as a Knick, but his tenure with the team was shaky at best. An inconsistent performer, to say the least, Smith wasn’t able to find success in the triangle offense.
Shumpert was thrown in the deal as a way to further entice the Cavaliers to take on Smith’s contract. The young gun didn’t appear to be in the Knicks’ future plans at the time, either. His expiring contract suggested that his tenure was coming to a close, and the team didn’t have plans to re-sign him anyway. Even so, despite his evident potential, Shumpert, too, often fell short of the mark. The nagging injuries he continued to experience impacted his ability to make positive contributions on the court.
The message from Smith’s Instagram photo often bodes true: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. But for what it’s worth, neither player was pulling their weight towards the end of each one’s respective tenure with the Knicks, as it were.
There was clearly enough motive for trading Smith and Shumpert. It’s up to Jackson to prove that doing so was all worth it in the end, if and when he improves the roster by utilizing the newfound cap room that the trade created, and reels in better players.