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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer league round-up: New York Knicks

View the Knicks summer league roster.

- Wink Adams: Adams just graduated from UNLV, where his senior season numbers were down across the board. He averaged 14.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists, shooting only 37% from the field. As a general rule, 6'0 guards that shoot 37% don't make it in the NBA, but Wink clearly has something to show.

- Alex Acker: Acker started last year with the Pistons, who salary dumped him onto the Clippers. He scored 63 points on 65 shots in the NBA last year, which isn't good. He also spent 4 games on assignment to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, averaging 18.0 points and 5.3 rebounds, but the Clippers declined his team option and didn't make him a restricted free agent. That's not a glowing endorsement.

- Blake Ahearn: Ahearn was covered here. If he can show some rudimentary point guard skills suited to the Knicks' high octane offense, then he has a chance. But the Knicks are damn short of roster spots. They have 16 under contract already, and that's before a single free agency move. This presents a problem for Ahearn.

- Morris Almond: Utah are so tax concerned right now that they had to decline Almond's third year option, even though it was very cheap and he didn't really do anything wrong. Almond doesn't have an all-around game - he's pretty much only a scorer. But even though he barely played in the NBA, and didn't do much in his time in it, he was drafted to be a scorer, and score he did. He averaged 25.6 points per game in the D-League in 2007/08, and last year averaged 22.4 points in 29.8 minutes. Of course, Almond didn't pass at all to score that many, averaging a special 1.1 assists per game. But he scored a lot, and he scored it efficiently. It's only Matt Harpring's dead weight salary keeping him out right now.

- Warren Carter: Former Illinois forward Carter played his first professional season in Turkey, then split last year between Spain and Latvia. Carter averaged 11.8 points and a slightly poor 5.0 rebounds in the Spanish ACB for Cajasol Sevilla, and then moved to the joyfully named BC Ventspils, where he led the Latvian league in rebounds (9.1 rpg) and second in blocks (1.4 bpg), to go along with 13.0 points. Carter played on the Mavericks summer league team in 2007, but didn't make the big league roster. He's not making this one, either.

- Joe Crawford: Crawford was drafted by the Lakers at the very end of the 2008 draft, and was a late season pickup by the Knicks, signed through 2010 (but for no longer, as is the Knicks way). He played in two games for the Knicks last season, and totalled 9 points and 4 rebounds. Before that, he was in the D-League, where he averaged 20.8 points and 4.6 rebounds for the L.A. D-Fenders. The retired Cuttino Mobley is probably going to be taking up Crawford's roster spot, and the drafting of Douglas also spells bad times for him. But he should be in training camp at least.

- Toney Douglas: Douglas is a very good scorer, who pretty much only scores. He averaged 21.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists in his senior season for Florida State, an out-and-out scorer despite his height. However, since he's with the Knicks, he could probably handle playing at point guard, such is the nature of their offense. Leandro Barbosa managed it for a time, after all.

- Patrick Ewing Jr: Last year, Sacramento drafted Ewing 42nd overall. He was then traded twice before his rookie season even began; once to the Rockets as a par of the Ron Artest deal, and then salary dumped to the Knicks in exchange for the completely arbitrary rights to Frederic Weis. This got everyone horny, given the good times that his father brought to the team, and the idea that Ewing would thrive in a higher paced offense made people want to touch themselves. But no one took enough note of the fact that Ewing sucked. He was a sixth man in college, and averaged only 6.1 points and 4.2 rebounds as a senior (and that includes sitting out a season to transfer). Then in summer league for the Kings, Ewing played in three games - all starts - and totalled 45 minutes, 2 points, 7 rebounds and 12 fouls. That's really quite awful, and the Knicks cut him in the end, shattering the dreams of dozens. The only time Ewing has ever played well in significant minutes was last year in the D-League, when he averaged 16.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists in the D-League for the Reno Bighorns (giggidy). But even then, he was a sixth man. And he's 25 now. The rawness excuses run out eventually.

- Jordan Hill: The third best big man in the draft, apparently. Hill averaged 18.3 rebounds and 11.0 rebounds last year for Arizona, but was made to look pretty average when the NCAA tournament rolled around. Knicks fans dislike Hill already purely because he's not Stephen Curry; whether an imitation of Chris Wilcox by Hill this summer league would win them over or not remains to be seen.

- Ron Howard: Howard was a Buck once, although only for about two weeks. He transferred from Marquette after his freshman season and went on to put up three decent but unspectacular seasons at Valparaiso. He then travelled to Holland and Mexico, before spending the last two years in the D-League (with his short Bucks stint in between the two). Last year, in 48 games and 1,711 minutes for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Howard managed to boast the frankly impressive statistic of 0 made three pointers for the entire year, in 10 tries. This is pretty hard to do as a team's 6'5 high-scoring two guard with an 18.7 points per game scoring average. It should give you some idea of how he plays.

- Yaroslav Korolev: Korolev was a complete and total washout in the NBA, drafted by the Clippers way too high for a man with no history of ever playing well and with no obvious standout skills to project. The fact that Danny Granger was taken after him doesn't help anybody. The Clippers waived him for good in 2007 training camp, and Korolev buggered off back to his native Russia. Last year, for Dynamo Moscow, Korolev averaged 1.5 points and 1.0 rebounds in 10 Russian Superleague games. He is now 22, and is no further along than when he was 17. He still can't play. But, good luck with this.

- David Noel: Noel also did little in the NBA, playing only one and a half years for the Bucks before being waived. He spent last year in the D-League, putting up huge numbers; he started with the Albquerque Thunderbirds, averaging 17.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.3 steals in 30 games, before moving to the Reno Bighorns (etc) and averaging 19.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists in 18 games. When the D-League season ended, Noel moved to the Philippines for a summer job, averaging 20.5 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists for the Barangay Ginebra Kings, a team with a name not nearly as awesome as it should be for a Philippines team. His team plays in the potential title winning game tonight. And that's why he's not playing for the Knicks. Also, Noel has already agreed to sign with Roanne in the French ProA league next season. So you can cross him off your list.

- Mouhamed Sene: Like Crawford, Sene was a late season pickup that signed through 2010 for the hell of it. Like Crawford, he was waived by an NBA team earlier in the year, this time by the Thunder. Like Crawford, he's probably going to training camp. But, like Crawford, the Knicks' draft night moves (in this instance, Darko Milicic) probably just took his roster spot.

- Rashaad Singleton: In his junior season with Georgia, Singleton (whose first name is really Donald, and who looks like a picture of Nate Dogg stretched out weirdly with the contrast turned up) averaged 2.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. Apparently 136 minutes of playing time wasn't enough for him, as Singleton transferred to Florida Southern down in Division 2, a team that boast the great nickname of "The Moccasins." It didn't really change much, though, because the 7'0 Singleton (whose weight I've seen listed between 220lbs and 280lbs) played in 35 games but started only 10 times, averaging 15.1 minutes per game. His averages overall were 6.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.3 blocks and 0.5 assists. Furthermore, he shot 24-92 from the free throw line, a sizzling 26%. That's pretty brilliant. Less brilliant are Singleton's NBA chances.

- Nikoloz Tskitishvili: Skeeter also busted spectacularly in the NBA, out of it before he was ever in it. The Knicks actually had him under contract back in October 2010, but he didn't make the regular season roster. Last year he was in Spain, playing for Fuenlebrada, averaging 8.3 points and 4.1 rebounds acting as a spot-up shooting for the team. While the averages aren't good, he shot 44% from three point range, which is very good. Tskitishvili had a tryout (or two) with the Grizzlies recently, before this Knicks gig came to pass. I admire their entrepeneurial spirit.

8 comments:

  1. Sweet, an update on Nikoloz Tskitishvili's future. I was wondering what he'd be up to in 2010.

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  2. I saw the summer league game last night... (and also watching the Knicks game right now)

    Hasheem Thabeet sucks. It's one thing when you can't keep Jordan Hill off the glass. It's another when you can't keep Joe Crawford off it. And these weren't on shots he gave up his position attempting to block.

    That said, Crawford played a good game, but looks like a poor man's Douglas.

    Jordan Hill has shown a decent mid-range game, even drilling an 18 footer at the top. It's probably not a stretch to say he's a better shooter than David Lee ATM. Hill didn't have much success trying to post up Thabeet except on fadeaways. Which you could probably expect since Thabeet has 5 inches on him, but I don't think Thabeet really affected him all that much, he just isn't very good at advanced post moves.

    Douglas played an excellent defensive game, and showed an ability to get to the rim. He didn't really get his teammates involved too much, and honestly I felt like I was watching rookie Nate Robinson except taller and slower. Douglas will be able to defend bigger players Nate can't, but he will never be the scorer Nate is. It's worth noting though, that Marcus Williams flat out dominated him late.

    Almond shot the ball well and probably makes the team given that he can't be any worse than Q-Rich, and your other SG options are Larry Hughes (who one has to hope they'll buy out at the deadline). Could depend on Gallinari's health though.

    Tskitishvili actually started this game and didn't do a bad job. He had a couple blocks early and stretched the floor. He's definitely no tweener now as he's bulked up considerably since the Denver days, and is strictly a PF in the Garrity/Brian Cook mold. Not really necessary on a team with Al Harrington, but it wouldn't surprise me to see him back in the league if he gave the D-League a shot rather than signing overseas.

    As stated before, Marcus Williams controlled the 4th quarter, essentially scoring the last 10 points for Memphis in a come from behind victory. He also defended Douglas well late as Douglas forced up some shots into the defense's teeth thanks to his tunnel vision. He will undoubtedly get the backup PG spot in Memphis.

    Oh, and Blake Ahearn was thoroughly unimpressive. He will NEVER make it as a PG in the league. The guy struggles to bring the ball up under any type of pressure, and even threw away the ball when doubled in the backcourt. He is not a good shooter off the dribble which is also a problem given his shooter's rep.

    Perhaps the highlight of the game for me was Douglas intercepting a pass and getting out on the break. Rather than force a contested layup on the defender, he gave it up to the off-screen trailer. In a perfect world, this would have been fellow rookie Jordan Hill, inspiring some sort of chemistry between the two newest Knicks. Instead, it was to Blake Ahearn, who proceeded to weakly toss it off the backboard as Douglas' defender recovered. Douglas would have been much better off taking it up strong rather than dropping it off to the weakest finisher on the team (partially his fault, since he honestly has no business passing the FT line, ever).

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  3. Skita is an absolute block machine in summer league which might actually mean he's a below average defensive player now as opposed to bottom of the barrel.

    Donnie Walsh is talking about Nate/Lee as restricted FAs. He was going over their options which included in order:

    1. Going to Europe
    2. Taking the qualifying offer
    3. Knicks rescinding QO
    4. Sit out

    He then mentioned oh yeah, we could also do a sign and trade. Given his tone and that he nearly forgot about it, probably means the Knicks haven't really considered any S/T offers and aren't considering them as a viable option.

    Both players seem to be in the positions Varejao and Pavlovic were in two years ago where no teams want to make offers because they know the Knicks will match anything reasonable. I don't really see either sitting out, and they'll probably sign 3 year contracts for mid-level money with the ability to opt out after 2, just my guess. Knicks probably wouldn't mind if Nate did go to Europe for a season as they'd still have his RFA rights.

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  4. Skita just drilled back to back threes. If I keep up these posts, he's going to make the team.

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  5. Walsh specifically mentioned Almond as he says the team is looking for shooting at the two, so it sounds like he's the favorite of all these non-contract/unguaranteed guys.

    And I'm done.

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  6. Fun fact: Joe Crawford is Jordan Crawford's brother. That Jordan Crawford.

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  7. You've handled your business here today, Rashidi. I'm proud of you.

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  8. Ron Howard and no joke about the emtional film director who likes to make movies with Tom Hanks, so he's sure of a profit?

    ReplyDelete

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