2009 NBA Summer League round-up: New York Knicks
July 15th, 2009
– 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 efficiency. He also spent four 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 offence, 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 a complete 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 1.1 assists per game. But he scored a lot, and he scored it efficiently. It’s only Matt Harpring’s deadweight 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 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 also came 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 offence. 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 part 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 excited, given the good times that his father brought to the team, and the idea that Ewing would thrive in a higher-paced offence made people want to watch. But no one took enough note of the fact that Ewing lacked for ball skills. 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 poor, 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. 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 ten 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. There is plenty of defence and mid-range stuff, though.
– 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 slunk off back to his native Russia. Last year, for Dynamo Moscow, Korolev averaged 1.5 points and 1.0 rebounds in ten Russian Superleague games. He is now 22, and is no further along than when he was 17. He still can’t play high-level basketball. 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 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 pick-up that signed through 2010t. 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) 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 II, 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, but rest assured, the man can block shots.
– 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 Fuenlabrada, averaging 8.3 points and 4.1 rebounds acting as a spot-up shooter for the team. While the averages aren’t good, he shot 44% from three-point range, which is very good. Tskitishvili had a try-out (or two) with the Grizzlies recently, before this Knicks gig came to pass. I admire their entrepreneurial spirit.
I am continuously intrigued by the esoterica and minutiae of all the aspects of building a basketball team. I want to understand how to build the best basketball teams possible. No, I don’t know why, either.
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