The Precarious Number 6

Well shave my head and call me Maciej, if it isn't another less-than-adequate draft spot for the Knicks. I guess I shouldn't complain. This is the highest pick we've had since 1986, when we took Kenny Walker with the fifth selection. Either way, 6 is in a weird part of the lottery. Can't be sure at all who you're gonna get. Do you have to jump on someone who slipped out of the top 5? Can you spring for someone projected to go in the double digits? It's going to be all too easy to look dumb at the 6 spot. Then again, the sixth selection has turned out guys like Brandon Roy, Chris Kaman, and Shane Battier in recent years, so there's a lot to be gained as well. At least it'll be exciting, eh? The number 1 selection wouldn't be much to write about, so I suppose I should be happy on that front. Anyway, let's get to a preliminary list of possibilities. I'll rule out Rose (we can say his name now, I guess) and Beasley from the outset, and break it down roughly by position.

Guards

Jerryd Bayless- Arizona- Widely expected to go earlier, but he and OJ Mayo may eventually switch spots on teams' draft boards. Bayless is a pretty classic tweener, but is supposed to have the skills to become a full-time point in the right system. I like him a lot. Minnesota and Memphis are both expected to pick for the frontcourt, so our chances at Bayless probably lay in the hands of the Sonics.

OJ Mayo- USC- Less of a point than Bayless, though arguably just as, if not more, talented. Many drafts have him falling to or past 6, which some say is a huge steal. Others, given supposed attitude problems and a lack of floor general skills, say he's a gamble. Dangerous pick, dangerous pass for anyone out of the top 2.

Eric Gordon- Indiana- Another tweener with very little shot at ever becoming a point guard. Really fun to watch in college, but he's kind of a Jamal Crawford clone. He does show some effort and potential defensively, though, which is not to be ignored.

Russell Westbrook- UCLA- Some mocks have him falling into the mid-teens, but I really love this guy. Like the rest of them, he's stuck in between positions, but unlike the rest, he's a lockdown defender with an especially athletic body. Unpolished offensive skills will be the reason he drops, if he does.

D.J. Augustin- Texas- Potentially the only pure point guard besides Rose to be taken in the first round. He's a floor leader and a solid offensive player, but also short and supposedly without much defensive potential at the next level. Still, you really know what you're getting with him, and his talent may outweigh his size as it did at Texas.

Forwards

Kevin Love- UCLA- Love him, but sort of a David Lee clone.

Danilo Gallinari- Italy- Big, skinny, multi-tool guy who I know nothing about. Apparently he can shoot and pass very well, but probably can't defend or rebound at his position.

Anthony Randolph- LSU- Bigger, skinnier, guy who runs fast and jumps high and has long arms. Potential to be an active defender and a decent mismatch on the offensive end, but who knows? Draws comparisons to Rudy Gay and Tayshaun Prince. Upside city.

Centers

Brook Lopez- Stanford- Probably won't fall to six, which is fine. Another center with a polished offensive game but no rebounding or defense to speak of is not what the Knicks need right now.

DeAndre Jordan- Texas A&M- Another big dude who can jump high and run fast and has long arms. He's also young and really, really raw. He does have the size, frame, and athletic ability to be a quality shot-blocker in the NBA, though, which is enticing.

And that's that. I sorta stopped halfway in listing forwards, because I think fours like Donte Greene and Darrell Arthur are unlikely picks. I suppose they should be considered too, though. I'm leaning heavily towards guards and defensive talent, which is why I'm so enamored with Westbrook.

Anyway, we're going to give all the candidates a fair shot. SML, myself, and any of you guys who'd like to contribute (just pitch me an email if you feel you have particular expertise on one or more prospects) are gonna do some profile posts on the best candidates, just like we did last year. I'll be consulting stats, profiles, videos, and college bloggers to get an in-depth look at each guy. Also have frequent roundups of what the mock drafts are saying (first one of those coming tomorrow probably), and keep up to date on any news. We're going to ignore the possibility of trading down, however real it is, and act as if we're picking sixth unless we have reason to believe otherwise.

Falling to number six means there are a lot of possibilities, so P&T is in full-on draft mode starting today. Let's do this.

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