So, here are the players that are left over from my board:
- Kenny Kadji
- Vander Blue
- Myck Kabongo
- Jackie Carmichael
- Richard Howell
- Phil Pressey
- Trevor Mbakwe
- C.J. Leslie
- Brandon Paul
- DeWayne Dedmon
- B.J. Young
- Brandon Triche
Okay, some of these guys may not be ready to make an impact in the NBA, may have to suit up abroad or in the D-League. Still, there are definitely some summer league roster positions that could be filled here. At the point, Kabongo, Pressey and Triche deserve a further look, particularly Kabongo. Carmichael and Howell are true power forwards, and both Kadji and Mbakwe could be very functional at the four, while Dedmon could be a valuable addition to back up at the center position. If another two guard who can pass and defend is needed, then either Blue and Paul might prove to be a good fit, while B.J. Young could be someone who down-the-road could contribute. My guess is that C.J. Leslie will be offered the suggestion to get some more seasoning abroad or in the D-League, but he is probably the most athletic of all those listed here. However, if by some twist of fate, Chris Copeland and/or J.R. Smith remain Knicks next year, the small forward position will be filled. We'll just have to wait and see.
The median talent level in this draft was pretty high, even if there were few immediate hall-of-fame candidates, so playing it cautious was a smart move by Grunwald. Since the rebounding and shot-blocking problems that reared their ugly heads against the Pacers still need addressing, I would like to see at least one of the aforementioned power forwards be given a shot.
Leslie is, as mentioned, a project.
Whether Pablo Prigioni signs or not is a huge 'if'. The two point guard offense created huge match-up problems for opposing defenses, so I would hope that that will be a keeper for next year. Actually Kidd was kind of a shooting guard who could play the point (!!!) when called upon. Melo, as a fellow Syracuse alumnus, could be a factor in getting Triche to come on board for a trial. Brandon Paul has the ability to play the point and Kabongo is a true point guard who can control the tempo; the question mark about his shooting can be addressed with practice (viz. Shump). B.J. Young is another possibility, he just has to work on his capacity to play the one. These guys are all young, they can learn!
And let's not forget, Tyson Chandler really needs a back-up. He ain't no spring chicken no' mo', and it showed during the playoffs. Kadji can play the five as can Dedmon. Yes, there are others out there, mostly in Europe and China, but it may be worth it (financially as well) to take a look-see at either of these guys here.
Kenyon Martin's status is also up in the air. His contributions were immense, but his motor won't run for ever, and the bottom line is that he hasn't signed. I really like Carmichael and Howell, both of whom have a mid-range offensive game, can play back-to-the-basket, and are ferocious rebounders. When the Knicks acquired Charles Oakley from the Bulls, Patrick finally had someone to absorb a lot of the pounding, be an enforcer, and take some of the rebounding burden from his shoulders. That kind of muscle is precisely what these two players offer.
The next few weeks will be interesting. Next stop, summer league.