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Mock it Out!

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Time for a little rundown of some possible candidates for the Knicks' 23rd pick in the 2007 draft. A hat tip goes to Pradamaster at Bullets Forever, because I'm kinda using his format for looking at this.

Anyway, the 23rd pick isn't exactly prime real estate, but with a solid rookie class and the draft-savvy Isiah Thomas at the reigns, the Knicks could get some value out of this pick (their only one this year, I believe.) Let's look around the major mock drafts to see who might be available. Since I don't pay enough attention to college and foreign basketball, I'll let them do most of the talking. The projected picks will come from different sites, but I might occasionally refer back to NBAdraft.net's profiles, because I think they're the best...

NBAdraft.net itself, which is my favorite draft site out there, has the Knicks getting Jason Smith, a big man from Colorado State who looks like he's 14 and is compared to Brian Cook. We're off to a good start, eh? Anyway here are a few of the "strengths" listed in his scouting report:

"Active player who constantly works the blocks to get open ... Has developed into an above average rebounder ... Underrated post passer who does a good job of recognizing double teams and reacting to them ... Fundamentally sound player with few bad habits ... Does a good job of keeping the ball high and not putting it on the floor after receiving the ball ... For his size Smith is an adequate ball handler ... Once Smith gets position in the post he makes his body wide giving his guards a bigger target ... Great post footwork, and moves with good fluidity ... Offensively he has range out to 18 feet when facing the basket ..."
OK...sounds good enough. How about some weaknesses?
"Back to the basket moves have greatly improved but are still very much a work in progress ... Needs to continue to add more upper body strength ... Struggles to establish position against physical defenders as he can easily get pushed off the blocks ... Rebounding has improved greatly this year but he needs to focus on boxing out better ... Doesn't always finish strong after absorbing contact ... Above average shot blocker in college but likely will not be as fortunate in the NBA ...Doesn't shy away from contact but certainly does not seek it out ... Lacks the killer instinct to consistently dominate games ..."
And that's where they lost me. No thank you. We already have Channing Frye. Next, please.

DraftExpress.com has the Knicks getting Ante Tomic, a 7'2'' Center from Croatia ("The Land of 10,000 Sundovs"). NBADraft.net doesn't even have this kid in their mock draft, so I'll just stick with DraftExpress to explain why they put Tomic (whose name, although my Croatian is rusty, I believe means "Acid Reflux") so high in their draft. Here's some of the stuff they say about Ante:

"While Tomic would likely be eaten alive at the NBA level right now with his frail stature, he is considered one of the most talented young players in Europe thanks to his combination of size, skill and terrific feel for the game. Considering the tender stage of his development as well as the extreme depth of the upcoming draft, it would be a surprise to see him declare for the draft this year. With expected improvement, Ante has a good shot at being a lottery pick in 2008 or 2009. In the best case scenario Tomic, could develop into a quicker version of Zydrunas Iglauskas, while if he rushes into the NBA too soon, could end up just like Z's countryman Martynas Andriuskevicius."
Uh, three words: Fuck. That. Shit. I know I've been bemoaning our lack of foreign influence, but any draft profile that includes the words "frail", "tender", and "Martynas Andriuskevicius" gets scratched out in my book. Moving on.

InsideHoops.com has Nick Fazekas from Nevada going 23rd. Here's what they have to say about Nick:

"A constant 20-10 guy who as a senior did wonders for his outside shooting range. A real scorer, and always makes his free throws. Mediocre athlete but a winning type of player and we think someone's going to decide he's worthy of a first round pick."
 What is it with these weak, lanky white guys? Fazekas is a better prospect, it seems, than Smith or Tomic, but I'm not sure this is the kind of guy we need.

Collegehoops.net gives us a much more appealing prospect, as they have the Knicks landing Kansas Guard, Brandon Rush with the 23rd pick. Here's what they have to say about Rush, who they rank as a potential "6th man/Fringe starter":

"Strengths: Very good scorer both years in college.  Good rebounder for his size.  Very long arms - 6'11" wingspan.  Very good size for a shooting guard, especially when taking into account his wingspan.  Very accurate three-point shooter.  Good defender.

Weaknesses: Unselfish to a fault - needs to be more aggressive in looking to score.  Can be inconsistent - disappears some games.  Will be 22-years-old this summer - two years older than most sophomores."

Now that's a little more like it. The whole age thing is a little off-putting, but I've gotta say that a defense-oriented guard who can hit the three is what the Knicks need this offseason. If I had my pick of anybody, I'd want Corey Brewer from Florida. Unfortunately, we don't, so Brandon Rush might be a decent substitute.

Anyway, those are a couple of the guys who have been mentioned as potential picks for Isiah this summer. There appears to be quite a selection of athletic guards at the end of the first round, with Javaris Crittenton of Georgia Tech, Marco Bellinelli from Italy, Marcus Williams from Arizona, Arron Afflalo from UCLA, Morris Almond from Rice, and Daequan Cook from Ohio State all projected to be available late. I think one of these guys, especially one who can play the PG like Crittenton or Williams, might be the way to go this summer.

What do you think? What do we need? Who's the right guy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.