Hey y'all. After getting lost in Newark for a little while, finally finding my way home, and sharing some cookies and a taped episode of "Louie" with Mike Levin, I'm ready to talk about the draft that just happened. First of all a few notes about the draft experience:
- The Prudential Center is a significantly better venue than the WaMu theater at MSG. Yes, I said it. It's arranged better, the food is better, the internet connection is better, and there's more space and closer bathrooms. I imagine if you were one of the people that got stranded on NJ Transit, you might disagree, but my night went swimmingly (until I tried to leave Newark, which is like escaping a Venus flytrap).
- The eatings: Some chicken fajita-type joints, Spanish rice, corn, and plenty of soda and water for the media. Not bad at all.
- The crowd was a little less involved than usual. They booed most heartily whenever LeBron James highlights appeared on the jumbotron and cheered most gleefully whenever a local-ish guy got drafted. The pick of Iman Shumpert was met with much despair.
On Iman Shumpert:
- I like what I've heard and seen regarding Shumpert. The flaws are clear-cut: Right now, he's neither a great shooter (though perhaps not as bad as his college percentages would tell you) nor a great passer, and thus isn't so much a combo guard as he is a...non-bo guard? I don't know. All that said, he's huge for a backcourt player, has absolutely obscene raw athletic skills, and loves to play defense. All good things.
- From Chris Sheridan's post-draft article, here's Donnie Walsh:
"He shot the ball extremely well. His shot's not broke. Some guys you see, and you can tell right away they can't shoot and they're going to have to learn form. He has good form, he was hitting shots, he can defend very well. Very well. And he's got tremendously long arms, so I really liked him a lot," Walsh said.
"As the draft went on, because there [were] other guys that could have fallen to us, and I was like 'Whoa, if he falls down, we're going to have to take him.' And they got taken right before us, and we ended up doing what we did, and I was happy with that," Walsh said. "At some point you look and there was three teams to pick, and you had four players there, so you know we were going to do all right."
- Regarding Walsh's "not broke" comment, bear in mind that the Knicks have Phil Weber, who's as good as anybody at improving somebody's jumper. From what I've seen, Shumpert's form really isn't bad. He just had super reckless shot selection in college.
- From Alan Hahn's piece, Walsh again, this time explaining why he chose Shumpert and not Chris Singleton:
"The fact is, we're going to have more room at the point guard position and two guard position than we're going to have with the guys we have and three and four," Walsh said. "And I know people can say [Singleton] can play the two, but that would be very difficult for a guy his size. Get around screens and stuff like that, but I liked him too."
- If I'd never seen him before, I'd probably guess he was Jewish based on his name, so there's that. He sounds like a delicious Kosher pastry, or perhaps an Eastern European cousin of the flugelhorn.
- Shumpert turns 21 on Sunday! Hey, alright!
Let's give Iman Shumpert a chance. He fills one or two needs, defends, and can't be that bad if he likes eating tacos.
On Josh Harrellson:
- I'd be lying if I said I'd heard of this guy before tonight, but that puts me in the minority. He's apparently known for stepping in ably when DeMarcus Cousins et al. left the Kentucky frontcourt and even better known for wearing jorts to a recruiting visit. They call him "Jorts". You had me at "Jorts". Jorts.
- Other than that? Well, he's gigantic, rebounded very well as a senior, and I've heard he rolls off a screen pretty nicely. How he'll manage as a defender and finisher remains to be seen, but he seems like a decent candidate to make the Knicks as a center. Not a bad addition at all!
- Here's Josh's Twitter. As you can see, he embraces the "Jorts" thing, which is great. What a peach.
- Two R's, two L's, y'all.
And there you have it! We've two new Knicks to enjoy. Both are likable, capable players, and both seem to fit, more or less. We'll begin learning more about these folks tomorrow. For now, I can understand if you're not totally thrilled. The biggest names, some of whom appeared to be dropping, didn't make it to the 17th pick, and that sorta deflated the evening. Doesn't matter. Let's get to know these guys and learn to love them the same way we do everybody else. Hopefully, we'll get to see them play sooner rather than later.