So I'm sitting there, right? I'm pretty sure at this point the Knicks weren't gonna move up in the draft due to the trades earlier in the day and whatnot, so I'm just kind of hoping Kawhi Leonard keeps falling for absolutely no reason, praying the Knicks might be able to pick him up to either keep or to pawn off for goodies (The Knicks were two spots away from being able to ultimately trade for George Hill, which would have made me cry deeply from profound happiness). Well, they didn't get Leonard, who was scooped up and swapped for the aforementioned IUPUI alum by Indiana. Next, the Sixers took Vucevic, who I sort of coveted for his size and apparent skill, but never fully bought into, and I was set on who I wanted the Knicks to take with number seventeen.
Well, things went a little differently than I thought they would. Jump (42 inches if you can).
"Chris Fucking Singleton!" I yelled. I put my Knicks hat on and prayed to God the Knicks were about to get arguably the best defender in the draft, a big tough Toney-Douglas-befriending lockdown defender who could finally, for the first time in my life, prevent a Celtics loss by way of Paul Fucking Pierce's wing pull-up signature move. Maybe he could prevent LeBron James from scoring 50 points while dropping his traditional MSG triple doubles. Maybe he could guard Luol Deng for seven minutes, then switch onto Carlos Boozer when Stoudemire checked out for a rest. Maybe the lack of a bona fide center won't be that big a deal, and the damage will be mitigated by great wing defense and one of the most athletic small-ball front courts in recent memory. Maybe he'll be a saner Artest with reasonable shot selection.
Then the Knicks took Iman Shumpert, one of the few names I was not expecting to hear. Well, time to look up Youtube videos, re-re-re-reread Draftexpress profiles, and then, only if I have time, inhale. But first, I had to go through my mental Rolodex from the past month or two of about 40 NBA prospects, and try to think of what this guy could bring to the Knicks, because I was sure as shit that Jay Bilas was about to be wrong. Well, you've all read enough about Shumpert's athleticism, about how he "couldn't pass the ball even to Derrick Favors," and about how his shot is busted as Beetlejuice (either one). Well, after tons of quotes about how his shot is apparently fixable, tons of interview videos and statzzz, I have the following thoughts on Iman Shumpert.
Shumpert seems like a great guy. If you haven't done so already, check out the video taken at the moment of his induction into the "professional athlete" realm, as read by David Stern. Although a single video doesn't seem like enough to register any sort of impression, that one is powerful to me. Additionally, if you've watched any of his other interview videos (here, here, here), he seems to be a very self-aware guy.
- Who does he look up to? Jason Kidd because he does some of everything.
- Who does he think he's most similar to? Russell Westbrook, another athletic freak with bad shooting numbers and a penchant for drawing fouls.
- What does he bring to the team that decides to draft him? He brings energy and he brings defense.
- Is he a combo guard or a pure point? Well, according to him, if you put him next to a "dominant wing," (Any of those on the Knicks?) he will truly excel as a passer and decision maker.
I tried to think of a comparison for both his playing style, athleticism, and silently confident personality. Who I've come up with is Wilson Chandler (he even kind of looks like Wil). If you were to go into create-a-player mode in a basketball videogame and start with Wilson Chandler rather than from scratch, you would take two inches off (circumcision joke!), turn the "assists" dial up two ticks and the "rebounds" dial down one. Congratulations, you now have a version of Wilson Chandler that's better-equipped to play point and shooting guard than small and power forward. Anybody who's been following the Knicks for the past three years or so will understand why this dude may be perfect for them. That's the way I see it, and until I'm proven wrong, I'm going to defend this pick fervently.
Harrellson may get his own post at some point, but I'm not familiar enough with him yet to comment on his play or potential. The only thing on which I will comment is his internet savvy and unorthodox personality, two things that will get you loved by Knicks fans real quick. Welcome to the team, if you're reading, Jorts.
The only major gripe I have about Donnie Walsh's final Knicks draft is his lack of activity in the early-mid second round. Plenty of teams were willing to take their picks and sell them for cash, so I'm not sure why Walsh just sat on his hands and only picked up Harrellson. If you follow my Twitter, in which case I apologize, you know how enamored by Charles Jenkins I was and continue to be (He's from Queens, went to Hofstra, plays amazing and seems like a great guy! What the hell?) Darius Morris lasted until the 41st pick and Josh Selby nearly went undrafted. What was the Knicks' front office waiting for?
Anyway, that's what I think as of right now. How about you?