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Know The Prospect: Emmanuel Mudiay

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Could Emmanuel Mudiay end the Knicks' star point guard drought?

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Emmanuel Mudiay was born in Kinshasha, in the Congo, where he lived until he was five. He lost his father and lived through a civil war that made bombings, gunfire, and ethnic violence an everyday reality. His family moved to Arlington, Texas, where Mudiay played high school ball at Prime Prep, a charter school founded by Deion Sanders which is now defunct and facing serious debts and lawsuits. After Prime Prep was exposed as a fraudulent institution, there were questions about Mudiay's transcripts at Southern Methodist University, where he was going to run the point for James Dolan's Public Enemy #1, Larry Brown. Mudiay decided to bypass the headache and instead earn a little over a million dollars playing for the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball League (CBL).

He's faced adversity throughout his life and seems to find a way to rise above to where he wants to be. Nice to see that in a potential point guard.

Mudiay's 6'5" and 200 pounds with plus-athleticism. In other words, he's bigger, stronger, and faster than D'Angelo Russell. See?

There aren't a lot of stats for Mudiay, having played just 12 games for Guangdong after suffering an early-season ankle injury. He averaged 18 points a game on 48% shooting, 6 assists, 6 rebounds, had one triple double and a true shooting percentage of 53%. One stat of concern: Mudiay shot only 57% from the free throw line. One stat to raise hopes: in 2014, in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League, Mudiay shot 6 of 41 (15%) on threes. Last year in China, against grown-ass men, he went 13 of 38 (34%).

It appears Mr. Mudiay enjoys throwing down on fools.

In the CBL highlights below he shows strength in traffic, able to bounce off bodies while keeping his balance. Sometimes he looks like a running back playing basketball, reminiscent of Stephon Marbury, whose Beijing Ducks Mudiay faced for the CBL title. There are a few clips of Mudiay hitting running jumpers. If he can make those consistently and develop the teardrop Shane Larkin never quite mastered and Langston Galloway did, Mudiay could be a lethal penetrator. And Phil Jackson's all about penetration.

(And if the Knicks do draft him, they should evidently sign Yi Jianlian, too. Yi's on the business end of almost all these Mudiay highlights.)

The CBL plays 37 games in a 90-day season. That sounded crazy, until I saw the Knicks played their first 37 games in 69 days last year. NBA Cares, huh? Mudiay missed most of Guangdong's season but did rack up 378 minutes against professionals - nowhere near the 1150 minutes D'Angelo Russell and Jahlil Okafor played in college, and about half as many as Karl-Anthony Towns. Is there a formula for equating minutes versus boys versus men? Step your game up, sports-reference.com.

Mudiay's big for a point guard, meaning the Knicks could replicate some of the more successful Triangle backcourts of the past by pairing him with a shooter, even if that shooter is a bit on the small side; ideally, pairing Mudiay with a three-and-D wing like a Wesley Matthews or Khris Middleton would give New York an imposing and versatile two-way backcourt, one that could switch pick-and-rolls unflinchingly. Playing him alongside the Galloways of the world would unleash Mudiay to focus exclusively on getting to the basket, a seek-and-destroy mission he looks built for.

Some question what the fit would be like between Mudiay and Carmelo Anthony, both of whom are far more dangerous with the ball in their hands than without. To that I offer a heartfelt IDGAF. The Knicks don't have a 1st-round pick next year. Whomever they take in next month's draft will be approaching his first contract extension when Melo's 35 and his current deal's expiring. The Knicks need to draft the best player possible, someone they view not as a complement to Anthony, but a cornerstone that will stand long after #7's gone.

Whether it's Mudiay or any of the other top prospects in the draft, the Knicks best hope for the future is hitting a home run June 25th.