Phil Jackson, Philly J, Zen Master, Jackmaster Phil, Montana P-boy, Mr. Jeanie Buss, King Philip and the 11 Rings of the Round Table.
So ends the obligatory reference to the Knicks' team president. Now let's move on to the recently concluded NBA Draft Combine. It happened, the Knicks sent people there, those people people did things. I would like to share a few thoughts on how those people and things might affect the Knicks in the months to come.
1. The Knicks appear to be focusing on shooting guards. Good for them!
Isaiah Whitehead, Michael Gbinije, Wayne Selden, Josh Hart. It seems the majority of the players connected with the Knicks were shooting guards, or at least capable of playing the position. It's nearly impossible to draft for need in the second round -- if the Knicks even manage to buy a pick with their $3.3 million, that is -- but there could a glut of intriguing shooting guard prospects available late in the draft.
That would be a nice coincidence, as New York is thinnest at shooting guard. For all the (very legitimate) concerns about the point guard position, the tandem of Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant looks rock-friggin'-solid compared to the black hole at the 2. I fully expect them to attack the position in free agency, but it would be nice to have a youngster offering some depth with a hint of upside.
At the very least the Knicks seem aware of their biggest area of weakness. If Kurt "Let's Try Porzingis at the 3" Rambis was interviewing nothing but centers and power forwards, now that would be a tad concerning.
2. Allan Houston should probably be considered a real asset at this point.
Allan Houston had morphed into something of a front office Herb Williams over the past decade -- he kept his job through multiple regimes, and you weren't really sure what he brought to the organization other than his friendship with the owner. He was just sort of there.
That really isn't the case anymore. Houston has run the Knicks' D-League franchise over the past two years, and he did an objectively fantastic job building the W-Knicks from nothing into a playoff team. I should probably write more about this next week! The point is, he's done good work. As an added bonus, he still carries name value enough to impress prospects like Whitehead and Cheick Diallo.
3. A good front office scouts way beyond the Combine.
You probably heard it about a dozen times last week: Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson, who has put forth some impressive work over the past few months, wasn't even invited to last year's Combine. Pat Riley throws away draft picks like dollar bills at a strip club and yet still digs up guys like Richardson and Tyler Johnson (another non-invitee) because he is the goddamn devil.
You know who else didn't receive an invite? Langston Galloway. The Knicks can uncover a good player in the 2nd round, or even after the draft. They just have to put in the same work that helped them find Galloway.