If you missed Part One of this article, shame on you, because I made the extremely mature decision to hate on every single prospect the Knicks might pick. And everyone should know about it and tell all their friends about it. Get it together, you cowards.
Last time we checked out the guys the Knicks are most likely to draft. This time, let’s check in on the less likely (and far less perfect) options available if the Knicks decide to trade back.
High end: Young Paul Millsap body with old Paul Millsap game
Clarke has elite athleticism, strength, and solid size... for a power forward, even if he blocks shots and boards like a center. We know Clarke was arguably the best defender in college, so he will probably be a good bet for strong defense in the NBA. Additionally, he will provide rim protection at either position as soon as he steps on the NBA floor — that kind of shot blocking usually translates. Can he play the 4 though? Those big man skills are a lot less impressive from the 5 spot than the 4 spot. Whether he credibly plays the 4 will depend wholly on if he can do what Paul Millsap did: modernize his game. Clarke has touch and great mid-range numbers, but if he can extend out to the 3-point line (even if only for catch-and-shoots) he will become the next in a line of tremendous plus-plus role players bordering on All-Stars such as Shawn Marion, Paul Millsap and Pascal Siakam. That’s a plug-and-play difference maker on any team.
Mid level: Pascal Siakam, but instead of evolving into basketball Slenderman, he just has questionable ball handling and shooting
Clarke is 23. He old, bruh. Son probably been copping brews for the underage homies for years now at Gonzaga. If he could shoot threes and put the ball on the deck, he probably would have shown a bit more of that already. Was it due to scheme? Could be, but you would expect some more flashes. In this case, you’re getting a great defender at the 4/5 who can knock a mid-range shot down but probably shouldn’t touch the ball on offense beyond being an outlet valve, spotting up, or cleaning up the glass, and who might be crowding your spacing a bit on offense. What Pascal used to be before he got all the Infinity Stones, basically.
Low end: Renaldo Balkman with a midrange jumper
All that energy and athleticism don’t mean shiiiiii if you can’t pair it with good decisions. Shout to random Puerto Rican national team vet and Knick legend Renaldo Balkman!
High end: Brolic Luol Deng
Fun fact: Luol Deng actually never had great block or steal rates in the NBA... Hunter didn’t have that at Virginia, either. That is pretty rare for someone who was as great a defender as Luol was in Chicago, or DH at Virginia. For a wing with decent size and wingspan, Luol also was never a particularly good rebounder... just like DH in college. But then again, tremendous defense with the ability to knock down threes every now and then and also create a bit off the dribble is still incredibly useful — probably more so now than in Luol’s prime. This is what a team is hoping for with DH. If he can hit that upper teens scoring range like Luol did with reasonable efficiency, while sprinkling a little shot creation, that’s a coveted player.
Mid level: If Mikal and Miles Bridges did the Dragon Ball Z fusion dance but only kept the skill level of whoever was worse for any given skill (i.e. Mikal’s handle, Miles’ jumper, Mikal’s hops, Mikal’s passing, Miles’ defense)
This description is actually incredibly self-explanatory, though I’d peg Hunter’s handles as somewhere in between Mikal and Miles. It also chalks up some of Hunter’s high percentages to small sample size, pegging him as closer to a solid shooter than an elite one depicted by his incredible 3P% (44) last year.
Low end: Jared Dudley if he didn’t always do the most
Solid bench player who can knock down open (and even contested) threes, but can’t meaningfully create a shot and is overrated on defense, rarely creating event plays but playing solid positional defense. Super boring, but still useful.
Warning: Cam is probably the guy I think is the most overrated in this whole group. I was very tempted to just put a picture of a trashcan lit aflame up above. Let the record show that even in the late stages of his career, Trevor Ariza still can hoop when he gives a shit — he got traded to the Wizards and ended the season surprisingly strong. And we all know he was a huge part of the Rockets team that gave the Warriors trouble in 2018. However, whilst in the desert with the cluster-fucked Suns, his vaunted defense vanished, as did his dependable jumper. He didn’t help the team in any way. Like Cam, Ariza on the Rockets and Suns didn’t really use what little athleticism he had (Ariza’s high-flyer days are long gone... Cam has never had such days). The best case for Cam is his jumper becomes reliable, he realizes his strength is shooting and defending, and he cuts out all the other bullshit he sucks at from his game — and even then, you still probably have to worry about whether the motivated third-gun-on-the-team Cam is gonna show up or the passive sidekick one is.
Mid level: Taller Austin Rivers
If I gave you Cam Reddish’s college numbers without his measurements, you would look at his sub-40 FG%, his terrible rebounding and his lack of FTA and probably assume we were looking at some 6-foot tall, water-bug-type combo guard, not a 6-foot-8 long-armed wing WhO iS tHe NeXt PaUl GeOrGe. Cam plays like a tiny guard who doesn’t know what to do with the ball because he isn’t fast or athletic, and his long arms do not help him when he can’t get to the rim — which is most of the time. Like Austin Rivers, he also thinks his handle and jumper are much, much better than they actually are.
Tall Austin Rivers could be a useful bench player, though!
Low end: Pre-Spurs Danny Green
Remember that version of DG? Couldn’t crack 40 percent from the field, couldn’t crack league-average from three, ended up playing as a Reno Bighorn for a hot minute?
High end: Malnourished T-Rex arms Donovan Mitchell
Donovan has great skill, questionable decision making, a beautiful jumper (his percentages off the catch, like Coby at UNC, are elite), and is a combo guard. Both are also pretty athletic, albeit in different ways. However, Donovan very much relies on his strength and length for finishes, for paint forays, for getting to the line, and for defense. Coby — with a wingspan equal to his height and a weight which is one-fifth afro — almost certainly will never have the kind of frame Donny has, making it that much harder for him to become a plus finisher, or get to the line, or play good defense. What does that leave you with? A talented, sometimes inefficient scorer who can you can plug into most teams as a useful bench microwave guard for 25-35 minutes a game. If the 3-point shooting can actualize and he can take a high volume, that might offset the tough shot selection. If he gains finesse finishing ability a la Mike Conley/Kemba Walker/Kyle Lowry, he might be a problem on offense as a combo.
Mid level: Lou Williams if he thought he wasn’t allowed to go in the restricted area ever
Sweet Lou developed incredible efficiency through a combination of elite pull-up shooting and elite free throw rate. You take away the free throws and what are you left with? An inefficient scorer who is still an elite shooter, who mitigates his great shot mechanics by choosing tough shots regularly, who isn’t helping on defense, and who isn’t doing much point-guarding either. Make what you will of that.
Low end: Better-shooting Eric Maynor
Remember Eric Maynor? Pretty sure he was the only NBA player i’ve seen over the last few years taller than 6-foot but below 165 pounds.