Knicks FanBlog Sweet 16

We won’t be doing any mock drafts in this space until Tuesday evening following the results of the lottery but, in the meantime, here’s our ranking of the top 16 prospects that are eligible for this year’s draft. This list is simply based on our own impressions and opinions of these players (although names are linked to their profiles at DraftExpress.com). We’re not trying to present some sort of consensus of how these prospects are viewed by the draft experts. Without further ado:

  1. Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma
  2. Ricky Rubio, PG, DKV Joventut
  3. James Harden, SG, Arizona State
  4. Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona
  5. Stephen Curry, G, Davidson
  6. DuJuan Blair, PF, Pittsburgh
  7. Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn
  8. Jrue Holiday, G, UCLA
  9. Earl Clark, F, Louisville
  10. Demar DeRozan, G/F, USC
  11. Terence Williams, G/F. Louisville
  12. Brandon Jennings, PG, Virtus Roma
  13. Nick Calathes, G, Florida
  14. Eric Maynor, PG, VCU
  15. Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina
  16. Jonny Flynn PG, Syracuse
  • We imagine the first two aren’t very controversial but it did take us a few minutes to decide between Rubio and Griffin for the top spot. In the end, after some discussion, we decided that a big man with Griffin’s athleticism and ability is just too valuable a commodity to pass on in that first spot. But we’re both big believers in Rubio and Griffin has some limitations that make him less than a cornerstone player (you can read about that here).
  • We also struggled with where to slot Thabeet. A player with his size and athleticism has a pretty big built-in upside but he has big-time bust potential as well. In the end, though, we think his ceiling is probably something like Sam Dalembert or Joel Pryzbilla and just couldn’t justify putting him any higher than 7th.
  • You’ll notice how guard heavy this list is. This draft is almost completely devoid of capable big men. A good argument could be made for James Johnson of Wake Forest as a top 16 prospect (he was one of the last cuts), but we like the guards better.
  • And, considering how guard heavy the list is, we know that some will think we’re crazy for leaving Tyreke Evans off our list. But we are not Evans supporters at this blog. Evans is the type of player who would have thrived with Isiah’s no accountability, chuck-and-duck version of the Knicks. Yes, we know he won a whole bunch of games in a row with Memphis in Conference USA. He’ll be a fine pick for the Warriors or any other team that values guards who pound the ball into the ground for 20 seconds and then force up contested shots.
  • It should also be noted that Dan has serious reservations about Brandon Jennings and, if this wasn’t a collaboration, he might not even have him in his Top 16. In the end, though, he was sort of persuaded (but not really) that at 12, his upside justified the risk.
  • Originally the list was going to be a “fine 15″, but we couldn’t decide between Lawson or Flynn so we just expanded it to 16 players. Those two, while very different types of PGs, were difficult to distinguish between for the purpose of this list.

Of course, we welcome debate.

4 comments

  1. Jon

    Lol, sorry Virgil. I know you love him.

    I’d say though he’s probably right there with James Johnson in our next group. I think he can be a nice player that can finish on the break and help a team space the floor, but if he’s taken too high I think he may end up disappointing.

    However, I do think he could be a good fit on the Knicks if they were to acquire a second first rounder. He’d be a much better prospect if he profiled as a better defender.

  2. SpaceMan

    1.griffin
    2.rubio
    3.derozan
    4.harden
    5.clark
    6.evans
    7.holliday
    8.jennings
    9.curry
    10.flynn
    11.bundinger
    12.hill
    14.thabeet
    15.lawson
    16.williams

    i think derozan is going to be a GREAT player.

  3. Jon

    Derozan has amazing physical ability and a very pretty mid-range J, but right now he’s just a finisher sort of like Richard Jefferson was coming out of college. In order to reach his full potential, he’s going to have to work on figuring out how to create shots for himself. If he does that or, even better, figures out how to create shots for himself *and* his teammates, it’s not unfathomable that with his natural talent he could emerge as the best player from this draft. But I think he has a ton of work to do before he gets there. At this point, he doesn’t exhibit well developed ball-handling or passing skills which limits him severely in half-court situations. A team that drafts him in the top 10 will be gambling to some extent on what he might become after a couple years of hard work.

    That said, every team in the league could probably use a guy that can finish plays like DeRozan can.

Post a comment

You may use the following HTML:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>