Tagged: Darren Collison

Picks for Sale! And PG Rankings.

Chad Ford reports that the Knicks, Pacers, and Rockets are among the teams looking to buy a pick. Who are the sellers in the first round?

…The Wizards have a high lottery pick they’d consider moving.

The Pistons at No. 15, the Hornets at No. 21 and the Blazers at No. 24 are also all willing to deal. And a few teams with multiple first-round picks — the Thunder, Grizzlies and Bulls — might be willing to sell, too.

Ideally I wouldn’t want the Knicks to give up an asset besides cold hard cash for a pick. I like the idea of building a young, core group of guys that will include Chandler and Gallo.

Ford also did a straw poll of NBA GMs to get the current consensus rankings for point guards. It has to worry Steph Curry/Knicks fans that he is currently considered the second best PG prospect:

1. Rubio

2. Curry

3. Flynn

4. Holiday

5. Evans (I don’t believe he’s a PG)

6. Teague

7. Jennings

8. Maynor

9. Lawson

10. Mills

11. Collison

12. Calathas

13. Toney Douglas

I would be happy with any of Curry, Flynn, or Holiday, with Curry a strong preference (not including Rubio because I think he’ll be gone). It looks like the Knicks could definitely get one of them.

Epilogue: UCLA 65, VCU 64

Just as we’d hoped, this turned out to be an exciting game right down to the closing seconds and each of our featured guards, VCU’s Eric Maynor and UCLA’s Darren Collison and Jrue Holiday, had a chance to shine. I’m glad not to have steered you wrong as this game did in fact prove a good opportunity to scout three very talented guards all of whom could end up on the Knicks radar in June.

Maynor was particularly brilliant in carrying his team, along with the sometimes very impressive 6’10 PF Larry Sanders (love the name!), to the precipice of victory against one of the premier programs in the country. He showed off his entire arsenal: creative decision-making, crisp passing, clutch shooting and a nifty floater he uses effectively to finish off dribble penetration, while keeping the turnovers to a minimum. Another Maynor hallmark that was evident last night was his propensity to shine in big moments. During the regular season, Maynor always appeared to have a knack for taking his game up a notch in the closing 6 minutes to put an opponent away. He showed that extra gear once again in the second half of last night’s game (on a much bigger stage) and very nearly knocked off a goliath. Maynor’s flaws were also on display. He’s a smart player but he’s not supremely athletic and his on-the-ball defense needs improvement. He also needs to get much stronger. Maynor was great last night but, in the closing seconds, he was ultimately unable to get enough separation to get his jumper off over Darren Collison.

Collison also showed what he is capable of, despite playing most of the game in foul trouble. He’s an intelligent and competent distributor who knows how to run a team and he’s an aggressive defender. If the Knicks go big in the lottery, Collison would be a solid addition to the backcourt later in the draft should the Knicks manage to acquire a second pick.

Fortuitously (for us), Collison’s foul trouble also gave us the chance to get a closer look at Jrue Holiday running point for the Bruins and he did not disappoint. Although just a freshman, Holiday showed a nice combination of savvy and natural ability filling in for Collison. It’s pretty clear that he’s a good athlete, strong ball-handler and solid decision maker (particularly for a player so young). Right now, Holiday seems more comfortable as a complimentary piece (though, when called upon, he did make some big plays last night), but then so did Russell Westbrook at this time last year, so it’s certainly possible he could grow into more of a lead dog. Even if he doesn’t, he looks like he’s going to be a fine NBA player.

NCAA First Round Games to Watch

Here’s a primer for the first round of the NCAA tournament. These aren’t necessarily the games I’d watch if I was just trying to enjoy the tournament, but these are the most interesting games from the standpoint of getting a chance to see college prospects that might interest the Knicks in the upcoming draft in June:

UCLA v. Virginia Commonwealth: This is, in my opinion, by far the most intriguing first round game in the entire tournament. Aside from the fact that it should be an exciting game (VCU could very well take down the Bruins), the game also offers us a chance to see Eric Maynor, a player some consider the best PG in the country, go up against Darren Collison, UCLA’s fine senior PG and Jrue Holiday, a freshman combo G who is the future of UCLA’s program (unless he decides to go pro).

Maynor is a guy the Knicks should definitely have their eye on as he’s a pure point who can score, sees the floor well, and makes great decisions with the basketball. He’s also shown that he plays big on the biggest stages (witness this two minute stretch in the finals of the Colonial league’s 2007 conference tourney and this stirring upset of Duke in the 2007 NCAAs). Opinions really run the gamut on Maynor. As I said earlier, some see him as the best PG in the college game while others see him as a somewhat limited prospect due to his slight frame and just average athleticism. The tournament will likely help to shape a consensus and a good showing against UCLA could give his draft stock a big boost.

Collison is an NBA-ready backup PG. He has a slight frame, he’s not flashy and he doesn’t have the great floor vision to be an elite PG but Collison is a great on-the-ball defender and he knows how to run a team. In this game look for him to put a ton of on-the-ball pressure on Maynor and make him work hard for everything he gets. Holiday has a much bigger upside but has largely tended to defer to his more experienced teammates this season. He’s a great athlete with a refined skill-set but we really won’t get a chance to see what he’s capable of until next season when (and if) he takes over the PG reins. If Holiday has a big tournament it’s possible he could declare but if he goes back to school and has a big year running the show he could work his way into the top 5-10 picks of the 2010 draft.

Arizona St. at Temple: I’d especially urge you to check this game out if you haven’t seen James Harden play yet. Harden is a virtual lock for the top 5 in this year’s draft. It’s his basketball IQ that makes him so fun to watch. He simply refuses to force the issue. If the defense he’s facing is set up to deny him good looks, Harden patiently makes plays for his teammates. If the defense changes up to offer some opportunities, he immediately recognizes and starts looking for his offense. His ability to think the game has led to a lot of Brandon Roy comparisons. He loves to set up on the wing and then attack towards the elbow looking to either get to the rim or create an easy bucket for a teammate. If the defense gives him space, he’s a very capable shooter with NBA 3 point range. Harden’s not a great defender but, as with everything else, he’s very smart at that end of the court. And ASU plays a lot of zone.

Temple sports Dionte Christmas, a senior wing who is, right now, a solid second round prospect. Christmas is a primarily a perimeter shooter in the Michael Redd mold but, like Redd, he can score in a multitude of ways when the 3-ball isn’t falling. He’s is a good athlete and a decent defender. With a good tournament he could catapult himself up into the back end first round. In D’Antoni’s system the Knicks will always need players that can stroke it and if DW can acquire an extra pick in the late first/early second round area, Christmas could make some sense for the Knicks as a guard off the bench who can help space the floor.

Also, keep an eye on ASU’s Jeff Pendergraph. He’s a smart, reasonably athletic big that should find a home in the NBA.