Tagged: Jonny Flynn

Rubio Will Leave Joventut, Arrival In NBA Not Certain

Ricky Rubio plans to leave his former Spanish team, Joventut. This does not necessarily mean he will play in the NBA though. According to ESPN.com (finger point to Virgil) Real Madrid and Barcelona have expressed an interest in the young point guard who many have inaccurately compared to Pistol Pete Maravich. Rubio has stated “I want to play in a winning team, on a team that can achieve many things.” That doesn’t exactly sound like the T-Wolves, but as we know, David Khan is in Spain right now trying to aid a buy-out. He wouldn’t be doing so if he didn’t think he could bring Rubio state-side.

Virgil and Ewing33 asked in the comments of my last post whether this means Flynn might now be available, and Jon said, maybe, but is it worth it?

I think it depends. Would you rather have Flynn (who Walsh didn’t seem too enamored with just prior to the draft), or would you rather have Chandler and Sessions (assuming the Knicks could land him). I’m firmly in favor of the later.

Jennings Update

Brandon Jennings handled the media relatively well after his New York workout, turning his derision for Rubio into admiration (per Hahn):

“I think I got a little carried away with it,” Jennings said after his workout with the Knicks Monday. “I was having too much fun with it. He’s not all hype. The kid hasmore experience than everybody in this draft, he’s been playing [professionally] since he was 14. He’s a great player, he did his thing in the Olympics. Overall, he’s a great person. I know him, we did a photoshoot together. No disrespect to Ricky Rubio.”

Nice display of humility but I’m not buying it. I think someone (Dan Fegan) told him to tone it down and he listened. In my opinion Jennings already let the cat out of the bag and let slip a taste of some “me-first” attitude that Knicks fans have (or should have) grown to despise by now.

Also with regards to Jennings, Chad Ford filed this report today:

Sources say Jennings’ combination of speed and quickness was impressive, but his shot selection and jump shots were not. Neither was his slight frame. From the sound of things, Jennings was probably more impressive in his Golden State workout than in the one in Sacramento.

By most accounts Flynn is a extremely fast and quick, but  a good decision maker. I can think of a recent Knick who had a slight frame and poor shot selection (Jamal Crawford). With so many smart, solid, team oriented PG prospects who look like they have  good heads on their shoulders, I’m still leery about Jennings.

Chris Alvino does a good job summarizing the rest of Chad’s peice. Short version: things are really in flux right now, and it’s getting hard to keep track of all the rumors.

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.

LeBroptimism + Draft Rumors = Beautiful

After months of stagnation (that led to some natural LePessimism) on the Lebron James sweepstakes rumor mill, we’re now enjoying a seeming tidal wave of LeBroptimism coupled today with a very interesting draft rumor. This new tidbit comes courtesy of Brent Axe at Syracuse.com by way of Tommy Dee at the Knicks Blog. Here’s the take away:

Most of you will remember that Flynn attended Lebron’s skills academy last summer where he did very, very well.

I’m sure most of you also remember this report about King James courting Flynn’s services for his agent, Leon Rose.

Just so happens Rose was also recently on the SU campus to give a lecture.

See where we are heading? We don’t exactly need the team from “CSI” to crack this one.

What may take the team from “CSI” to prove is what is becoming a favorite conspiracy theory of mine.

Two NBA scouts that Kevin Ware (the producer and update anchor on my ESPN Radio show) spoke with today said that the New York Knicks love Flynn. We all know how badly the Knicks are going to want Lebron next summer.

It turns out that love is mutual as some spies tell me that Flynn is a big Knicks guy and can’t wait to work out for them to show them what he can do.

Wow. I mean I like Jonny Flynn a great deal. I think he’s a very nice prospect and I view him as the 3rd best pure PG presently expected to be in the draft (after Rubio and Jennings).

But, much more importantly, LeBron apparently loves Jonny Flynn. And the Knicks love LeBron and Jonny Flynn. And Jonny Flynn loves LeBron and the Knicks. Does Lebron love the Knicks with Jonny Flynn? Perhaps only time will tell. In the meantime, though, another nice dose of LeBroptimism and a juicy draft rumor to boot. Ya gotta love that.

Sweet 16 Games to Watch

Hi all. The Sweet 16 sure sneaked up fast. Very excited about the matchups this weekend and, as an aside, how good has this tournament been so far? It may not be the strongest draft in NBA history but there’s obviously a lot of parity in college basketball this year, and that’s made for a lot of quality tournament games. And the Sweet 16 appears poised to be even better.  As such, I’ve got three featured matchups this round instead of two. So, without further ado, here are the games/matchups that I think the Knicks ought to be watching today and tomorrow (as always, links are to DraftExpress):

Today, Purdue/Connecticut: As far as scouting the NBA draft is concerned, tomorrow offers a better slate of games than tonight does. As I’ve mentioned in this space before, I have a hard time getting too excited about Tyreke Evans, and I’m not a big Gerald Henderson guy either. (Does Henderson remind anyone else of a smoother, better shooting Shandon Anderson? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but here’s hoping the Knicks don’t spend their lottery pick on a shinier version of  Shandon Anderson.)

The one game I see that offers a potentially intriguing matchup is the big man battle between Purdue and UConn. I think everyone knows Hasheem Thabeet so I won’t spend time breaking him down, but tonight, he’s facing off against Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson, a 6’10, but rail-thin, 4/5  with a skill set that brings to mind Rasheed Wallace.  Johnson has some decent post moves and he has a really nice touch out to 18 feet on a tough-to-block jumper he releases from high above his head. He’s also a very good shot-blocker.  But he is painfully thin and, if Thabeet is truly worthy of his  lofty Top 5 status, you would think he should absolutely abuse Johnson tonight on the blocks. If he can’t (or just doesn’t) push Johnson around to get pretty much whatever he wants, people should worry.

And that’s not to assail Johnson as a prospect. He has really nice talent (though he may be a year away) but Thabeet should be an impossible matchup for him. We’ll find out if he is.

Tomorrow, Syracuse/Oklahoma: Of course, everyone knows Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin and we’ve already broken down Willie Warren pretty extensively in a prior post. Tomorrow night, we’ll get to see how Griffin fares against Syracuse’s pretty effective 2-3 zone that’s sure to try to pack it in tight and force Griffin’s teammates to win the game. That’s where Warren comes in. In the second round against Michigan (tear), Griffin could not be stopped. Warren recognized that, stepped back, and allowed his teammate to carry the Sooners to victory (while chipping in very nicely). Tomorrow night, if Syracuse executes its game plan, Warren’s going to have to get much more aggressive and make some big plays against Syracuse’s excellent backcourt.

Syracuse boasts Jonny Flynn, a PG I like more and more each time I see him. I don’t think he has other worldly court vision and instincts and he’s a little bit undersized. But Flynn sees the floor pretty well,  makes good decisions, controls the pace of play, has a sick handle and he’s a great athlete and strong as an ox. He may not be Chris Paul, but he is unquestionably a PG and a born leader. This is a tough matchup for Syracuse as, on paper, they really don’t have anyone on the roster that can check Griffin. If the Orange win this game, Flynn’s likely to be the main reason why, and this game alone could give his draft stock a nice boost.

Gonzaga/North Carolina: This game features some players that draftniks have been touting for quite a while: Tarheels Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson and Austin Daye of Gonzaga. But tomorrow, I’ll be focusing more on a couple of guards that have stepped it up in recent weeks: Wayne Ellington and Matt Bouldin.

Ellington has been around for a while and has developed a reputation as a pretty one dimensional, but lights out shooter. Lately, though, he’s become much more varied in his scoring seeking to compliment his jump-shooting with a more aggressive game off the bounce. Some have believed that Ellington had this within him for a quite a while, but for whatever reason, it took him until his junior year to show it.  North Carolina wings do have some history of entering the NBA draft as underrated prospects (see Carter, Vince and Jordan, Air) and I’m interested to see if Ellington is another example of a 2 guard at UNC who’s talent has perhaps been obscured by some of his more widely-acclaimed teammates (though he’s nowhere near the player those guys were).

Gonzaga’s Bouldin is a 6’5 G who can do a lot of things. He has the handle and court vision to run point very effectively and he’s also a pretty lethal shooter from all over the court (50% FG, 44% 3FG). He’s had a terrific year for the Bulldogs (finally emerging as the kind of threat they expected him to be when he arrived 3 years ago) and he’s also been strong in the tournament thus far.  This draft boasts a lot of multi-talented guards that could be good fits with the Knicks should they acquire an extra pick later on the first round and Bouldin is another example of that.

Also, speaking of nice wings with varied skill sets, if you’ve never seen him, keep an eye on Manhasset’s own Danny Green. I profiled him here a while back and remain high on him. He’s Carolina’s glue and I think Green will be able reprise that role at the next level.