Tagged: Jrue Holiday

Knicks Pick Picture Clear As The East River

Only two days until the draft and projections are all over the place:

Hahn says the Knicks are after Curry or Evans.

Vescey says watch for Rubio. NOTE: Vescey also confirms the Knicks are looking to get the 5th pick from Washington for just Hughes and a couple of expirings, but would then, instead of taking two skilled players at different positions, package the two picks for number 2. In the end its a trade of 8 and Hughes for 2. Still a good deal but I think I’d rather have 5 and 8.

Berman says the Knicks are taking a Holiday, or Evans, or Curry, or Hill.

Chad Ford says make way for Jennings, or Holiday…or Evans, or Hill, or Curry, or Rubio.

Jrue Coming In For A Second Look?

It seems the Knicks are trying to schedule a second look at Jrue Holiday before next week’s draft. This suggests one of two things:

  1. The Knicks are very interested in Holiday and want to become even more comfortable with him before draft day in case he’s on the board at 8.
  2. The Knicks want teams to believe that they’re very interested in Holiday.

Either way it’s an interesting development.

Kyler: Curry in the Top 5 Just NYC Hype

Over the past week and a half or so, it seems Steph Curry has emerged as the fastest rising player in this draft. First, Blake Griffin called Curry the second best player in the draft. Then he scorched the nets and blew Knicks’ brass away during his head-to-head workout with Jrue Holiday. And now it seems like every team between 2 and 7 is a threat to pull the trigger on him and potentially spoil the draft night of at least half our fan base (unless, of course, the Knicks got an even better player).

Now, I’m not saying that I don’t believe the hype. We certainly love Steph Curry around here and it sure seems like he’s blowing up right now. But Steve Kyler of Hoopsworld, for one, is not buying it. Check out this Q and A from his chat this afternoon:

Art in New York:
Hey Steve, There’s alot of rumors swirling around about Curry going earlier than 8th, do you think its true or its just the hype from the New York media because he is what the knicks want???

Steve Kyler:
I think everything around Curry is New York hype… I have been told he’s the third name on their board, so I would say most people will be surprised where he ends up I doubt he goes #6 to Minnesota… #7 to Golden State would piss off Monta Ellis… Washington does not take him at #5… Sacramento is not looking at him at #4… OKC gets Rubio at #3, so Curry #2 to Memphis?

No chance.

(The two names Kyler’s hearing are ahead of Curry on the Knicks’ board are Jordan Hill and Jrue Holiday.)

One thing I should mention about the guys at Hoopsworld that I’m sure you can detect in that response: They all have this air of self-assuredness that seems to imply that they own a monopoly on the good intel and that we can ignore everything else we’ve read/heard and take what they say to the bank. And Steve Kyler is no exception in that respect.

While I’m not quite as confident in Steve Kyler’s information as Steve Kyler appears to be, the logic behind what he’s saying is valid. The fact is, although Curry seems to be in the mix everywhere, he doesn’t seem to be the first choice of any top 7 team. Maybe those teams are still playing coy and trying to disguise their interest. That’d be good business. But it could also be that the New York media is indeed fueling the explosion of hype around Curry. In fact, Kyler’s going so far as to say that Curry isn’t even the Knicks’ top choice at 8.

So, while I’m not convinced that Curry will be there at 8 when the Knicks select (no matter how confidently Steve Kyler proclaims it), I remain equally unconvinced that the team has to trade up if he’s the target.

Where does that leave us? I have no idea.

Bad News Brandon

Some of our valued readers know that we aren’t fans of Brandon Jennings here. We just respectfully disagree on the issue. There have been questions about, for example, the kid’s attitude. He’s certainly not doing anything to make anyone lower those red flags, inflating himself at the expense of other prospects (via Hoopsworld):

Jennings Spouts Off: Half of the NBA Draft process is convincing a team that you are a better fit than the guy in front of you, but it is generally considered bad form to call out or disrespect the guys your competing against. Apparently Brandon Jennings did not get that memo. In an interview with Sporting News’ Sean Deveney, Jennings said he did not think Memphis guard Tyreke Evans or UCLA’s Jrue Holiday would make good NBA point guards.

“No, I don’t think so,” said Jennings of Holiday and Evans being NBA point guards. “To be a point guard, it has to be in you. I don’t think you can suddenly be a point guard after one year. You are the leader, you are the quarterback, and that takes a lot of understanding. You have to make the right play, you have to run a team, you have to be a leader, you have to see things out there on the court. People might say, “He can be a point guard in the league.” But that is a hard transition. You have to know how to do it. You have to be the one to take the heat when things don’t go right.”

Jennings is a bit late to the game in terms of meeting with teams. Jennings opted not to play in the Eurocamp last week, a move most scouts were disappointed with as teams really wanted to see Jennings in a competitive 5-on-5 situation. Jennings is projected to go in the top 15 selections.

It’s pretty funny for Jennings to call out Evan’s and Holiday for not “mak[ing] the right play”, “run[ning] a team”, “being a leader”, and displaying those “things out there on the court”.

Last I checked, Evans and Holiday displayed a lot more “out there on the court”, than Jennings, who has struggled to find meaningful minutes in truly competitive situations (Rubio and Gallinari are a similar same age and made solid contributions against the same level competition). Add to that they showed up for the combine and measurements while Jennings did not. Jennings is throwing lots of stones but he’s living in a fragile glass house. Not very savvy.

Further, if you read the glowing, complimentary things that other prospects have to say about one another, its plain to see they are much more professional than this kid.

Will the Knicks wind up with him. Without any inside information, I put it at 1%. I don’t want them to. If they do take him I hope he lives up to the hype of those that like him, but as of now, to me, he’s radioactive.

So what’s the scenario?

Here we go yo.

There are so many scenarios that could play out this offseason. We’re getting to the point of the summer where there is so much information, and misinformation, that my head is spinning. I’m going to run through a few of these and give proposed lineups for next season. Of course, the end result will probably be that none of these are right.

1. Knicks keep their pick and wind up with Jrue Holiday, Stephen Curry, or Johnny Flynn. They trade David Lee, Wilson Chandler and a 2011 draft pick for Chris Bosh. They trade Nate Robinson for Marcus Camby. They trade Cuttino Mobley for Darko Milicic. They buy a late first rounder. They sign Channing Frye. Starting 5:

pg: Holiday/Curry/Flynn

sg: Hughes

sf: Harrington

pf: Chris Bosh

c: Marcus Camby

bench: Gallinari, Chase Budinger, Darko Milicic, Duhon, Frye

2. Knicks trade Chandler, the eight overall pick, and Mobley for Darko Milicic, Darrell Arthur, and the second overall pick and take Ricky Rubio. They trade David Lee, a future first rounder, and Duhon to the Pistons for Tayshaun Prince and Amir Johnson. They trade Nate Robinson for Sergio and Frye. They buy a mid to late first rounder. They sign Gortat.

pg: Rubio

sg: Hughes

sf: Prince

pf: Harrington

c: Gortat

bench: Gallinari, Sergio, Budinger/Sam Young, Darko, Frye, Johnson, etc

3. Knicks trade Chandler, the eight overall pick, and Mobley for Darko Milicic, Darrell Arthur, and the second overall pick and use it on Thabeet. They trade David Lee, a future first rounder, and Duhon to the Pistons for Tayshaun Prince and Amir Johnson. They later trade Harrington and Nate for Etan Thomas, Mike James, and the fifth pick (Stephen Curry). They buy a mid-first rounder.

pg: Curry

sg: Hughes

sf: Prince

pf: Gallinari

c: Thabeet

bench: James, Johnson, Arthur, Henderson, etc.

4. The Knicks keep the 8th pick and select Curry. They trade Lee, Chandler and Duhon to the Blazers for Sergio Martell Webster, and Travis Outlaw. They trade Nate and Harrington to the Wizards for the 5th pick, Thomas and James. They trade Mobley for Darko and the 24th pick. They sign Frye and Gortat.

pg: Sergio/Curry

sg: Tyreke Evans/Curry/Webster/Hughes

sf: Outlaw/Webster

pf: Gallinari/Darko

c: Gortat/Darko

bench: Darko/Evans/Webster/Hughes/Sergio/Frye

I’m done now. This could go on all day. These all look like solid teams though, and the point is, a lot can happen to drastically reshape the roster. Let’s hear some of your scenarios…

Handicapping the Knicks’ Pick

In my opinion, here are the odds of the Knicks drafting popular lottery prospects, from most to least likely:

Stephen Curry: 75%

This seems like a lock. Not only is Curry immensely talented but he also fills a need. With other prospects, you might have to give up some talent for fit or some fit for talent. It makes too much sense, and my impression of Curry’s constant expressions of love for the Knicks is that he’s trying to make clear that he’ll be unhappy playing elsewhere.

As an aside, I’ve often pointed to Bob Knight’s statement that Curry is one of the best passers to ever play college ball. Larry Brown, who is a harsh critic, particularly when it comes to point guards, echoed those sentiments, saying “I heard people rave about the way he shoots the ball. The most impressive thing to me is how he passes the ball. He’s a great passer.”

Johnny Flynn: 25%

It’s just a hunch but I think the order of preference for the Knicks is Rubio, Curry, Holiday and Flynn. Flynn is the second most likely choice because Holiday has quickly risen up draft boards. So if Curry is off the table, I think Flynn is the choice. And a good choice he’d be. While he’s not the best shooter, a lot of players come into the league with below average jumpers. It’s fixable. What Flynn does have is heart, hustle, good length, great point guard skills, and a winning attitude.

Jrue Holiday: 20%

In the unlikely event that Curry is selected before Holiday, and Holiday slides, the Knicks will scoop him up. He has risen quickly up draft boards because of his size, speed, and athleticism. Those are good traits to have in general, but alone they will not make you a good point guard. Holiday is a bit of a risk because while it is undeniable that he has all the physical tools to play in the NBA, his jumper is suspect, and his passing is unproven, as he played only one season at UCLA and played off the ball. In my opinion, the best way to evaluate a player is game film, so his sharp ascent might lead to a letdown. Maybe he’ll be Chauncey Billups one day, but maybe he’ll be Antonio Daniels.

Hasheem Thabeet: 15%

It’s hard to peg Thabeet’s place in the draft. The only team that was rumored to really like him was Memphis, but now they seem more enamored with Tyreke Evans and a rumored trade with the Kings in which they swap picks makes a lot of sense for both teams. It is possible though that he could wind up with Oklahoma or Washington. Minnesota is set up front (though they can add him to the rotation) and Golden State is repeating an experiment I tried in NBA Live once where my roster exclusively guards. There has been rumored interest on the part of Donnie Walsh for Thabeet, but I don’t think he loses a shot at a real point guard for Thabeet. Maybe a Lee or Nate or Harrington or Hughes trade for Etan Thomas, Mike James (Jon originally came up with this idea and it makes sense) and the 5th pick could land the Knicks Thabeet and still allow them to draft a point.

Jordan Hill: 15%

There haven’t been any Hill to the Knicks whispers at all, but he seems to be a popular candidate to slide in many mock drafts. He’d be a cheap Lee replacement but would offer more toughness than Lee and would block a shot or two. Still not sure if Donnie prefers that to a play-maker though.

Tyreke Evans: 10%

Evans has great size and athleticism. He’s a physical presence in the back-court or even as a 3, but be sure, he’s a wing, not a point guard. Not only that but he will dominate the ball, pound it into the ground, and shoot poorly. There has been reported interest on behalf of the Knicks but I’m selling that rumor as a smokescreen. Just because the Knicks are calling a guy’s agent, or trying to schedule workouts, it doesn’t mean he’s a legitimate target. The Knicks have had their fair share over the last epoch of selfish players who pound the ball into the ground and either recklessly bull their way into the paint or heave up a jumper (Marbury, Crawford, Robinson, Francis), and they won’t take a chance on another one.

James Harden: 5%

Harden’s basketball IQ and scoring prowess would force the Knicks to take a long hard look at him if he is still on the board at 8. It would almost certainly mean that both Curry and Holiday have been selected. People knock Harden’s athleticism but he has been compared to Paul Peirce, who isn’t overly athletic and who slid to 10 on draft day somehow.

Ricky Rubio: 5%

There is a chance that the Knicks could land Rubio. Reportedly Rubio is wants to play for the Knicks. But unless he says he will play only for the Knicks, the chances of getting him are very small because other teams he would consider would have more to offer the Grizzlies in a trade. If he did issue such an ultimatum, Knicks fans should be prepared to lose Wilson Chandler in exchange, since it is unlikely that David Lee, who is a restricted free-agent, and thus can simply take the qualifying offer if he doesn’t consent to his destination in a sign and trade, would agree to go to Memphis. At that point you have to ask yourself, with the Knicks looking to win now, does it really make them better to give up 8 and Chandler for a 17 year old who is sure to require time to adjust to a faster game with stronger opponnents and a new culture? I see this trade happening only if the Grizzlies can be convinced to accept an expiring contract and a future draft pick in exchange.

Brandon Jennings: 1%

There hasn’t been any indication that the Knicks have interest in Jennings, and why should they? Why should anyone in the first half of the draft? Jennings showed promise in high school against boys half his size but so did Gerald Green and Kwame Brown. After high school, Jennings went to Europe and barely got off the bench in Italy. Then was replaced on his squad for the playoffs by a back-up power forward. I don’t buy the notion that he should be given slack because he’s 18. So is Rubio. Again, even though he might be good one day, the Knicks are trying to win now, and it is unlikely that Jennings will bring anything to the table next year at point guard.

Tommy Dee: Evans is the Fallback

Tommy Dee just brought the serious intel over at The Knicks Blog regarding the Knicks’ draft plans and other draft-related buzz. In the main, this is what Tommy is hearing about the Knicks’ plans:

We’ve learned that the Knicks have Holiday and Curry ahead of Evans, because they feel that they are more suited at the point guard position, but the Memphis product will work out for the Knicks as well as the Kings, Wizards and Raptors with Toronto keeping their fingers crossed that he falls to 9.  No chance he gets past the Raptors, who have all but guaranteed.

But our sources confirm the Knicks have been doing some serious homework on Evans and like what they are hearing and he should be the pick if both Holiday and Curry are off the board.

Can’t say I’m surprised that Evans has secured a virtual guarantee from the Raptors as we had him going there in our last mock and he fits what they need to a T. But while I recognize that he represents good value at 8 in certain scenarios, from the Knicks’ perspective I think Evans is a poor fit.

At any rate, over the past several days I’ve come to believe that Evans’ stock is rising to the point where it’s unlikely he’ll be there at 8.  Should Memphis and Sacramento make a very obvious and necessary swap of the second and fourth picks, several outlets are reporting that the Grizzlies would target Evans with the 4th pick. In addition, several mocks (including DraftExpress’) have Evans being selected by the Timberwolves at 6 and he’s obviously a fit with Nellie and the Warriors at 7.

Not surprisingly, with three weeks to go until draft day the lottery is in a state of flux and our third mock draft (which will go up this weekend) is going to look quite a bit different at the top than the last one did.

Dan L adds:

Tommy also picks up on reports that the Grizzlies are surely looking to trade their second pick, as Rubio doesn’t want to play there and the Grizzlies don’t love Thabeet. The only way for the Knicks to get Rubio is for Rubio to say he’ll only play for the Knicks, since the Kings are undoubtedly interested. Even if he does make such an ultimatum though, Knicks fans will have to come to terms with the notion that any trade will likely cost them Wilson Chandler, since it is unclear that David Lee, who is a restricted free agent, would agree to play for Memphis.

Holiday or Curry? Steph or Jrue?

There’s been a lot of scuttle in the Knicks-O-Sphere that the team may be higher on Jrue Holiday than Stephen Curry. While you all know we prefer Curry here (it’s a little mind-boggling that Curry gets a rep as a guy with limited experience at the point but Jrue, who hasn’t played the position at all above high school, gets a pass), we couldn’t really get mad at Donnie if he preferred Jrue. At 19, he’s brimming with potential and, from a size/speed/power standpoint, is the NBA prototype.

The thing is, though, it may be a bit of a semantic point as, unless the Knicks move up at least a couple of spots, they’re unlikely to even get a crack at Jrue. In fact, in all likelihood, when the Knicks pick at 8, Donnie won’t really have a choice between them, because one of Curry or Holiday will be gone. In other words, if Jrue is there at 8, it will probably be because some other GM in the top 7 preferred Curry to him.

So, I propose this as an ideal scenario: If Jrue is sitting there when the Wizards come up at 5, the Knicks offer Harrington, Duhon, and $3 million cash to the Wizards for Etan Thomas, Mike James and the (very available) 5th pick. Then we wouldn’t be forced to choose between them. Steph and Jrue could make for quite a backcourt.

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.

Draft Buzz: Curry, Flynn, Holiday, Maynor Rising. Rubio Falling. Trades?

Since I can’t live vicariously through myself (like the most interesting man in the world), I have to do it through Chad Ford, who attended the Chicago Draft Combine, spoke with many GMs and coaches, and came away with some solid information.

Notably, four point guards are rising…I’m not surprised that they are Stephen Curry, Johnny Flynn, Jrue Holiday, and Maynor. Three out of these four are on my wish list. The two ishiest guys on my ish list didn’t even show up for workouts.

On Holiday:

…UCLA’s Jrue Holiday garner[ed] the most attention. He was the biggest point guard of the top group and seemed to tower over several of the smaller guys on the floor.

During one 3-on-2 full-court drill, Holiday looked like a power forward running on the wing. And while his size was impressive, so was his game. He was hitting his jump shot, finishing with both hands and showing versatility and an excellent handle.

On Flynn:

Flynn continues to generate buzz with his combination of speed and power — even if he was the shortest guy on the floor. Every GM I spoke with now sees him as a lottery pick, with many projecting him in the Top 10.

On Curry:

Curry put on a shooting show — no surprise there — but many GMs commented that he really looked like he belonged when he participated in a number of ballhandling and full-court drills. If Curry can prove to teams that he can play point guard, he’ll go somewhere between No. 5 and 13. If he can’t, he could slip out of the lottery. The results of the first day of camp had to be encouraging.

On Maynor:

Maynor also generated some significant buzz with his decision-making and shooting.

“He looked like he was totally in control out there. There’s a smoothness to his game that I really like,” an NBA head coach said.

I’d be happy with any of these guys. I don’t think Maynor will be a lottery pick. If he is one it will be late in the lottery and if the Knicks wind up with him it will be because they traded down.

Holiday is taking a rocket ship out of the Knicks stratosphere. I’d be happy if he fell though.

I like Flynn’s toughness, and power and speed go a long way in the NBA. He’ll be a capable starter.

And can we finally put to rest the notion that Curry is an undersized 2 who can’t play 1? Isola has been insisting that Curry is unproven, but I think he proved a lot last year and will continue to prove himself in workouts and as a rookie. Now it seems like there are teams ahead of and behind the Knicks who want the kid. If he really wants to be here (and he can’t seem to hide his desire to be on the big stage), he won’t work out for anybody except the Knicks.

Also, according to Ford (link requires ESPN Insider), Rubio is slipping, with teams questioning his touch and his propensity to turn the ball over:

Speaking of Rubio, I encountered a number of NBA GMs and scouts this week who were pretty skeptical about Rubio’s NBA future. They see him as an average athlete who can’t shoot well and who is turnover prone, and wonder aloud why he’s ranked so high.

A few GMs said Rubio isn’t in their top five. While I’ve heard doubts expressed before, the skepticism was expressed much more strongly this week by more execs. I’m going to keep digging. Maybe Henry Abbott struck a chord with his TrueHoop post on Rubio.

In any case, if Memphis and Oklahoma City decide against Rubio and don’t trade either of their picks to a team that wants to move up to get him, it’s hard to see the Sacramento Kings passing on Rubio at No. 4.

Ford also reports that there are lots of potential trades being discussed at the top of the draft. Things are very fluid. I don’t know about you, but I love draft time.