Possible Late 1st Round and 2nd Round Prospects for the Knicks

The New York Knicks will be making the fourth selection in the NBA draft in just over two weeks. Besides the lottery pick, the Knicks have no other picks and you might have guessed why; they were all traded away. It’s no secret that New York is in struggle town and they are desperate to obtain talent. It would be a wise investment for Phil Jackson to buy his way into the second round as it is stacked with talent. All of the top teams have built their superiority via the draft and the Knicks should at least try to emulate that.

With the rumors also flying around that the Knicks could trade away their fourth overall pick if their top three picks aren’t on the board, here are some late first round pick choices for that scenario to go along with some second round picks.

Syracuse.com
Syracuse.com

Jerian Grant

Guard, Notre Dame, Senior

Projected: Mid 1st round

NBA Draft.net: 19th overall – Washington Wizards
Draft Express: 19th overall – Washington Wizards
Yahoo Sports: 19th overall – Washington Wizards

2014-15 Statistics: 16.5 points per game, 6.6 assists per game, 3 rebounds, per game, 1.7 steals per game || 48% FG, 32% 3PT, 78% FT

Strengths
Grant is big for his position and he uses his height to hit the open man and to get his shots off at will. He is deceptively quick, has a good first step and has the ability to change speeds when he pleases. Grant’s best attribute is his playmaking ability, he’s a willing and unselfish passer who hits the open man with every pass in the book; chest pass, bounce pass, high or low pass and outlet passes. Grant posted 7.3 assists per 40 minutes which ranks fourth out of the top one hundred prospects and he did so with another playmaking guard along side him. The senior only turns the ball over on 14% of his possessions. Grant is good at scoring the ball in transition and over his four season his perimeter shooting has improved each year. Grant has solid mechanics.

Weaknesses
Grant is a below average defender who has trouble fighting through screens and following his man around the court. He has a poor stance and is slow on his feet laterally making him an easy beat off the dribble. Grant also lacks strengths and can find himself being bullied not only in the post but on the perimeter. For a player standing at 6’5 averaging 3.3 rebounds per 40 minutes is an extremely poor showing. The Notre Dame product has the ability to shoot but it’s inconsistent and Grant went through stretches where he cloud not throw the ball in the ocean. He has plenty of room to improve in terms of shooting off the dribble and when pulling up.

College Basketball Talk
College Basketball Talk

Terry Rozier

Guard, Louisville, Sophomore

Projected: Mid to late 1st round

NBA Draft.net: 24th overall – Cleveland Cavaliers
Draft Express: 29th overall – Brooklyn Nets
Yahoo Sports: 29th overall – Brooklyn Nets

2014-15 Statistics: 17.1 points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game, 3 assists per game, 2 steals per game || 41% FG, 31% 3PT, 79% FT

Strengths
Rozier has great physical attributes, great speed in the open court, exceptional defensive quickness and he can play above the rim when necessary. The combo guard is a scorer through and through. The Sophomore has a nice handle of the basketball which he uses to create shots for himself and others, Rozier has a knack for finding open teammates. He also takes great care of the basketball, Rozier had a 3/1 assist to turnover ratio in college. At only 6’2 he is a terrific rebounder for his size and this is because of his explosiveness. Rozier is an excellent defender both on ball and off ball. He regularly pokes the ball away for his many and uses his great anticipation to get into the passing lanes.

Weaknesses
Rozier may have the ability to put points on the board but he shot selection is frustrating and is a worry moving to the next level. He also shoots a poor percentage and his long-range shooting took a huge dip from his freshman to sophomore season; it has seemingly regressed. The former Cardinal also has trouble finishing at the rim converting only half of his shots. Rozier is incredibly inconsistent and he has had a tendency to disappear when it matters most – the NCAA Tournament – and he struggled to get out of a funk. The 21-year-old can also be selfish at times and it was more prominent during his sophomore season.

MNsun.com
MNsun.com

Rashad Vaughn

Guard, Freshman, UNLV

Projected: Mid to late 1st round

NBA Draft.net: 23rd overall – Portland Trail Blazers
Draft Express: 23rd overall – Portland Trail Blazers
Yahoo Sports: 23rd overall – Portland Trail Blazers

2014-15 Statistics: 18.3 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game, 1.6 assists per game || 45% FG, 38% 3PT, 70% FT

Strengths
Vaughn has a solid frame and is well-built and he uses this to get to different spots on the court. The Runin’ Rebel is a crafty perimeter shooter and he’s appealing due to his shot making prowess. Vaughn can make jump shots in a variety of ways; off the dribble, off of screens, pulling up,in isolation a and in the pick and roll. He has great mechanics and is effective in catch shoot situations, his range is already at NBA level which is shown through his 38% from the land beyond. When run off the line Vaughn can attack and score at the basket with the ability to fighting finish through contact. He has clear potential defensively with quick feet,mood instincts, solid lateral quickness and the ability to get over screens.

Weaknesses
Although he can score Vaughn’s shot selection needs improvement and he has a tendency to just hoist shots up, he tends to go one-on-one far to often. The UNLV product also isn’t a willing passer and he doesn’t like to give up the ball when he can’t find the range and this could be an issue at NBA level. Vaughn is only an average ball handler and has no off-hand, the 19-year-old lacks athleticism and explosiveness, he also only plays at one speed which makes him predictable. Vaughn’s attitude and work ethic is also questionable, there are question marks as to if he’ll put in the hard yards or whether he’ll persist when things aren’t going his way.

Daily Bruin
Daily Bruin

Kevon Looney

Forward, UCLA, Freshamn

Projected: Mid to late 1st round

NBA Draft.net: 25th overall – Memphis Grizzlies
Draft Express: 20th overall – Toronto Raptors
Yahoo Sports: 20th overall – Toronto Raptors

2014-15 Statistics: 11.6 points per game, 9.2 rebounds per game, 1.3 steals per game || 47% FG, 42% 3PT, 63% FT

Strenghts
Looney has a huge wingspan of 7’3 for a power forward. Looney is a terrific rebounder on both ends and the majority of his points come off hustle plays like offensive rebounds. He moves very well off the ball and gets many open shots as a result, Looney cuts well to rim, rolls well to rim and can get to where the defense is not from mid range. He is such an effective rebounder due to his ability to read the play paired with his skill of boxing out. Looney pulls down 4.2 offensive boards per 40 minutes which ranks in the top 10 for the top 100 prospects. Looney is a good outlet passer and has shown that he can handle the ball on the break. He man nor be the biggest offensive threat but he nailed 22 of his 53 three pointers this past season. Looney is a solid defender who has solid quickness and a nice stance, this helps him hold his own against guards.

Weaknesses
Looney lacks a fair amount of strength and this results in him have absolutely no post game, this lack of strength makes him a liability in the post on the defensive end and he can be bullied on the defensive glass at times. The 6’9 forward is a poor finisher around the rim converting only 52% of his attempts. Due to his lack of athleticism Looney has a poor first step and is unable to beat his defenders and his mediocre ball handling doesn’t help. The 19-year-old is quite slow and explosiveness is basically non-existent which limits him running the floor and getting back on the defensive end. Looney’s jump shot was also hit and miss this year, hitting only 12/32 catch and shoot jump shots from mid range.

Utah Sporting News
Utah Sporting News

Delon Wright

Guard, Utah, Senior

Projected: Late 1st round

NBA Draft.net: 27th overall – Los Angeles Lakers
Draft Express: 27th overall – Los Angeles Lakers
Yahoo Sports: 27th overall – Los Angeles Lakers

2014-15 Statistics: 15.7 points per game, 5 assists per game, 5 rebounds per game, 2.1 steals per game, 1 block per game || 51% FG, 36% 3PT, 84% FT

Strengths
Wright is an excellent passer as he uses his 6’6 height to his advantage. He’s able to survey the defense and make on-point passers to shooters cutters as well as in the pick-and-roll, both hitting the big and penetrating and creating. Wright is an excellent ball handler and has great footwork, he’s able to shake defenders off quite easily. The senior is also very deceptive with ball, making many eurosteps and ball fakes. Wright’s best attribute is his defense. He’s able to stay in front of his man and reek havoc as well as being a good off ball defender as he sees his man and the ball at the same time. Wright also has great anticipation, he gets into the passing lanes often and comes up with an exceptional amount of blocks and rebounds for his size.

Weaknesses
Wright is a poor shooter, nailing just 30% of his outside shots over the past two seasons. He’s especially limited as an off the dribble shooter. Wright’s pull up jumper is basically non-existent as he has a slow release and barely any elevation which allows for no separation from his defender. There’s a reason why he picks his dribble up in the mid-range and looks quite hesitant to shoot. The 6’6 point guard isn’t all that athletic and explosive which makes him a less than adequate finisher at the rim which is a concern and he also struggles to finish through contact. There are questions as to if he will be able to withstand all of the contact at the rim in the NBA.

Zags Blog
Zags Blog

Chris McCullough

Forward, Syracuse, Freshman

Projected: Late 1st round to early 2nd round

NBA Draft.net: 28th overall – Boston Celtics
Draft Express: 28th overall – Boston Celtics
Yahoo Sports: 28th overall – Boston Celtics

2014-15 Statistics: 9.3 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game, 1.7 steals per game, 2.1 blocks per game || 48% FG, 56% FT

Strengths
McCullough has great physical attributes, standing at 6’9 with a 7’3 wingspan, and is very athletic. He runs the floor well, endurance isn’t an issue, he rises up high for dunks and blocks. Although he didn’t take many jump shots the freshman has a nice stroke with a high release point which scouts believe will develop with time. McCullough has shown some promise in attacking his man off the dribble and executing fancy spin moves, although it’s not very consistent. The Syracuse product has phenomenal defensive instincts. He has great anticipation – 3.1 offensive boards per 40, 2.1 steals per 40, 2.9 blocks per 40 – and just 12 players have posted those numbers in the last 15 years.

Weaknesses
Defensively he tends to stand straight up and ball watches. McCullough also bites on many pump fakes and commits silly fouls. Due to his slight frame – 199 pounds – the freshman is a sub-par defender down low and McCullough tends to get bullied. He has his struggles offensively as he finishes just 47% of his shots from the rim and shoots a measly 56% on free throws. McCullough struggles as a passer as his vision is poor and a result he turns the ball over frequently. Another downside is that he played 16 games in college as he inquired his knee – torn ACL – which is also a worry.

NOLA.com
NOLA.com

Jordan Mickey

Forward, LSU, Sophomore

Projected: Late 1st round to early 2nd round

NBA Draft.net: 30th overall – Golden State Warriors
Draft Express: 33rd overall – Boston Celtics
Yahoo Sports: 33rd overall – Boston Celtics

2014-15 Statistics: 15.4 points per game, 9.9 rebounds per game, 3.6 blocks per game || 50% FG, 65% FT

Strengths
Mickey may be an undersized power forward but he has a huge wingspan of 7’3 which helps him immensely as a shot blocker and an overall defender. Mickey has terrific lateral quickness which enables him to be effective when defending a guard. The 20-year-old is a great athlete, showing superb quickness, agility and explosiveness around the rim. Mickey has a solid post game and his go to move is a post hook which he uses his height to get off. The former Tiger has a great face up game, Mickey has a quick first step to explode past defenders. He has a decent mid range jumper, hitting 50% of his attempts and Mickey is quite good at attacking close outs and finishing at the basket. Mickey is an excellent defensive rebounder.

Weaknesses
Mickey is a fairly poor finisher at the rim for his huge reach, converting just 50% of his shots. The Sophomore’s toughness is also a question, Mickey often says away from contact resulting in just five free throw attempts per 40 minutes. He is, simply put, a bad passer. Mickey struggles to read the play and make the correct play and this makes him turnover prone – 3.3 turnovers per game. His motor runs h0t and cold and Mickey’s intensity and effort has always been a question which resulted in inconsistency. Mickey does have smooth mechanics and a nice release but there’s plenty of room for improvement on his jump shot. Knocking down only half of his 10-15 feet jump shots just won’t cut it in the NBA.

Norman Powell

Gallery Hip
Gallery Hip

Guard, UCLA, Senior

Projected: Late 1st round to early 2nd round

NBA Draft.net: 31st overall – Minnesota Timberwolves
Draft Express: 48th overall – Oklahoma City Thunder
Yahoo Sports: 48th overall – Oklahoma City Thunder

2014-15 Statistics: 16.4 points per game, 4.7 rebounds per game, 2.1 assists per game, 1.8 steals per game || 46% FG, 32% 3PT, 75% FT

Strengths
His biggest asset is his athleticism, Powell has a quick first step, plenty of strength and a willingness to play above the rim in traffic making him an imposing physical figure. Powell was one of the nation’s most prolific players at scoring points in the paint in transition. When his shooting mechanics are fluid Powell is a very smooth shooter. He is a relatively good ball handler which allows for him to create shots for himself and others and to get where he wants to go making him a quite useful playmaker. Defensively Powell has great quickness, great length and superb hands making him a nuisance on that end. The senior brings great energy, hustle and intensity to the game and it rarely wavers.

Weaknesses
Powell has a very streaky jump shot and it’s very inconsistent. Sometimes his shot selection on jump shots is highly questionable and leaves coaches scratching their heads. After the new year Powell shot just 28% on jump shots. He can be a very unwilling passer at times and seems to like to do things all by his lonesome. Powell is a good defender but he still has areas in need of improving, he is sometimes over aggressively resulting in getting blown by and Powell also takes a lot of gambles defensively. As the imposing figure he is Powell likes to sprint out on shooters but he gets easily fooled and bites on pump fakes regularly. In attempt to catch up Powell often try’s to sprint back into the play but commits some silly fouls.

Best Smart Phone News
Best Smart Phone News

Christian Wood

Forward, UNLV, Sophomore

Projected: Late 1st round to early 2nd round

NBA Draft.net: 33rd overall – Boston Celtics
Draft Express: 41st Brooklyn Nets
Yahoo Sports: 41st Brooklyn Nets

2014-15 Statistics: 15.5 points per game, 9.8 rebounds per game, 2.6 blocks per game || 49% FG, 27% 3PT, 73% FT

Strengths
Wood is impressive athletically, he’s agile and fluid for his size and he runs the floor well as well as being able to leave the floor quickly and effortlessly. The UNLV product is versatile offensively, he’s a threat in transition and in set offense. Wood finished extremely well at the rim, converting 70% of his filed goals there, and he also has a nice to from the perimeter. Wood has a quick first step and is able to beat his man off the dribble and he can finish at the basket in a variety of ways. On the defensive end he is able to switch on to guards and hold his own and Wood covers the floor well blocking 3.2 shots per 40 minutes. He also collects 12 rebounds per 40 minutes which is the best out of the top 100 prospects.

Weaknesses
Wood is very light and has no strength which makes him ineffective in the post both offensively and defensively. He may show promise on defense but there is no real consistency yet as his concentration wavers. Wood also bites on many fakes and shows poor awareness of ball in terms of positioning and his pick-and-roll defense is sub-par. The 19-year-old has poor court vision struggles to read the play resulting in 2.5 turnovers per game and he can somewhat selfishly at times. Effort and intensity is another issue for Wood and it’s not rare to see him jog back on defense and get beaten up the floor or to walk up on offense losing all rhythm whatsoever.

SJR.com
SJR.com

Terran Petteway

Guard, Nebraska, Junior

Projected: Early 2nd round

NBA Draft.net 34th overall – Los Angeles Lakers
Draft Express: un-drafted
Yahoo Sports: un-drafted

2014-15 Statistics: 18.2 points per game, 4.9 rebounds per game, 2.8 assists per game 1.2 steals per game || 40% FG, 31% 3PT, 71% FT

Strengths
Petteway is an excellent pick-and-roll player and he’s shown a nice ability to Crete his own shot whenever he likes. He is shifty and fluid when handling the ball and quite aggressive. Petteway can play at different speeds and he’s great at initiating contact and drawing fouls – 6 free throws per game. The 6’6 guard has a knack of getting to the hoop with ease. He is very good at shooting off the dribble and when pulling up which makes him a handful for defenders. Petteway is a very good defender, he uses his size and 6’10 wingspan to his advantage. He’s great at staying in front of his opponent and anticipating where they are going. Petteway showed good timing and anticipation during his time at Nebraska.

Weaknesses
Petteway may be able to put points on the board but he doesn’t do it effectively. He put in just 46% of his two point attempts, shot a lowly 31% from behind the arc and only 30% on catch and shoot jumpers. The junior’s shot selection can be absolutely mind-boggling at times, Petteway tends to dominate the ball and force up shots. Athletically, he is just average and not overalls explosive which leads to him being a poor finisher at the rim, converting only 46% of his opportunities. For a player who handles the basketball a lot, Petteway is a woeful passer and he posted a 0.59 assist to turnover ratio, that is also reflected in his 3.4 turnovers per game. He is prone to lapses when defending off ball and he often loses focus resulting in losing his man back doors and when running around screens.

Boston Herald
Boston Herald

Cliff Alexander

Forward, Kansas, Freshman

Projected: Early 2nd round

NBA Draft.net: 35th overall – Philadelphia 76ers
Draft Express: 40th overall – Miami Heat
Yahoo Sports: 40th overall – Miami Heat

2014-15 Statistics: 7.1 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game, 1.3 blocks per game || 57% FG, 67% FT

Strengths
Alexander may be undersized at 6’8 but he makes up for with his 254 lbs frame and 7’3 wingspan. The 19-year-old is quite mobile and agile, Alexander runs the floor extremely well and he attempts to dunk everything he can. He is an effective off ball offensive player, Alexander moves to the open spot, cuts to the rim and gets in great position for offensive rebounds. He finishes 63% of his shots around the rim mostly due to his strength, length and aggression. Alexander displayed a solid ability to knock down mid range jump shot and scouts have been impressed with the development of that facet prior to the draft. Alexander’s best attribute is his rebounding, he uses his strength and length to box out and pull down the boards and he’s prolific on the offensive glass grabbing 4.4 per 40 minutes.

Weaknesses
The big man has very poor footwork and no post moves he can put to memory. Alexander shot just 33% in post up situations and turned the ball over 20% of the time. The 6’8 forward is a poor passer, dishing out 11 total in 492 minutes of action, or one every 41 minutes. Alexander is very predictable and struggles to react to what the defense throws at him. He has poor defensive fundamentals and a poor technique, Alexander often gets lost off ball, bites on fakes and commits silly fouls. He is also a sub-par pick-and-roll defender. One huge red flag is that Alexander recorded just 5 steals in 492 minutes, or 0.4 per 40 minutes which is severely disappointing for a player with a 7’3 wingspan. This highlights his lack of anticipation.

Hoops Rumors
Hoops Rumors

Richaun Holmes

Forward, Bowling Green, Senior

Projected: Early to mid 2nd round

NBA Draft.net: 36th overall – Minnesota Timberwolves
Draft Express: 45th overall – Boston Celtics
Yahoo Sports: 45th overall – Boston Celtics

2014-15 Statistics: 14.4 points per game, 8 rebounds per game, 2.7 blocks per game || 56% FG, 42% 3PT, 71% FT

Strengths
Holmes is a great scorer and he does it effectively, posting 20.4 points per 40 minutes on 56% from the field. Over his collegiate career Holmes became a better and better jump shooter from all distances and this opened up the rest of his offensive game. Holmes is a big threat when facing up. He is a good post player who can finish well with either a fade away or hook shot and this is because of his solid footwork. Holmes is a terrific defender due to his explosiveness, quickness and instincts, especially as a shot blocker – 3.8 per 40 minutes. Holmes won the MAC defensive player of the year. He is an excellent rebounder on both ends of the floor, Holmes collects 4 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes and 7.4 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes. He is such a good rebounder because of his athletic ability and anticipation.

Weaknesses
Holmes isn’t as strong as you’d expect and he needs to bulk up before entering in the NBA in order to finish through contact at the rim. He also needs to strengthen up to not be pushed off his spot in the post offensively and to push his man oh of his spot defensively. Although his outside game has come a long way Holmes tends to sometimes fall in love with it and shoot nothing but long distance jump shots. Holmes has a high usage rate but struggles to find the open man posting only 0.8 assists per game while turning the ball over 1.9 times per contest.

Syracuse.com
Syracuse.com

Rakeem Christmas

Centre, Syracuse, Senior

Projected: Early to mid 2nd round

NBA Draft.net: 41st overall – Brooklyn Nets
Draft Express: 35th overall – Philadelphia 76ers
Yahoo Sports: 35th overall – Philadelphia 76ers

2014-15 Statistics: 17.5 points per game, 9 rebounds per game, 2.5 blocks per game || 55% FG, 71% FT

Strengths
Christmas is very effective with his back to the rim and he is a near automatic finisher at the rim, cutting to the hoop and on pick-and-rolls. Over his journey at Syracuse he has gradually improved his free throw shooting to a respectable 71% and the line is a place where he finds himself often. Just as his free throws have improved, he is now able to step out and hit the 10-15 foot jumper. Christmas has great physical tools – a 7’3 wingspan – and he’s physically imposing, – weighing 243 lbs – Christmas’ body is also expected to keep getting bigger. He has excellent timing and explosive leap which helps him as a shot blocker and rim protector – 2.9 blocks per 40 minutes of play.

Weaknesses
Christmas has poor awareness and his intensity level is often far too low, which leaves a lot to be desired. He regularly finds himself being posted up and bullied down low due to a lack of lower body strength. Christmas gets caught out of position mainly because of his lackadaisical effort and poor fundamentals. The Syracuse product is going to have a hard time adapting to guarding bigger NBA big men. His lack of size ands tenant means that Christmas will struggle to be effective in the post, let alone to post up in the first place. Christmas has poor footwork and struggles to orchestrate his own offense when facing up, he often gets confused by himself ending up in many mistakes.

Seattle Times
Seattle Times

Robert Upshaw

Centre, Washington, Sophomore

Projected: Mid 2nd round to un-drafted

NBA Draft.net: un-drafted
Draft Express: 37th overall – Philadelphia 76ers
Yahoo Sports: 37th overall – Philadelphia 76ers

2014-15 Statistics: 10.9 points per game, 8.2 rebounds per game, 4.5 blocks per game || 59% FG, 43% FT

Strengths
Upshaw has fantastic mobility and agility for a guy standing at 7’1, with a 7’4 wingspan and who weighs 264 lbs. He runs the floor well, covers the area inside the arc fluidly and Upshaw finishes above the rim with relative ease. Undoubtably Upshaw’s best attribute heading into the NBA is his shot blocking ability and ability to protect the basket. He’s able to do so with terrific length, mobility and instincts. Upshaw rejected an astounding 7 shots per 40 minutes of play which ranks #1 in college basketball by a long margin. He’s an excellent rebounder grabbing 13.4 per 40 minutes, including 3.5 offensive rebounds. Upshaw is a great finisher around the rim, putting in 75% of his shots mainly because of his good hands and quick jump.

Weaknesses
Upshaw’s biggest downside is his attitude and off the court habits. He’s been kicked off of two programs in three years and that’s why Upshaw slipped down the draft boards. He may be very strong but Upshaw is just an average post defender, he often over commits and bites on fakes. On the offensive end Upshaw has no post game at all, he has the strength to back his man down but he just can’t manufacture a good shot. The 21-year-old got to the line 7.5 times per 40 minutes but failed miserably when trying to convert his opportunities. Upshaw fits into the category of horrendous passer, dishing one out every 52 minutes of action.

Phil Jackson and the Knicks have said that they are actively looking to buy another draft pick. They would prefer that draft pick to be from the mid first round to around the mid second round, so picks #20-#45. It’s crucial that the Knicks acquire young talent and the best way to do so it to build via the draft.

The 2015 NBA Draft is on Thursday, June 25th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The first pick is set to be made by the Minnesota Timberwolves at 7 pm EST.

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