As the 2011 NBA Draft rapidly approaches (Thursday, June 23), I thought it was a good idea to take a look at some of the guys the Knicks are rumored to have some interest in with their 17th pick. Jimmer Fredette, Chris Singleton, Klay Thompson, Marshon Brooks, Josh Selby, and Nikola Vucevic have been the most talked about names in Knicks camp, so let’s highlight each prospect. Read more…
Hoopsworld.com is reporting that the New York Knicks are close to acquiring the 30th overall pick in this years draft from the Chicago Bulls. They are also reporting that the Knicks are very interested in players like Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris, both point guards. I think Goudelock will definitely still be available in the second round even though he is a volume scorer, but Morris would be a great pick at 30. Hoopsworld.com is also saying that the Knicks will likely draft Read more…
ESPN’s Chad Ford is reporting that the Knicks are just one of several teams looking to trade up in the draft.
Ford: “Sources say that the Charlotte Bobcats (9), Milwaukee Bucks (10) and Golden State Warriors (11) are also open to moving their pick. In this case the interest is all pretty specific. The Knicks, and a handful of other teams, are trying to get ahead of the Jazz. The target? BYU’s Jimmer Fredette.”
Ford says that the Utah Jazz sitting at #12 really like Fredette and more than likely he’ll be their pick if he’s still around. Jimmer would be a great fit in D’Antoni’s system but at what cost. The Knicks would likely have to give up either Landry Fields or Toney Douglas along with the 17th pick in this year’s draft in order to move ahead of the Jazz. Personally, I would definitely hold onto TD so that he could be used in the potential Jonny Flynn trade I discussed yesterday. I wouldn’t be opposed to moving fields to get Jimmer though. Fields struggled mightily once Melo came over via trade and just looked very uncomfortable on the floor. Jimmer could thrive in an up-tempo offense like New Yorks and will definitely make teams think twice about doubling down on Melo or Amare in the post.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News is reporting that the New York Knicks and Minnesota Timberwolves have had “preliminary discussions” in regards to a potential trade involving combo-guard Toney Douglas and point guard Jonny Flynn. The Timberwolves’ recent signing of Ricky Rubio (their 5th overall pick from the 2009 NBA Draft) has made Flynn’s role less significant and thus more expendable. Toney Douglas is the name being thrown around in a potential deal for the former Syracuse floor general. Both Douglas and Flynn have had injury issues in the past. TD is coming off of off-season shoulder surgery while Flynn was limited to 53 games last season because of hip surgery. Douglas has clearly had a more productive first two seasons than Flynn has, but Flynn possesses more of the point guard skills the Knicks are looking for in their backcourt. TD has also shown that he can shoot the 3 and play above average defense while at the same time Flynn has struggled with his shot and isn’t near the ball hawk that Douglas is. Nevertheless, I think the trade would benefit both teams. The T-Wolves could use a guy like Douglas who can stretch the defense with his 3 point shooting, and the Knicks would love to have a lottery pick talent at point guard who hasn’t even began to show his true colors in the NBA in Flynn. Note that the Knicks would have to add another player or cash considerations in the trade for Flynn to make the salaries work. Isola thinks that Renaldo Balkman would be the likely player included. This trade is not imminent by any means, but look for the Knicks to make a splash during the 2011 NBA Draft this Thursday.
To many, and I agree, the 2003 NBA Draft was the best NBA Draft ever. The 2003 Draft has produced 8 All-Stars and 4 All-NBA members including names like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, David West, Chris Kaman, Josh Howard, and Mo Williams. Other non-all stars but solid NBA players to come out of this draft include Kirk Hinrich, TJ Ford, Nick Collison, Luke Ridnour, Boris Diaw, Carlos Delfino, Kendrick Perkins, Leandro Barbosa, Steve Blake, Willie Green, Keith Bogans, Travis Outlaw, Dahntay Jones, Matt Bonner, Zaza Pachulia, James Jones, Kyle Korver, the list goes on and on. But every draft has its busts and the 2003 NBA Draft is no different. The 3 busts I’m going to profile are the #9 pick Michael Sweetney, the #15 selection Reece Gaines, and the #16 pick Troy Bell.
The burly 6 foot 8 inch 270 lb power forward out of Georgetown was selected 9th overall by the New York Knicks in the 2003 NBA Draft. Sweetney had a great 3 year career at Georgetown, posting a career scoring average of over 18 ppg while shooting 55% from the field. Unfortunately, his NBA career has not been very successful. After playing in only 42 regular season games for the Knicks, Sweetney was traded to the Chicago Bulls in 2005. Sweetney always had weight issues which led him to not appear in a single game during the span of 2007 – 2009. The Boston Celtics invited him to training camp in 2009 but was later waived.
The 6 foot 6 inch 205 lb former Louisville standout did not have a very smooth NBA career, bouncing around to 3 teams in 3 years. Gaines was drafted by the Orlando Magic with the 15th overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. He appeared in only 38 games for the Magic before being traded midway through his rookie season to the Houston Rockets. Gaines played in only 10 games for the Rockets, mostly due to injuries, and was again traded in 2005 to the Milwaukee Bucks. Gaines didn’t play a whole lot during his 1 and a half seasons with the Bucks, totaling a combined 132 minutes in 23 games. From 2006 to 2009 Gaines played overseas in Italy. He was on a different team for each of his 3 years there. In 2009, Gaines played for the Bakersfield Jam (Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers affiliate) in the NBA D-League. Most recently, Gaines decided to go back and play professionally overseas, signing with JA Vichy of the French League in 2010.
The former 2-time NCAA All-American as well as 2-time Big East Player of the Year enjoyed a sensational college career at Boston College, finishing as Boston College’s all-time leading scorer. Bell was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 16th overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft but was immediately traded on draft night to the Memphis Grizzlies. He played in 6 games for the Grizzlies in his rookie year and was signed as a free agent in 2005 by the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. Bell was later waived by the Hornets during the 2005 preseason. Bell entered the NBA D-League Draft in 2006 and was selected with the 12th pick by the Albuquerque Thunderbirds (New Orleans Hornets and Orlando Magic affiliate) and later signed with the Austin Toros (San Antonio Spurs affiliate), also of the D-League. After his 2 year stint in the NBA D-League, Bell played professionally in Italy for 3 different teams from 2007 to 2010. Currently, Bell plays for Entente Orleanaise in France.
Jimmer Fredette has been filling it up lately and has all but taken over sporting headlines. Fredette, a senior guard at BYU out of Glen Falls, NY has been all over ESPN and the other never-ending list of sports networks and radio shows over the past week or so as fans and media alike are finally starting to pay attention to the nation’s leading scorer (27.4 ppg). Jimmer cemented his name into the homes of the common sports fan after last night’s
nationally televised (it’s an absolute joke that this game was not available for the entire country to see) game between Fredette’s one-loss BYU Cougars and the undefeated #4 San Diego State University Aztecs. All of this coverage on Fredette has brought many so-called ”experts” to compare Jimmer to anyone and everyone from Stephen Curry and Scott Skiles to Mark Price and even ”Pistol” Pete Maravich. But this extended coverage has also brought those same “experts” to question some of Fredette’s abilities on the court and bring up some of his presumed weaknesses that will eventually hinder his NBA draft stock. I’ve listed some of those weaknesses below, the biggest of which is Fredette’s presumed inability to defend his position, especially in the NBA. His strengths are also listed below.
Jimmer Fredette’s Strengths and Weaknesses
- Pure scorer – Defense
- Create his own shot – Size
- Ball handling - Court vision
- “in the gym” range – Finishing at the rim
- Quick release
- Free-throw shooting
- Strong frame
As you can see from the list above, Fredette possesses all of the critical offensive tools needed to succeed at the next level, such as his ability to create his own shot as well as his unlimited range. Anybody who has watched, read, or heard anything about Jimmer knows he can straight fill it up, so lets look at what his critics say is Fredette’s biggest hurdle at the NBA level, his inability to defend due to his lack of size (he’s listed at 6 ft 2 in).
First, let me say that since when has individual defensive success been a major requirement in the NBA (seriously, college players to a man play much better defense than guys in the NBA, just flip back and forth between a college basketball game and an NBA game, the defensive disparity is overwhelming). Obviously the best defensive TEAMS win championships, but seldom do those teams have individual lock-down defenders, for example the Lakers, Spurs, Celtics, etc (you can make the argument that Bruce Bowen and Ron Artest are “star defensive players,” if you want to say that holding Kobe Bryant to 28 points instead of 40 points is a job well done). So, in my opinion individual defensive standouts are a bit overrated.
Second, I refute the presumption that Fredette can not defend his position because although he lacks ideal size in terms of height (see the list of NBA players below), he does possess a strong, sturdy, muscular base or frame (6 ft 2 in, 195 lbs) which will allow him to hold his position while defending both taller and quicker players. Here are some other players of similar size and stature to Jimmer and how their supposed inability to defend has not hindered their NBA careers one bit.
Tony Parker (PG, Spurs, 6 ft 2 in, 180 lbs) – Defensive liability? Yes, but that hasn’t stopped him from leading the Spurs to 3 NBA Championships since becoming their starting PG.
Steve Nash (PG, Suns, 6 ft 3 in, 178 lbs) – Defensive liability? Yes, but that hasn’t prevented him from racking up 2 consecutive NBA MVP Awards.
Deron Williams (PG, Jazz, 6 ft 3 in, 207 lbs) – Defensive liability? No. Why? Not because he’s the fastest guy on the floor, but because he has a solid frame and he knows how to use his body to his advantage.
Raymond Felton (PG, Knicks, 6 ft 1 in, 198 lbs) – Defensive liability? No. Why? Much like Deron Williams, Felton possesses a strong frame. He can guard quicker players as well as bang with taller 2-guards without being pushed around.
All in all, I believe Fredette will have a solid career in the NBA. Do I think he’ll be a star? No. Do I think he’ll be a bust? No. I think Fredette will be a solid sixth man or third scoring option on either an up-tempo team such as the Knicks (and yes, as a Knicks fan I would love to see Jimmer playing 41 games at MSG, he would be a perfect fit in their system) or for a team with a legitimate low post threat like the Magic or Lakers. In the latter scenario, Fredette would provide the ability to create off the dribble as well as stretch the defense from the 3-point line. Nobody knows for sure what Fredette’s NBA future has in store for him, but one thing is certain. Jimmer Fredette will continue to be the story of the year in college hoops and his BYU Cougars will be a fun team to watch come tournament time.