While eight NBA teams are preparing for playoff games and figuring out how to win a title, the New York Knicks are among the 22 other teams who have their sights set on the off-season. It's an off-season of uncertainty for both the league (lockout coming?) and the Knicks (who's running the ship?), and there isn't anything ever certain about the NBA Draft, where each year brings us about the same amount of busts as it does surprises. Who would have thought, save for his dramatic post-Carmelo trade downturn, that a guy like Landry Fields would be the talent he was based on where he was drafted? The Knicks' draft history is ripe with both busts and surprises, so it's always interesting when Commissioner David Stern steps up to announce the Knicks' pick at the Theatre at MSG.The Knicks actually DO have their first-round pick this year, so who should be on their early radar at number 17? Here are three possibilities:
Kenneth Faried - PF - Morehead State
Anyone with half a basketball brain knows the Knicks desperately need size. Unfortunately, the 2011 Draft doesn't look to have much that would fix the Knicks' needs. On top of just needing straight size, the Knicks need someone who can defend and rebound down low. One of the best players in this year's class in that mold could be Kenneth Faried of Morehead State. Faried averaged 17.3 ppg and 14.5 rpg, the rebounding mark leading the nation. Albeit against a generally low level of competition in the Southwest Conference, Faried is exactly the type of player the Knicks need, even if he's a bit undersized at 6-foot-8. They shouldn't even look at his offensive game. He can rebound and defend in the post, and is a dirty work type of player. If the Knicks can find a center through free agency or a trade, Faried would be a great backup to Amare Stoudemire.
Markieff Morris - PF - Kansas
Another power forward with an NBA-ready frame that the Knicks would love to see available at 17 is Kansas' Markeiff Morris. At 6-foot-10, 245, he's the bigger and more rugged of the two Morris twins, with his brother Marcus the better scorer. Morris is another player, similar to Faried, who will do the unglamorous things, but the ones that help win basketball games. The Knicks were exposed in the playoffs for their lack of depth and size. Morris would be a good guy to have to play 8-10 minutes per game, use up fouls, grab boards, and alter shots.
Tyler Honeycutt - SF/SG - UCLA
The Knicks could also use help at the shooting guard position, and knowing Mike D'Antoni (as long as he's still the coach), he will want someone who can contribute on the offensive end. A versatile player with some size is UCLA's Tyler Honeycutt, the athletic sophomore swingman. Honeycutt, like Morris, comes from a big basketball program, playing with and against good competition in his two college seasons. Honeycutt showed marked improvement from his freshman year, and as a sophomore netted 12.8 ppg and 7.2 rpg. He stands 6-foot-8 but is rangy and wiry, the type of player D'Antoni seems to covet. Don't be surprised if this is the pick if he's available and D'Antoni has some input.