In what could be a crucial night as the New York Knicks attempt to build their team into a title contender, there are tons of reports speculating about what the Knicks will do with the No. 17 pick in Thursday's 2011 NBA Draft, but not many of them agree. What's known is this: the Knicks have a dearth of options. And with many believing that there may not be much of a difference in talent and potential in picks 15-40 in this year's draft, it will be even harder than ever to pick the right guy.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News is reporting that Carmelo Anthony is trying to sell the Knicks on Kansas guard Josh Selby. As we covered in one of our previous mock draft posts, Anthony and Selby are both from Baltimore and represented by Creative Artists Agency. Selby is an interesting case, as he was one of the highest rated prospects heading into last year's college basketball season, but a suspension and injuries derailed his season. He could end up being a steal at No. 17, where he'll likely be available, or could be a Monta Ellis type who falls to the second round.
The New York Post says the Knicks have eyes on three players, Georgia Tech point guard Iman Shumpert, Colorado shooting guard Alec Burks, and USC center Nikola Vucevic. In most mock drafts, Burks, a slashing two-guard, is projected as a lottery pick, so it is unlikely he will fall to the Knicks at 17. Shumpert is a point guard with height, listed at 6-foot-5, and is known for his defensive prowess, athleticism, and rebounding ability. Vucevic would give the Knicks some size, but isn't going to give them much on the defensive end.
Perhaps the most interesting prospect in this year's draft is Congolege center Bismack Biyombo. Through the lead up to this draft, the 6-9 center has been projected as a top-8 pick to somewhere in the late first round. There is a lot of mystery with Biyombo, starting with his age. He's listed as being 18, but some think he could already be 20 or 21. What is known is that he's an athletic freak who has the tools to be, in the best case scenario, a dominant defender. His offensive game, at this point, is non-existent. He likely will never be much on the offensive end in his NBA career. There is much risk in taking Biyombo, but given the Knicks lack of size and toughness inside, it is something they would have to consider if he's available at No. 17.
It seems that the Knicks' top three targets will all be gone by the time they pick: BYU's Jimmer Fredette, Washington State shooter Klay Thompson, and Florida State forward Chris Singleton. Although the Knicks are believed to want any of those, a trade up is unlikely. A trade down actually may be more plausible, and in the end more valuable.