While there are rumors aplenty that the Knicks will jump into the first round of Thursday night's NBA Draft, there are plenty of talents I am excited to potentially see drop down to the two picks they currently hold, 38 and 39. No, it won't be Greg Monroe of Georgetown, but let's look at a few who could be available if the Knicks stay where they are:
Da'Sean Butler, 6'7" small forward, West Virginia: like a high school pitcher with an arm injury, Butler's torn ACL cost him in this draft. But this is hardly the type of injury players struggle to overcome- and so it bears wondering: will the Knicks get a lottery-type talent at 38 or 39? Not only can Butler score, he is a fantastic defender.
Jarvis Varnado, 6'10 center, Mississippi: I am mystified by the lack of interest in Varnado, who is projected to go in the middle of the second round. Yes, I know he's not a polished offensive player. But he blocks shots extraordinarily well. He averaged 4.6, 4.7 and 4.7 blocks per game in his final three college seasons. A defense that takes many risks as Mike D'Antoni's does (or put another way, has as many people get beaten off the dribble as the Knicks did last season) could use that kind of failsafe.
Scottie Reynolds, 6'2" point guard, Villanova: What I like about Reynolds is that he brings many aspects to the table that will make him valuable to the Knicks- the terrific three-point shooting, the quickness with the ball- while adding skills as he progressed in college (difficult to do when you are in charge of the program on the court from day one of your freshman year). Reynolds is criticized for shot selection, but notice that his field goal percentage went from .400 his junior year to .457 his senior year. Either he was making many more tough shots, or that just isn't true. I think teams are going to regret passing on him.
Other interesting names to me: Derrick Caracter, UTEP (did Butler's run in the tournament keep Caracter from a an NCAA coming -out party?), Hamady N'Diaye, Rutgers (see Varnado, though he's not nearly as sure a thing defensively), Andy Rautins, Syracuse (if the Knicks need a shooter off he bench, he'll do nicely).