The 2011 NBA Draft Lottery is complete, so we know the NBA Draft order. The draft itself is Jun 23, slightly more than a month away. That means we have reached NBA Mock Draft season, the time to begin speculating in earnest who will end up where in the draft.
Our friends at the mothership, SBNation.com, have released their first full NBA Mock Draft. The New York Knicks, fresh off their first playoff appearance since 2004, choose 17th in the first round and do not have a second-round selection. Who did SB Nation basketball guru Tom Ziller choose for the Knicks with that 17th selection?
Markieff Morris, PF, Kansas.
The Knicks need size. It was brutally obvious in the playoffs against the Boston Celtics that Rony Turiaf and Jared Jeffries do not provide enough of a presence inside. Can the 6-foot-10, 235-pound Morris help in that regard?
Morris averaged 13.6 points and 8.3 rebounds for the Jayhawks in 2010-2011, his junior season. Draft Express calls Morris "a strong, explosive, and physical power forward."
Here is more from Draft Express about Morris:
Though Morris still has a ways to develop, and could stand to cut down on his turnovers and improve his overall decision-making, the progress he's made this season has been overwhelmingly positive. Looking at his freshman season alone, Morris seemed bound for a basic catch-and-finish role predicated on hustle and defensive toughness that would have him spending virtually all of his times at the rim or in the paint. His offensive skill set now fills a variety of roles that fit nicely with the ever-increasing versatility of the power forward position on the NBA level.
Defensively, Morris has clearly improved on paper, cutting down on his fouls and rebounding the ball at an impressive rate. However, it is his toughness and the way he takes things personally on the defensive end that are most intriguing. His wingspan won't allow him to be a big factor as a weakside shot blocker, but he's got the mentality to be a solid one-on-one defensive player and a quality area rebounder early in his career.
Your thoughts, Knicks fans?