Through a combination of obvious familial ties, a tour at a big-name college, and links to the NBA team in the biggest media market on the planet, Patrick Ewing Jr. has a startlingly high profile for a fringe NBA candidate. So much so that those not looking too closely were troubled by the Knicks’ decision to cut him, despite the fact that Jr.’s game just isn’t NBA caliber.
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks opted to cut Ewing Jr. — and retain the cloud of off-court problems named Shawne Williams — due to Williams’ superior shooting. Funny, because Ewing Jr. loves shooting, but shooting doesn’t always love him. It’s not that Williams is some kind of marksman, either; he’s shot just .306 from behind the arc during his three-year NBA career, but Williams must have endeared himself to the Knicks’ staff with some of his other talents. What those talents are, exactly, is a bit of an unknown. Williams has never been particularly skilled or productive among pros, and I’m a bit surprised that New York didn’t opt to cut both players, pocket the cash, and call it a day.
Still, this is no injustice against Ewing. He’s an incredible athlete and has the potential to be an effective NBA defender, but he also has enough detrimental offensive tendencies to give any coach serious pause about playing him. Long arms and an impressive vertical just aren’t enough to make it as an NBA regular, and hopefully Jr. takes that to heart as he continues to work on his game.