Tag: New York Knicks

2015 NBA Draft

NBA rookie survey suggests Karl-Anthony Towns over Jahlil Okafor was a mistake


Most NBA teams would have picked Karl-Anthony Towns over Jahlil Okafor with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. I would have. The Timberwolves did.

But a plurality of NBA rookies prefer Okafor, who went No. 3 to the 76ers.

Two responses in NBA.com’s annual rookie survey reveal that:

Who will be the 2015-16 Rookie of the Year?

1. Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia — 41.9 percent

2. Stanley Johnson, Detroit — 19.4 percent

3. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota — 12.9 percent

T-4. Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver — 9.7 percent

D’Angelo Russell, L.A. Lakers — 9.7 percent

Others receiving votes: Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento; Trey Lyles, Utah

Which rookie will have the best career?

Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia — 24.1 percent

2. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota — 17.2 percent

T-3. Justin Anderson, Dallas — 13.8 percent

Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver — 13.8 percent

5. Stanley Johnson, Detroit — 8.0 percent

6. Sam Dekker, Houston — 6.9 percent

Others receiving votes: Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento; Bobby Portis, Chicago; Kelly Oubre, Washington; Kristaps Porzingis, New York; D’Angelo Russell, L.A. Lakers; Rashad Vaughn, Milwaukee

Picking Okafor for Rookie of the Year doesn’t necessarily mean he should have gone No. 1. The former Duke center is exceptionally polished offensively, and he should fill a big role on the lowly 76ers.

But the “best career” question is essentially asking who should have gone No. 1 – especially considering Towns and Okafor play the same position. Perhaps, a majority of respondents who took a third candidate would have taken Towns over Okafor, changing results of a run-off race. But with the information we have, plurality rules.

The survey also includes other interesting (Mavericks’ Justin Anderson as most athletic), unsurprising (Suns’ Devin Booker as best shooter) and surprising (Rondae Hollis-Jefferson as best defender) responses. Willie Cauley-Stein went No. 6 to the Kings largely based on his ability to guard the interior and exterior. If he’s not elite defensively – and his peers don’t rate him that way, ranking him fourth with 5.9% of votes – questions about his offense and rebounding become more significant.

For the second straight year, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James ranked 1-2-3 as rookies’ favorite players.

Of course, don’t take these responses as gospel. Despite 13.8% of respondents – tied for third most – picking Anderson to have the best career, nobody voted for him as the draft’s biggest steal. How you can think the No. 21 pick will have the best career yet isn’t the draft’s biggest steal is beyond me.

Jose Calderon implies Clippers and Timberwolves are interested in him

Jose Calderon, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul

The Knicks are reportedly interested in Jamal Crawford and Ricky Rubio.

Trading for either guard would almost certainly mean dealing Jose Calderon, New York’s only player making more than a minimum salary it can trade right now without his permission.

It’s practically impossible to match salaries for Crawford ($5,675,000) or Rubio ($12.7 million) without Calderon’s $7,402,812.

But do the Clippers or Timberwolves want Calderon?

He implies yes.

Maybe Calderon knows something. If the Knicks are shopping him, they might extend him the courtesy of clueing him in on trade talks.

But it’s just as possible Calderon is tired of seeing his name in trade rumors, listed as a piece New York wants to dump. He might just want to change the public perception of him, whether or not facts support it.

Calderon’s $7,708,427 salary for 2016-17, when he’s 35, would be a burden for either the Clippers or Timberwolves. But it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker.

Calderon would be a better version of Pablo Prigioni as a reliable, non-Austin Rivers option behind Chris Paul at point guard for the Clippers. But Calderon would be more expensive, and the Clippers are already in the luxury tax. If they see him as the missing piece to a championship, though, that’s a small price to pay.

In Minnesota, Calderon would be a cheaper and older replacement for Rubio until Zach LaVine Tyus Jones is ready. The Timberwolves already have that in Andre Miller, though. But if the Knicks send back better assets – draft picks, young players – Calderon’s salary would probably be necessary to facilitate a deal.

Would the Clippers or Timberwolves take Calderon in a trade? Probably. Are they actually interested in him? That’s a much tougher question to answer.

Carmelo Anthony: LeBron James, Chris Paul and I talk ‘all the time’ about winning gold medal in 2016 Olympics

NBA All-Star Game 2015

LeBron James has a spot on the 2016 Olympic team if he wants it, but he has been mum on whether he wants it.

Carmelo Anthony offers a clue about LeBron’s and Chris Paul’s desire to play in Rio.

Melo, via Marc Berman of the New York Post:

“We talk about it all the time,’’ Anthony said of winning another gold medal with James and Paul. “Just about how we want to go out and end it the next year with the Olympics, just how much we want to take from this experience. I’m going on four [Olympics], LeBron is going on four. Paul going for three. We’re connected by the hip.’’

LeBron, Melo and Paul won gold medals in 2012 and 2008, and LeBron and Melo took bronze in 2004.

But Melo will be 32 and LeBron and Paul 31 in 2016. LeBron’s Cavaliers will very likely make a long playoff run this season. Paul’s Clippers are good enough to, though the tough Western Conference makes it less likely. Melo… the Knicks will probably give him a longer break before Rio.

I’m sure they all like the idea of playing in the 2016 Olympics. The more enthusiastic they are about it now, the more likely they follow through. But Rio is still a long way off, and aging goes only one direction.

Report: Knicks interested in trade for Clippers’ Jamal Crawford

Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers both see a value in former Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford and realize that he remains their best trade chip. That’s why he was shopped around at the draft and early in free agency.

The fact the Clippers went out and got Lance Stephenson this summer adds to their wing depth and, in theory, makes Crawford more expendable. At least if you believe in bounce-back Lance. Crawford has been frustrated by what he sees written on the wall, but the Clippers are not just going to give him away so there has been no deal.

Who wants Crawford? How about the Knicks, reports Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.

On the surface you can see the logic there for the Knicks, adding that kind of scoring depth gives them a boost, and for a bubble playoff team in the East that could be enough to put them over the hump. Maybe. It certainly makes it an interesting discussion. For the Clippers, the question is who would they want off the Knicks roster? And do they trust Stephenson to be their sixth man on the wing?

All that may not matter — making this deal happen is very difficult.

The Knicks renounced their trade exception from the J.R. Smith deal this summer to get under the salary cap and go after Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez. That means the Knicks have to send salary back to the Clippers in this deal. And they don’t have players that work for that under the cap. Former Nets exec and Twitter star Bobby Marks laid it out well:

Calderon may make some sense for the Clippers if they do not trust Austin Rivers — and based on past performance they should not trust Austin Rivers. (Clips fans, do not let a couple decent playoff games cloud your judgment.) But making this deal happen is challenging at best. The two sides likely have to wait until the guys signed this summer can be added to the deal, which means December at the earliest. Even then, I wouldn’t bet on it.

Phil Jackson’s concern: Could Kristaps Porzingis turn out like Shawn Bradley?


Shawn Bradley wasn’t as bad as Twitter seems to remember him, even if he ended up on the wrong end of a lot of dunks. The 7’6″ center with a stick-figure build had six NBA triple-doubles — not with assists but with blocks — and was double-digit a game scorer with a PER above the league average at his peak. He lasted a dozen seasons in the league.

Still he is widely seen as a bust (it doesn’t help that Penny Hardaway and Jamal Mashburn were taken right after Bradley). He was so thin he simply could be muscled around by guys with lower centers of gravity.

Could the same thing happen to Knicks’ rookie Kristaps Porzingis?

Phil Jackson backs his man but expressed this concern at the possibility when speaking to Charlie Rosen at ESPN.

Jackson projects that Porzingis will add at least 10 pounds of muscle before his first season commences, yet concerns still linger over his prize draft pick. “Like Shawn Bradley, who was nevertheless a pretty good player, KP might almost be too tall for the game. What I mean is that his core strength might never be good enough, and that he might not be able to get low enough to get himself into prime defensive position to body power rebounders or drivers.”

Porzingis showed promise at Summer League, but what also was clear was his need to put on some weight and get stronger because guys like Jahlil Okafor pushed him around with ease. And even if he puts on that weight, as Jackson said his center of gravity may be too high. That said, he showed a skill for using his length to compensate.

Porzingis showed far more skill and potential on offense than Bradley did — and he showed some shot-blocking chops. Not Bradley level, but he could develop into a rim protector.

It’s far, far too early to say how any of this draft class will turn out (Summer League is not a good predictor). But if I were a Knicks fan, I’d not be too worried about the Bradley comparison.