New York Knicks: 2017 NBA Draft Shooting Guards To Keep An Eye On
The New York Knicks are on pace to secure a lottery pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Which shooting guards should the Knicks be evaluating as March Madness nears?
The New York Knicks are approaching an offseason that will define Phil Jackson’s tenure as team president. The tone is rather negative at this point in time, as New York has yet to reach the NBA Playoffs under the Jackson regime.
With March Madness nearing and the 2017 NBA Draft beginning to take shape, however, the future could soon be saved and secured.
Having already evaluated the top point guards in the 2017 NBA Draft, it’s only fair to move on to shooting guard. There’s no guaranteeing that any of the players listed will live up to their potential, but all have upside worth exploring.
With Courtney Lee signed through 2019-20, the player acquired would have the time to develop naturally and avoid unrealistic immediate expectations.
In some instances, the shooting guards are explosive athletes with the tools to be high-quality scorers at the next level. In others, they’re two-way players who can fit the mold of a 3-and-D player.
The question for the New York Knicks is simple: who are the best shooting guards in the country and why should they be on the radar?
Terrance Ferguson, Adelaide 36ers (NBL)
Projected: Top 20
Age: 18 (5/17/1998)
Height, Weight, Wingspan: 6’7″, 186 pounds, 6’9.5″
2016-17 Slash Line: .377/.317/.611
2016-17 Season Averages: 16.5 MPG, 4.9 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 0.6 ORPG, 0.7 APG, 0.8 3PM
As far as the 2017 NBA Draft is concerned, athletic shooting guard Terrance Ferguson is an enigma. An elite leaper and dunk artist with legitimate 3-point range, Ferguson shocked the masses by opting to play professionally instead of taking the collegiate route.
Rather than gaining experience under respected head coach Sean Miller at the University of Arizona, Ferguson is battling the pros in Australia.
Ferguson’s appeal is that he’s a 6’7″ shooting guard with a near 6’10” wingspan and ridiculous bounce. Playing above the rim comes easily to Ferguson, whose vertical leap will likely be measured in the 40″ range come the combine.
In terms of pure upside and body type, Ferguson compares well to current Toronto Raptors swingman Terrence Ross.
Of what’s been seen of Ferguson in Australia, one determination has been made: he’s a willing team player. He doesn’t play hero ball, but instead listens to his coaches, trusts his teammates, and plays within his comfort zone.
Ferguson has natural star potential given his size, length, athleticism, and shooting range, and his willingness to take coaching implies that he’ll at least be capable of thriving in as a role player.
Josh Hart, Villanova Wildcats
Projected: Late First, Early Second
Age: 21 (3/6/1995)
Height, Weight, Wingspan: 6’5.5″, 204 pounds, 6’8.5″
2016-17 Slash Line: .518/.403/.789
2016-17 Season Averages: 33.2 MPG, 18.9 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.5 SPG, 2.0 3PM
The Villanova Wildcats are the defending NCAA Division I champions and Josh Hart is the star of the show. A deceptively explosive athlete with size, strength, and a well-rounded skill set, Hart has the tools to be the ultimate NBA role player.
If the New York Knicks acquire a second first-round draft pick in 2017, then Hart could be the perfect player to select as a building block.
Hart stands at just under 6’6″ with a 38.5″ max vertical leap and a proven history of showing up in big games. He’s an efficient 3-point shooter who has become more willing to let it fly during his senior season—and he’s maintained his efficiency while doing so.
Hart is also a capable post player who’s comfortable playing inside and underrated in his ability to create for others as a facilitator.
Defensively, Hart has been coached well and provides a consistent and concerted effort in man and zone sets. In many ways, he’s comparable to a younger Arron Afflalo in the sense that he has no identifiable flaws as far as pure skill is concerned.
Hart may or may not have star potential, but he has a well-rounded skill set, athleticism, and the tools to either be a starter or the perfect sixth man in the NBA.
Josh Jackson, Kansas Jayhawks
Projected: Top 5
Age: 19 (2/10/1997)
Height, Weight, Wingspan: 6’7.75″, 203 pounds, 6’9.75″
2016-17 Slash Line: .496/.339/.549
2016-17 Season Averages: 29.7 MPG, 16.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.6 SPG, 1.2 BPG, 0.9 3PM
Most have Josh Jackson listed as a small forward, but he’d have an easier time as a young player at shooting guard. His primary skill in the present is his ability to overpower players and get to the rim, which he wouldn’t be able to do against NBA small forwards this early in his career.
Much as Andrew Wiggins began his career at shooting guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jackson would be able to do the same for the New York Knicks.
Jackson is one of the most naturally gifted athletes in the country, which has birthed the belief that stardom could be on the horizon. Standing at 6’8″ with a 6’10” wingspan and a projected 40″ max vertixal leap, Jackson is an absolute physical marvel.
Jackson has utilized those physical gifts to dominate in transition, slash at will, and develop into one of the better young defensive players in this draft class.
What hurts Jackson is the fact that he’s a lackluster jump shooter who struggles to consistently knock down open shots. That will hinder him early in his NBA career and isn’t guaranteed to be fixed, no matter how many other players have improved in that regard.
Nevertheless, the Knicks desperately need perimeter defense and a player who can consistently create penetration, and Jackson checks both boxes.
Donovan Mitchell, Louisville Cardinals
Projected: Late First Round
Age: 20 (9/7/1996)
Height & Weight: 6’3″ & 200 pounds
2016-17 Slash Line: .413/.373/.803
2016-17 Season Averages: 30.3 MPG, 15.0 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.6 APG, 2.1 SPG, 2.3 3PM
If the New York Knicks are looking for a 3-and-D shooting guard, then Donovan Mitchell could be the best option. He’s a Rick Pitino player, which should appeal to Knicks fans who know the franchise’s history, as well as a rising star on draft boards.
The sophomore has earned a reputation as a big-game performer and has the tools to be a high-level role player at the next level.
Mitchell’s active hands and fearlessness as a 3-point shooter make him an alluring prospect. He has the tenacity as an on-ball defender that the Knicks have been sorely missing in 2016-17, as well as the ability to create turnovers that’s been just as devastatingly absent.
Offensively, Mitchell is comparable to Courtney Lee in that he can space the floor, put it on the floor, and facilitate at a respectable enough level to complement a true point guard.
The issues with Mitchell are based in size. That includes his height at 6’3″ and the fact that his success has a small sample size. He’s been efficient in 2016-17, but he shot just 25.0 percent from 3-point range in 2015-16.
Mitchell is an impressive athlete who’s rising up draft boards, however, and it would behoove Phil Jackson and the Knicks to work him out and evaluate his fit and upside.
Malik Monk, Kentucky Wildcats
Projected: Top 10
Age: 19 (2/4/1998)
Height, Weight, Wingspan: 6’3″, 197 pounds, 6’3.5″
2016-17 Slash Line: .487/.412/.828
2016-17 Season Averages: 31.4 MPG, 21.9 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.1 SPG, 3.2 3PM
Malik Monk appeared on Daily Knicks’ list of point guards whom the New York Knicks should consider, but he’s projected by most at the 2. He’s of a score-first mentality and has the tools to be a No. 1 scoring option on an NBA team.
With a 42.0″ max vertical leap and an outstanding jump shot, Monk has the necessary tools to complement Kristaps Porzingis as a future franchise player.
It’s rare that a player is elite as both an athlete and a 3-point shooter, but Monk is one of the rare exceptions. He’s just as capable of putting it on the floor and attacking the rim, where he’s fearless and does an excellent job of drawing contact.
The Knicks are in desperate need of players who can create penetration, and Monk has the quickness and leaping ability to give teams fits.
The issues with Monk playing shooting guard pertain to his size and the implication of it on defense. He stands at 6’3″ with a near 6’4″ wingspan, which has created the belief that he’s a shooting guard in a point guard’s body.
Positional ambiguity is always a concern, but Jeff Hornacek has coached small backcourts with multiple playmakers to success in the past.
Which shooting guard would you like to see the New York Knicks target leading up to the 2017 NBA Draft? Hit the comments section and let us know!
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