Knicks looking for depth behind Felton and Chandler in the NBA Draft
This offseason, the Knicks will look to go in the opposite direction. According to Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York, the Knicks will use the draft to find either a backup point guard or an inside presence. This comes as no surprise, but does tell us that the Knicks are focused on their position needs and are unlikely to employ a "best available" type draft strategy.
Point guard/shooting guard Jason Kidd, who spent the 2012-13 season in New York, retired on Monday, leaving a void in the Knicks' backcourt. In addition, Pablo Prigioni - who was a pleasant surprise as a 35-year-old rookie this year - is a free agent, and is said to be considering a return to the Spanish league, where he has spent the majority of his career.
As for the frontcourt, the Knicks had problems down low all season. They finished the year ranked 30th in blocked shots and 26th in rebounding. Rasheed Wallace put in some productive minutes early on in the season, but has since retired. Kenyon Martin played a big role down the stretch, but is now a free agent with an uncertain future. The Knicks need someone who can spell Tyson Chandler, especially considering Amare Stoudemire's chronic knee ailments.
With the 24th pick in the draft, the Knicks will have an opportunity to select a player who could end up making an early impact. Point guard Shane Larkin out of Miami has frequently been mentioned as a potential Knicks pick, and while the Knicks would probably love to have him, he's unlikely to drop to their pick. Other point guards who could more realistically go to the Knicks at 24 include Baylor's Pierre Jackson (pictured to the right), Providence's Ricky Ledo, South Dakota State's Nate Wolters, and NC State's Lorenzo Brown.
In the front court, the Knicks could pounce on a player like Rudy Gobert if they get the chance. The 7'2'' center from France has ideal size, though he has a lot to learn about the game of basketball. This makes his landing spot very tough to predict. He could be there for the Knicks at 24, but may very well be drafted much earlier. Centers more likely to be there for the Knicks at 24 include Louisville's Gorgui Dieng, Kansas' Jeff Withey, and Brazil's Lucas Noguiera.
If I had to guess, I'd say that the Knicks end up getting either Pierre Jackson or Jeff Withey, but a lot is bound to change between now and the draft, which will take place on June 27. Regardless, it would be surprising to see the Knicks go after anything other than a facilitating point guard or a shot blocking/rebounding big man.