New York Knicks Wallpaper

Knicks Refusal to Add a Point Guard Grating

New York Knicks WallpaperThe pieces had finally fallen into place, the point guard that has eluded New York for over a decade was there for the taking with the fourth overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft.

The course had been charted, Emmanuel Mudiay was finally going to bring some stability to the point guard position for the Knicks. 

The 19-year-old has all of the tools necessary to provide an immediate impact, a 6-foot-5, 200 pound frame, the ability to attack the rim, elite passing skills and a handle that can either create open looks for himself, or teammates.

Five excruciating minutes after Philadelphia had shockingly selected Jahlil Okafor with the third overall pick, New York made an even more stunning choice.

Instead of landing a franchise point guard, the Knicks opted to select Kristaps Porzingis, a 7-foot-1 forward that will limit Carmelo Anthony from playing the power forward position, where he has excelled in New York.

The need for a point guard was so glaring, such a necessity, that when commissioner Adam Silver announced the name of Porzingis — and not Mudiay  — the large contingency of Knicks fans at the Barclays center in Brooklyn reacted by booing the Latvian forward.

Emmanuel Mudiay bypassed the NCAA to play professionally in China for one year after graduating high school.
Emmanuel Mudiay bypassed the NCAA to play professionally in China for one year after graduating high school.

Porzingis has the potential to shake off the stigma associated with foreign players drafted in the first round by the Knicks (Fredric Weis never appeared in an NBA game and Maciej Lampe played 64 games in his career, none with the Knicks) by just playing once, but he simply isn’t the point guard the Knicks desperately need.

Fans aren’t the only group frustrated by the selection, Anthony doesn’t want to be part of a massive rebuilding effort in New York.

Instead of undertaking a huge project, the Knicks could have taken Mudiay, the top point guard prospect in the 2015 NBA Draft class, and then use free agency to fill out the other weaknesses on the roster.

Point guard has been a problem for New York for decades. In the 69-year history of the franchise, a Knicks player has averaged over nine assists per game on just four occasions.

Raymond Felton was the last player to accomplish the feat, as he was dishing out 9.0 assists per game in 2010-11, but then was dealt to the Nuggets as part of the Anthony trade.

As much of an impact free agency, making the correct draft choices and luck influence a franchise, continuity is an important ingredient, especially at the point guard position.

Consistency has been an issue for New York ever since Stephon Marbury was unceremoniously waived by the team over seven years ago.

In his final season, the Knicks were paying him over $20 million to not play.

Despite the terrible ending to his tenure in New York, he has to be considered one of the three best point guards ever to play for the team, as he joins Mark Jackson as the only player to twice average over 8.0 assists per game for the Knicks.

Over the past eight seasons, five different point guards have led the Knicks in starts, averaging just 52.3 starts during the year.

Point guard Emmanual Mudiay averaged 18 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.6 steals during his tenure with the Guangdong Tigers in China.
Point guard Emmanual Mudiay averaged 18 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.6 steals during his tenure with the Guangdong Tigers in China.

The production was even more bleak, as the average starting point guard in New York has averaged 12.9 points on 40.7 percent shooting from the field, 5.0 assists and 2.2 turnovers per game, realistic numbers Mudiay could average in his first season.

Mudiay was projected to be a top-5 pick, but fell to Denver with the seventh overall pick, leading the team to likely place Ty Lawson, the starting point guard for the Nuggets each of the past four years, on the trading block.

Instead, the Knicks will likely have a different starter at the point guard position on opening night for the third straight season.

New York did trade for point guard Jerian Grant, a player that averaged 16.5 points and 6.7 assists per game as a senior at Notre Dame Thursday night, believing the 22-year-old can contend for the starting job.

The only problem was the cost of Grant meant the Knicks had to deal Tim Hardaway Jr., the only true shooting guard on the team.

If the shooting guard position isn’t addressed in free agency, Langston Galloway, the mid-season call up from the NBA Developmental League that started 41 games at point guard, will likely shift positions.

Grant will then contend with Jose Calderon for the point guard position.

The Knicks could have settled the point guard battle easily on draft night, but instead, they once again refused to add a point guard, extending a prolonged search that should have finally ended.

About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.

Check Also

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 10.41.03 PM

Podcast: Cavaliers and Warriors Closing In On Third Finals Matchup

The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers are on a collision course to meet in …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *