With the NBA draft coming up this week, every Knick fan is anxious to see what Phil Jackson does. Unlike most drafts, there are so many options for Knicks. They can trade their pick for someone like Eric Bledsoe, they can draft an international player (which is a big risk), or even draft an elite collegiate athlete. Although the fourth pick is not what Knick fans hoped for, it’s not all bad. If the Knicks keep their pick, there are four potential players to draft. Obviously on draft night, some of them may be drafted already but there are really just four names that I believe will end up in a blue and orange uniform next year. So each day prior to the draft, you will read a player profile on a potential future Knick. Today we meet, D’Angelo Russell.
Freshman at Ohio State
Player Comparison: Jason Kidd
19.3 PPG, 5 APG, 5.7 RPG, 1.6 Stls, 44.9 FG%, 41.1 3P%
“One of the best players in the draft,” said Ryan Blake about D’Angelo Russell. He is a versatile scorer as he is able to drive very well to the basket with his incredible ball skills. Not only can he get to the hoop, he is able to shoot from behind the arc with his quick release. His 6’9 wingspan allows him to disrupt passing lanes and block shots on the defensive side, an attribute that most point guards don’t have. After hearing criticism on his strength, Russell put in many hours to vastly improve his upper-body strength. Another unique quality that Russell has is his great court vision, especially in transition.
Although Russell has improved his upper-body strength, he needs real help in his legs. D’Angelo’s average run and jump is below NBA standard and he lacks that explosiveness in his legs that are essential for point guards. He also concerned many with his performance in the third round of the NCAA tournament, where he shot 3-19.
Fit with the Knicks
D’Angelo Russell is the best possible option for the New York Knicks. The Knicks currently have no point guard who can be relied on. Russell is a great scorer which would take a load off of Carmelo. Russell is a great defender, something the Knicks struggled with last year, finishing in the bottom third of the league in points allowed per game. As far as the criticism with not being able to take over games, he’s just a teenager and he can definitely improve upon that. Especially with Carmelo, a guy who we all know loves taking the pressure shots. Recently, Russell made it clear that he can fit in with the triangle offense. He stated “Now that I look at it… I can definitely thrive there.” Assuming that Towns and Okafor go 1 and 2, respectively, Russell is the number one option for the Knicks. The rumor floating around today, says that if the two big man are taken then the Knicks are trading there pick, is hopefully not true because all Knick fans would LOVE to see Russell in Gotham wearing blue and orange.