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News » New York Knicks Getting Inside 2009-06-30

New York Knicks Getting Inside 2009-06-30

New York Knicks Getting Inside 2009-06-30
The Knicks were unable to take advantage of the point guard depth in the NBA draft to fill their long-term needs at that critical position, but they did address another area of need: size and athleticism.

Jordan Hill is a perfect big for Mike D'Antoni's system because of his length, athleticism and, most important, his ability to play the pick-and-roll and knock down the mid-range jumper with a soft touch. He doesn't immediately bring the wow factor that a Stephen Curry or Ricky Rubio might have delivered on draft night, but Hill is viewed as a valuable piece of this rebuilding process that is well under way.

Donnie Walsh added more size with the acquisition of 7-1 center Darko Milicic, who came to the Knicks from Memphis in exchange for Quentin Richardson, whose 3-point prowess is no longer what it used to be. Both players had expiring contracts, so the moves were more out of roster necessity for both the Knicks and Grizzlies, who selected Hasheem Thabeet with the No. 2 pick and, with Marc Gasol already on the roster, did not need a third 7-footer.

The Knicks, who had one of the smallest frontcourts in the NBA last season (6-9 David Lee often played center), got bigger. And there is a belief that Milicic, a former No. 2 overall pick, finally might find a comfort zone in the NBA playing in D'Antoni's open-floor style, which does not demand post-ups by the bigs.

The selection of Hill does raise questions -- as does the Toney Douglas pick at No. 29 -- about the futures of restricted free agents Lee and Nate Robinson. Both could be used as assets in sign-and-trade situations that bring in higher-end talent to improve the team to playoff level in the vastly improved Eastern Conference.

The Knicks would like to keep Lee (they envision playing him and Hill together in some scenarios), but his asking price, plus what he is offered on the open market, is always a concern, as the bottom line remains to be a far under the salary cap for free agency in 2010. In order to re-sign Lee, the Knicks likely will have to move a contract such as Eddy Curry ($11.2 million in 2010-11) or Jared Jeffries ($6.8 million in 2010-11) to keep the plan intact.

Still, Walsh will be open to going after talent this summer with the few assets he has, including the mid-level exception. It is expected they will target a point guard -- Jason Kidd, Ramon Sessions and possibly Rubio, if Minnesota decides to deal his rights -- to upgrade the position, where Chris Duhon played well in the first half but was unable to maintain it for a full 82 games.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: June 30, 2009


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