The New York Knicks season is over and the team is already preparing for the 2013 NBA Draft and what might shape up to be a busy off-season. Almost every flaw was exposed during the playoff loss to the Indiana Pacers. The age, the lack of interior defense, the heavy reliance on a streaky shooter like J.R. Smith, all became exposed in that series. The Knicks will own the 24th overall selection in the June draft and can address an area of major need.
The Knicks could go several ways during the draft. They can look for a shooter to potentially replace J.R. Smith, a big man to help out Tyson Chandler, or a young point guard to groom behind Raymond Felton. Of course, like any draft, the Knicks can only pick from what is left but there is a chance there could be some very talented players still sitting on the board when the Knicks pick.
Baylor point guard Pierre Jackson could still be on the board. With Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd, the Knicks aren’t exactly young and exciting at the point. Jackson doesn’t have ideal height at 5-10 but he knows how to play the position and can run the Knicks’ offense. He would at least be an injection of youth and skill at a position that needs a player with both of those attributes. Jackson averaged 19.8 PPG, 7.1 APG and shot 35 percent from beyond the arc. Despite his height, Jackson is very good at what he does and if he were five inches taller he might be a top three pick in this draft. Jackson plays at high speed and would alter the tempo for the Knicks when he is on the floor. He could be what Raymond Felton was to the Knicks a couple of seasons ago when Felton was facilitating the offense and scoring over 17 points per game.
The Knicks have a lot of needs and point guard should be among them. Felton has been a good player for the Knicks and should still be the starter but the Knicks need depth at the position and someone who can take over the point when Felton’s contract is up in two years. Kidd showed he has very little left in the playoffs. He couldn’t facilitate, couldn’t make a shot, and just looked old and used up. At 40-years-old, one has to wonder what exactly he has left in the tank at this point. Jackson could sit for a year behind Felton, learn the nuances of the Knicks offense, and take over as a starter next season. I look at Jackson and I see a lot of similarities to a former small Knicks point guard, Nate Robinson.
The Knicks need someone who can facilitate the offense when Felton is out and someone who can get the ball to Carmelo Anthony. Jackson could be that guy. If he is available, he would be an instant upgrade at the backup point guard position and also someone who can be a starter in this league immediately if necessary. However, sitting for a year or two behind Felton while still getting some decent playing time would be the best thing for Jackson.
The Knicks can go in several directions in the draft. They can find a suitable replacement for J.R. Smith or add some youth to their frontcourt to give Tyson Chandler some help. The best player that might still be available might be Jackson, however. If he is there the Knicks should draft him and at least know they would have their point guard of the future and can develop him at their own pace.