A sturdily-built, proficient shooter, who is a pick and roll wizard: those are the primary superlatives scouts ascribe to Murray State Point Guard Isaiah Canaan, who worked out for the New York Knicks this week in advance of the June 27 NBA Draft.
The Knicks, who hold the 24th pick in the draft, are tasked with replacing future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd, who retired earlier this week.
While there will be a bevy options for the Knicks at their draft position, Canaan, while promising, is not the best fit for this team. Here’s why: his smallish stature and lack of lateral quickness, per scouts, are possible impediments to Canaan becoming a full-time starter at the next level. In addition, the 6-foot tall guard did not play against top-tier college competition at Murray State, which plays in the Ohio Valley Conference.
These concerns could result in a rough transition to the next level for Canaan.
However, he could be an ideal fit for a team looking for a shoot-first guard who can provide a spark off the bench. And Canaan, who led his Murray State Racers in scoring at nearly 22 points a game this past season, is an offensive dynamo.
“Canaan is a natural scorer, with his primary weapon being his jump shot. While his three point percentage has taken a dive this year (down to 38.9 percent from 45.6 percent last year), the shot forms the majority of Canaan’s offense, and his overall excellent form indicates that his percentages should likely rise if he is able (and willing) to be a little more selective with his attempts,” according DraftExpress.
Another reason why the Knicks should pass on Canaan, who many project as an early-second rounder as opposed to a first-rounder, is that they already have a guard on the roster similar to him in both stature and skill. That player is Raymond Felton.
What New York needs, in the wake of Kidd’s retirement, is a guard who can facilitate the offense, or a banger who can provide rebounding and rim protection. The point guards in the Knicks’ draft range are either shoot-first guys like Canaan or raw, upside guys like North Carolina State’s Lorenzo Brown.
An athletic “big” that can help shore up the Knicks’ interior defense will be an easier find at 24 than a pass-first playmaker. This is why the Knicks should refrain from going down the path to Canaan.
Tacuma R. Roeback is a New York Knicks writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TacumaRoe, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+