The New York Knicks were dominated in the paint throughout their second-round playoff matchup against the Indiana Pacers. The Knicks had no legitimate answer to David West and Roy Hibbert on the glass. Tyson Chandler, New York’s best post defender and former 2012 Defensive Player of the Year, was sick and largely ineffective.
In New York’s Game 4 93-82 loss, they were outrebounded 54-36. The Pacers also recovered 16 rebounds on the offensive glass, regularly notching second-chance buckets.
The Knicks’ inefficiency on the glass in the series spotlighted an enduring problem for the team. They averaged just 40.6 rebounds per game in the regular season, good for 25th in the NBA. The Pacers, at 45.9 per game, led the league.
Given that the Knicks have limited resources to make noise in free agency, they will likely rely on the draft to fill most of their holes.
ESPN.com draft expert Chad Ford predicts the Knicks will take Tony Mitchell, a power forward from North Texas with the 24th overall pick in the NBA draft.
Mitchell averaged just 13 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.7 blocks last season, but he is a stellar rebounder and an excellent athlete.
His phenomenal leaping ability was on display at the NBA Combine.
“Mitchell has the upside of a top-10 pick, but he was in an awful situation in North Texas last season,” Ford said.
He certainly has the potential to be a star. In a Jan. 3 matchup against Troy, Mitchell tallied 29 points, 15 rebounds and swatted away four shots.
Drafting Mitchell would be a risk for the Knicks. But it should be a risk they are willing to take, given their egregious inside presence.
Mitchell will workout for the Knicks on Friday, along with Providence guard Ricardo Ledo.
The 6-foot-9, 236-pound Mitchell would give the Knicks another big body to pair alongside Chandler in the frontcourt. Still, the Knicks will need more manpower in the paint if they hope to compete. But Mitchell would be a good start.