New York Knicks Summer League Roster Preview
Cleanthony Early, F: Early starred in his final college season at Wichita State, leading the Shockers to a 35-1 record. Possibly his best loss came in the Shockers’ one loss to Kentucky in the NCAA tournament. People know him from that game, but it’s not exactly an accurate reflection of his game. He played out of his mind that game, but for the most part he’s got one plus skill currently, which is shooting. He’ll need to learn how to create for himself and defend his position to last in the NBA.
Thanasis Antetokounmpo, G: Everybody loves Thanasis Antetokounmpo. His brother Giannis stole the hearts of NBA fans everywhere his rookie season with his flashy game and big, kind personality. Like his brother, Thanasis is an athletic freak that does almost all of the small, gritty things well. His shot started to come around late last season in the D-League, but he’s known right now for being a defensive stopper. He’s great on the boards, disrupting passing lanes, and locking down his man. New York might have finally done something right in a draft by taking Thanasis.
Players Under Contract
Tim Hardaway Jr., G: Hardaway struggled with efficiency his rookie season, but he was one of the few bright spots for the Knicks last season. He’s got great size for a shooting guard, and he’s shown the ability to get a mid-range jumper off over even the longest defender. He shoots the ball well from deep in catch and shoot opportunities, and he’s also good at utilizing off-ball screens to get himself open. His development should continue to trend upward from summer league into the upcoming season.
Shane Larkin, G: The Knicks received Larkin in the trade that send Tyson Chandler back to the Dallas Mavericks, the team he won a championship with back in 2011. Larkin will relish a fresh start. He was stuck with inconsistent playing time in Dallas, sitting behind players more experienced than him. Since Felton was involved in the aforementioned trade, there will be plenty of room for a young point guard like Larkin to step in and play a big role. He’s got a height disadvantage, but he makes up for it both offensively and defensively with his quickness and high basketball IQ.
Shannon Brown, G: Dunks, dunks, and more dunks. Most NBA fans remember Brown for his ridiculous hops and finishes at the rim and not much else. He’s an undersized shooting guard that is best suited to be a spot-up shooter only, and he’s much better in a lesser role. When he tries to take on too much, things get away from him quickly. With good guards easy to come by these days, it will be hard for the 28-year-old guard to find his way back onto an NBA roster for longer than a trial run.
Jeremy Tyler, C: Tyler is a guy that can fare well in multiple situations offensively. He can post up his man when necessary, and he’s also mobile enough to step out and serve as the screener on the pick and roll. Where he adds the most value is on the boards and as a rim protector. He averaged a solid 9.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per 36 minutes last season. Without a true center on the current roster, it’s likely that the Knicks will extend a qualifying offer to Tyler.
Former NBA Players
Cole Aldrich, C: Aldrich is in a bit of a limbo state right now. His contract with the Knicks expired after the 2013/14 season, and they don’t seem to be pushing too hard to bring his services back to the Garden next season. He lives around the rim, gobbling up rebounds, getting second chance points, and blocking shots. Right now, quality big man are harder to find than guards, so don’t count out Aldrich finding his way onto another NBA roster for next season to help a team round out its bench.
Jordan Vandenberg, C: Stretch fives in the NBA are incredibly rare, but that’s exactly what Vandenberg is. He can play down low, but it’s best if he catches the ball deep so he can go straight up given his lack of refined post moves. He can knock down deep twos, and he runs the floor exceptionally well for a man his size. He’s a really talented center, and he won’t have any problem lining his pockets with money somewhere overseas if he doesn’t stick anywhere in the States.
Will Sheehey, F: Sheehey served as a glue guy for Indiana, and he was often their steadiest player in a rough 2013-14 campaign. However, he showed only marginal improvement in his four years as a Hoosier, and that won’t impress too many people making roster decisions for an NBA team. He has a great motor and hardly any upside, which is not the position a guy wants to find himself in at the start of his professional career. He’ll scrap for everything he gets, but that’s all he should be counted on to contribute at this level.
Langston Galloway, G: The man can score – with great efficiency to boot. Galloway’s TS% his senior year at St. Joseph’s was 61%, and he shot an otherworldly 44% from deep. However, he’s small for a shooting guard and not a good enough distributor to be a point guard. He will have an uphill battle to make it anywhere near the NBA because of his size.
Non-Rookie, non-NBA Players
Cameron Moore, F: Every squad needs strength and toughness, and that’s what Moore brings to the Knicks’ summer league team. Despite his size, he’s almost exclusively a below the rim player, and that causes problems for him against other bigs. He has nice touch and strokes it well from mid-range, but that won’t put him in the league. He’s already played professionally overseas for two years, and I don’t see him ever playing stateside again.
Jordan Henriquez, C: Long and gangly centers at the college level have a hard time making it in the NBA. Henriquez is 7’0″ with a slender 250 pound frame. He got pushed around by college centers on both sides of the ball, and that continued in limited minutes with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the D-League last season. He possesses no single NBA-level skill, but his size could keep him playing somewhere for a while if he wants to.
Zane Johnson, G: Johnson can shoot the three ball, but that’s about it. He lacks the quickness, strength, and athleticism necessary to make it in the NBA. That’s probably why he’s been playing overseas since finishing his college career at the University of Hawaii.
Brandon Triche, G: At least for several games, Triche will get to play for the team he grew up watching in Syracuse, New York. He has great size for a point guard, but he’s also capable of sliding over and playing the two despite being a bit undersized for the position. He moves well off the ball well, and he’s a decent perimeter shooter with a quick release. However, he’s not good enough at either guard position to get extended minutes in the NBA. He will have a really long career overseas though. He already has had one great season for Aquila Basket Trento in Italy, where he led the team in points per game.