Devin Vassell works out with Knicks, sets the record straight on viral video

New York Knicks, Devin Vassell

There was a lot of fuss when a Devin Vassell video of shooting in an awkward form made the social media rounds last month.

The mere fact that Vassell had to address it during his in-person workouts, which included the New York Knicks, only shows the power that social media wields these days. But with that power, it should come with great responsibility.

Setting the record straight

Fortunately for Vassell, the ‘shooting-gate scandal’ happened before he went to in-person workouts with the Knicks (No. 8), Golden State Warriors (No. 2), Atlanta Hawks (No. 6), Boston Celtics (No. 14), and the Orlando Magic (No. 15).

“Of course, I’ve seen the video too. I felt I don’t have any reason to change my jump shot. I haven’t changed my shot,” Vassell defended himself during his media zoom call on Thursday.

He said the viral video was shot towards the end of one of his workouts, where they were having fun.

“I guess we’re shooting it a lot deeper, from the regular NBA three-point line and I just think it’s from the angle where he took it, it made it looked like uncomfortable. I kind of had it farther from normally what I do but I’ve never attempted to change my jump shot and won’t change it because I had a lot of success with the jump shot that I have right now,” Vassell said.

“The video came out and literally next week, I had my workouts. Once they saw it in person, everything was fine. It’s something we can laugh about it now.”

More than a 3-and-D player

Vassell is one of the more fascinating prospects of this draft that is widely considered unpredictable but filled with hidden gems.

He profiles as a 3-and-D player, but he says he has a lot more to offer.

Vassell made 70 three-pointers throughout his two-year stay at Florida State on a 41.8 percent clip. The 70 isn’t that much of a sample, but context matters. He was only a fringe rotational player as a rookie in a stacked team to put it in its proper perspective. Even during his sophomore year, where he was the star of the Seminoles team, which won the regular ACC championship, he needed to fit his game within coach Leonard Hamilton’s equal opportunity system.

There’s a lot more room for Vassell to grow.

Hamilton gave his star player a ringing endorsement, raving about his transformation during those two years that said a lot about Vassell’s character, patience, and coachability.

“Sometimes, people evaluate all the physical attributes but I think it’s very difficult to evaluate, which is the most important thing, is that your mentality, your emotions in the game, your IQ, your ability to make decisions, and how you respond to stressful situations. Well, that’s what they call it the “It” factor, and Devin, he checks all those boxes. And the good thing about him is his best basketball is still ahead of him,” Hamilton told Empire Sports Media a couple of months ago.

Knicks workout

The intangibles are hard to quantify on videos. But the tangible aspects of Vassell’s game — outside shooting and his defensive skillset — have drawn NBA teams to him, particularly the Knicks who went all the way to his hometown in Atlanta, Georgia to watch his controversial shot in person.

“I worked out at this church and we put an NBA three-point line. It’s a great gym and we kinda simulate everything. Coach [Tom] Thibodeau was definitely at the workout. He’s a great coach,” Vassell said.

Perhaps Thibodeau was looking at someone who fits the mold of the player he covets for the Knicks — a mobile wingman with defensive tenacity and shooting to boot.

“We talked about defense. We talked about kinda what their team is looking forward and I feel I can help that team and kinda fill that void,” Vassell said.

He’s confident that he’s shown enough to merit the Knicks’ eighth pick.

“Everything went extremely well with the Knicks,” Vassell said. “It’s going to be a blessing if I can be able to be a part of that team.”

But whether the feeling is mutual or not, we’ll have to find out next Wednesday.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Knicks Draft Watch: Warriors eye Devin Vassell in potential trade down

New York Knicks, Devin Vassell

It’s no secret that the Golden State Warriors are studying all options, including trading, with regards to their No. 2 pick. The question is will the New York Knicks field an offer to trade up?

San Francisco Chronicle recently reported that Florida State University’s Devin Vassell is on the Warriors’ radar should they trade down.

According to multiple league sources, the Warriors believe Vassell is the top wing defender in this draft and would strongly consider him if they trade back to the 5-10 range. There is an outside chance that Golden State could even take him at No. 2 if it doesn’t receive an enticing offer to move down.

Considered as one of the top two wings in this Draft Class along with Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, Vassell is all over the Draft Boards. He is projected to be selected anywhere from No. 6-12 range.

Vassell could add bench depth for the Warriors who are expected to have the Splash Brothers— Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson— back at full health next season. Vassell has drawn Thompson’s comparisons.

“People like to identify a player in college with a player in the pros. And I always said I thought he was more like Klay Thompson,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said in an interview with SB Nation’s Golden State of Mind.

Hamilton cited Thompson’s 41.2 percent three-point clip as a freshman in Washington State while his prized wingman, Vassell, shot 42 percent from deep in his two seasons with the Seminoles.

“And he has a lot of those qualities where he knows the ball is supposed to go going to the basket. He’s extremely confident, he always anxious to take big shots. One of the aspects of his game, I probably didn’t utilize as much as his ability to create his own shot. When we needed him to create his own shot, he was able to go and make fall away fades and step-back jumpers and things that are going to allow him to be even more effective at the next level. He is a shotmaker, there’s no doubt about that,” Hamilton added.

The Knicks currently have the No. 8 pick and are also strongly considering Vassell and Okoro along with Iowa’s combo guard Tyrese Haliburton should they still be available. But it’s also no secret that the Knicks, who are looking for a lead guard, has LaMelo Ball on top of their Draft Board.

Ball has revealed during his Draft Combine media availability that he had conversations with the Knicks before the Lottery.  It was the only team he confirmed he had interviewed. When he was asked if he feels the Knicks would trade up for him, he had an inconclusive answer.

“That I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not,” Ball said.

The following day, Ball curiously withdrew from the Draft Combine nixing other NBA teams’ chance to interview him. He still could or may have selected which teams to talk to outside the Knicks.

The Knicks have the Draft capital and young assets at their disposal to maneuver a trade. But they lack the veteran piece that the Warriors would likely covet.

However, there’s a unanimous belief according to ESPN insider Tim Bontemps last month that the Warriors will try to accumulate trade pieces to position themselves for a potential run at Washington’s Bradley Beal in case he becomes available during next season’s trade deadline.

If that’s the Warriors’ long play, then the Knicks could be in the mix to snag their No. 2 pick in this Draft.