New York Knicks: Bruce Pearl sings Jared Harper’s praises

Bruce Pearl

The New York Knicks recently acquired point guard Jared Harper off waivers from the Phoenix Suns, subsequently releasing guard Kadeem Allen. In an interview with Marc Berman of the New York Post, Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said that Harper, a three-year player at Auburn, was courted by the Knicks in the 2019 NBA Draft process and that he would’ve been a first-round pick if he returned for his senior season.

“I talked to a number of Knicks scouts when Jared was here at Auburn,” Pearl said. “They had a lot of interest in him when we were making the run to The Final Four. They were one of the teams he thought he’d play for in the summer league.”

“If Jared was a senior he would’ve absolutely, without question, been drafted in the first round this year. They’re getting a first-round talent.”

Harper played for the Suns’ G-League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns, this season. He averaged 20.2 points, 5.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game across 34 contests.

Pearl thinks Harper will welcome the opportunity to play for the Knicks and that he doesn’t need to spend another season in the G-League.

“I think he actually will decide to sign with the Knicks because he sees the opportunity,” Pearl said. “Even if they get (LaMelo) Ball in the draft, he would complement them really well. Those guys can score as well as run a team.

“I don’t think he needs another G League season. If you want fast, if you want someone who can pull up (for a jumper) as soon as he crosses the eight-second line and you’re willing to let him score? He’s really hard to guard and he can play-make.”

Pearl thinks Harper, 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, is effective within his frame.

“When you’re the smallest guy on the floor, you have to have an edge,” Pearl said. “He’s got an edge Isiah (Thomas) had and Muggsy Bogues had. He’s got a toughness to him defensively.

“You can try to go down there and post him up. The challenge is his size. He’s got really long arms and he’s really tough. He’s hard to take advantage of. He knows how to use his quick feet. He’ll make plays defensively.”

Harper averaged 13.5 points, 4.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game across his three seasons at Auburn. The Knicks point guard rotation currently includes Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr. and Elfrid Payton, who has a $8 million team option for the 2020-21 NBA season.

It’s time for the New York Knicks to only play the young guys

New York Knicks, Frank Ntilikina

The 2019-20 New York Knicks season has quickly gone down the drain.  It began with a lot of optimism of making the final few playoff spots.  Now sitting 7 games out of the the 8th seed, it appears the season has gotten out of hand, again.

While all the rumors of trading Marcus Morris, Dennis Smith Jr. and Bobby Portis are circulating, it’s nice to hear Morris wanting to be with the Knicks long-term.  He’s 30-years old and isn’t in the long-term plans for the organization.

However, the Knicks need a change and going all young is the way to go.  Not playing some of the younger players is putting a bad taste in the fans mouths.

Kevin Knox is a prime example.  Knox has severely underachieved this season.  All his stats are down from his rookie campaign along with his confidence.  Knox put the work in this off-season to improve and it was seen to begin the year and it had dwindled away with all other aspects of his game.  For him to be apart of the future plans, he needs a significant increase in minutes.

The future players consist of RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle.  For the most past, Randle will be in the Knicks plans for the next two-years.

Others that should be in the future plans are Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Allonzo Trier and Elfrid Payton.  Even players down in the G-League like Kenny Wooten Jr., Lamar Peters and Ignas Brazdeikis, who has been on the roster, need a chance to showcase their skills.  There could be a hidden gem with one of those 3 players to contribute to the Knicks young future.

It’s time for the New York Knicks to go all-in on playing, developing and growing their youthful future.

New York Knicks player preview: Kadeem Allen

New York Knicks, Kadeem Allen

It is August, which means that NBA basketball is right around the corner. Here at Empire Sports Media, we are going to preview every player on the New York Knicks training camp roster. First up is Kadeem Allen.

Kadeem Allen/Guard-#0

NBA History: 

Year Team GP Min Pts FG% 3pt% Reb Ast Stl Blk
2018 Knicks 19 21.9 9.9 46.1 47.2 2.7 4.0 0.8 0.2
2017 Celtics 18 5.9 1.1 27.3 0.0 0.6 0.7 0.2 0.1
Career 37 14.1 5.6 43.6 36.2 1.7 2.4 0.5 0.2

 

2018-2019 Statistics: 

 

Team GP Min Pts FG% 3pt% Reb
Knicks 19 21.9 9.9 46.1 47.2 2.7

2019-2020 Contract: Kadeem Allen signed a Two-Way Deal with the Knicks.

Interesting Fact: Allen is the second alumnus of Emsley A. Laney High School (Wilmington, North Carolina) to make the NBA. The other was Michael Jordan.

2019-2020 Potential Role: Kadeem showed promise in his first year as a Knick. If injuries or trades impact the depth of the Knicks, don’t be surprised to see Kadeem Allen play. The Knicks may look to sign Kadeem Allen to a standard contract, if a roster spot opens up.

All statistics are provided by HoopsHype.com

 

New York Knicks: Who will emerge as the starting point guard?

New York Knicks, Dennis Smith Jr.

The New York Knicks have an exciting off-season ahead of them. Finding out who will be the starting point guard will take several months and the preseason. However, there’s a clear front runner in Dennis Smith Jr., who has been working tirelessly on his perimeter shot to help produce more for an inefficient offense.

The lack of a Jumper forced struggles upon him in 2018, yet he hit on. 413% of the shots from the field and averaged 14.7 points per game in 2018. His assist totals were solid as well, recording 5.4 per game, but his three-ball was very porous connecting on .322% from beyond the ark.

Smith Jr. will be competing against Frank Ntilikina and Elfrid Payton for starting time. It is expected, however, that Dennis will be the starting option only due to the ineffectiveness of the French-born player and the former New Orleans Pelican.

The Knicks are putting a lot of faith into Dennis Smith Jr. in 2019–20. After losing out on Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker in free agency they were unable to sign a superstar to fill the position and increase the production on the offense. They do believe, though, that Smith can be the future due to his elite athleticism which gives him an advantage over the two remaining options on the roster.

Additionally, his improved perimeter shot should give him the actual legs to improve his game and show his potential going into his third season as a professional basketball player.

At this point in time, Frank is likely not going to be the starting option — he was a potential trade piece prior to the deadline for the Knicks, but interested teams wanted a first-round pick for his talents. He will likely come off the bench and provide support on the defensive side of the ball considering his offensive struggles.

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Another low-key option is Kadeem Allen, who is going into his third season, second with the New York Knicks. He played in 19 games in 2018 averaging 21.9 minutes per game. He is also a more defensive player, only averaging 9.9 points per game, which is still higher than Frank’s. His field goal percentage, however, was .461% from the field. He has the potential to earn some starting minutes, but I anticipate him coming off the bench if he manages to make the roster at all.

The New York Knicks could have one of the deeper benches in the NBA

New York Knicks, Ignas Brazdeikis

The New York Knicks added a lot of depth this off-season. While fans may not agree with many of the additions, their bench runs deep.

One of the newest Knicks, Bobby Portis, believes the Knicks bench can be one of the best in the league.

Portis was quoted saying, “I think we’ll be a top bench after the Clippers…with our bench we have really good weapons in me, Marcus (Morris), Taj (Gibson), Alonzo Trier, Wayne Ellington. The list goes on.”

Portis is bringing a very positive attitude and energy to this squad. He was already on record saying he loves being the underdog and the Knicks are big-time underdogs this season. On paper, the Knicks do have a solid bench. But, one of the best in the league is a little stretch.

What will the New York Knicks bench look like?

The bench will most likely consist of Morris or Kevin Knox, Gibson, Portis, Elfrid Payton, Trier, Frank Ntilikina, Ellington, Kadeem Allen, Damyean Dotson, and Ignas Brazdeikis.

They cover almost every position with young quality backups. With all players showing potential to start, playing time will be an issue. Coach Fizdale will have his hand’s full distributing playing time.

To start the season, he could swap Knox and Morris, starting Morris, to add some rebounding and defense over an unproven second-year lottery pick.

The bench will need to let their play do the talking. All of this optimistic hype Portis is bringing to the Knicks is great, but let’s see how that translates to the court. Everyone is counting the Knicks out already, so proving they do, in fact, have one of the deeper benches in the league, should be their goal.

New York Knicks: Can Kadeem Allen win roster spot over Elfrid Payton?

New York Knicks, Kadeem Allen

The general consensus at the point guard position for the New York Knicks is that Dennis Smith Jr. will emerge as the starting player. The third-year option has worked all offseason on his shooting form with coach Keith Smart, ensuring he enters the 2019-20 season with an improved perimeter shot.

However, beyond Smith Jr., the Knicks have Elfrid Payton, Frank Ntilikina, and Kadeem Allen all vying for roster spots. Allen, one of the least talked about point guards, could steal the role right out from under Payton and Ntilikina.

“Just trying to show coach that I can compete at the highest level and I can play at the highest level,” Allen said of his goals entering the season. “Just trying to get out there and earn a permanent roster spot.”

How has Kadeem Allen looked for the New York Knicks?

During the Summer League, Allen averaged 8 points, four assists, and 1.6 steals per game. The Knicks finished 2-3 during the period, but he showed enough to be considered as a potential backup option. Last year, he averaged 9.9 points, 4.0 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 21 games.

Allen’s priority isn’t offense, though, as his defense is one of his premier qualities, something the Knicks will likely need in 2019. The only issue is Ntilikina, who is also strong in that category but isn’t as offensively proficient.

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“That’s what I was drafted for – defense. Defense is my calling. I never question myself and I feel like I never really get questioned on that side of the floor. I’m just going to keep doing what I do. Play defense and just try to get my teammates better.”

Kadeem is keen on fighting his way to the top, starting at a JUCO team and sitting as a redshirt player at Arizona. Considering he’s found his way onto an NBA roster after such hardships, there’s no question he has the grit to reach the starting unit. He will have to overcome the uber-athletic Dennis Smith Jr., though, a tall task at this point in his career.

New York Knicks: Is Kevin Knox ready to become a full-time starter?

New York Knicks, Kevin Knox, RJ Barrett

Similar to his rookie campaign, New York Knicks power forward Kevin Knox had a solid Summer League, but this time around he seems different.

Coming into the league a more seasoned player, it’s obvious Knox has been developing his aggressiveness towards the rim and really attacking players in the paint. While we saw this last year, he didn’t seem to have the strength or gusto to weave his way through defenders.

https://twitter.com/Scott_Charlton/status/1149155552070656000

So far during the Summer League, he’s been putting all of his moves on display. Against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, Knox put up 25 points shooting 58.3 percent from the field (NBA.com). He also made two-of-five three-point attempts (40%).

While he did turn the ball over three times, something he will need to work on, his numbers have certainly been elevated which is a good sign. Last season, he averaged 12.8 points per game over 28.8 minutes played. In addition, his assist rate seems to be up as well, indicating his scanning of the floor and playing to facilitate and not objectify.

New York Knicks: Kevin Knox isn’t the only youngster coming into his own

Knox has looked stellar so far, and his rookie teammate RJ Barrett is finally coming around too, claiming his second-consecutive double-double and first triple-double in a 117-96 win for the Lakers.

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Barrett, who scored 21 points, shooting 35.3 percent from the field, also earned 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He had a very nice game utilizing his athleticism and dominating from the inside. His three-point game continues to struggle as he adapts to the length of the court, but he’s working his way into a role that will be consistent come the start of the regular season.

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Both Knox and Barrett will likely be starting options alongside Mitchell Robinson, Julius Randle, and Dennis Smith Jr. They have impressive rotational depth with Bobby Portis (could also start over Knox), Allonzo Trier, Ignas Brazdeikis, Damyean Dotson (can also start), Kadeem Allen, Frank Ntilikina, Wayne Ellington, Reggie Bullock, Taj Gibson, and Noah Vonleh. These are the primary players with several others sprinkled into the mix.

It will be interesting to see how the starting roster plays out, and having too much talent to choose from is certainly not a bad thing. Unfortunately, none of the options here are considered superstar caliber.

The New York Knicks starting point guard is…

The New York Knicks have many decisions to make this off-season. One thing that Coach Fizdale needs to look at is the shooting guard position.

The Knicks need a scorer. After trading away Tim Hardaway Jr., the Knicks did not have a consistent shooting guard.

Many players have played that position.  Daymean Dotson, Allonzo Trier and Kadeem Allen are labeled as shooting guards on the roster.

With that being said, who should start the season in that position?

Coach Fizdale appears to have fallen in love with Kadeem Allen.  Allen played well for the Knicks after being called up from Westchester.  He can score, is aggressive and also provide defensive support.

Dotson can score as well and provides even better defensive coverage than Allen.  Trier is probably the best pure scorer of the three, but his defense is not as good as the other two.

However, with the Knicks lacking scorers with their current lineup, Trier might be to be the guy to start the season in the shooting guard role.

Frank Ntilikina could also be consider, however, he needs to take a giant leap on the offensive side.

The Knicks will most likely be juggling with this position again all season until they find the correct player.  Any of the four Knicks mentioned can be the consistent shooting guard.  It all depends on who wants to be the best two-way shooting guard.