NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 23: Chris Singleton from Florida State greets NBA Commissioner David Stern after he was selected #18 overall by the Washington Wizards in the fduring the 2011 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center on June 23, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Note: Every time we talk about next season, pretty much for the last year, we've been obligated to tack on a parenthesis: (if there is one). At this point, it's feeling fairly obnoxious, and with the NFL resolution apparently proceeding apace, it's extremely likely David Stern doesn't want to be the only major sports league without a chair when the music stops. The confluence of lockouts has been a media shield of sorts, and speculation about what a lockout would do to spoil a golden postseason has been rife. Personally, I'm fairly optimistic about a speedy resolution, and don't think a lockout would last more than a month, maybe two.
Anyway, there were plenty of question marks in Thursday night's draft, but my favorite was the Knicks' selection of Iman Shumpert. We can talk all we want about how New York's backcourt rotatation needed to be bolstered or how Shumpert's shot looked far stronger than expected at draft workouts to go with his 40" vertical. The truth of the matter is that the Knicks were in a difficult situation.
But when your superstars need rest (Amar'e Stoudemire played over 500 minutes during one two-week span, I believe), having a talent like Chris Singleton balance some of the offensive loss with defensive intensity that comes with a better catch-and-shoot game then you expected is imperative, isn't it? Mike D'Antoni might be able to figure out a use for Singleton in the half court, even if it's Phil Jackson's solution for Ron Artest (go stand in the corner)! You have to take Singleton there, right? And when the guy can take on the burden of defending any first option at the 2-3-4 positions (leaving that much more focus on the offensive end for YOUR elite scorers, you have to take that, right?
Of course, it's impossible to talk about the Knicks' pick without talking about Derrick Favors. Those who didn't follow college basketball particularly closely looked at Favors' college stats, and were vastly underwhelmed. A look closer revealed the Georgia Tech's guard rotation was so poor, Gani Lawal (the team's elder statesman big man) was needed in the low post while Favors was relegated to the high post (he preferred the low post ... and another reason why the Favors/Kanter rotation could be so intimidating) to space the floor. Their guard rotation was so poor, teams simply collapsed on Favors and dared the backcourt to shoot.
Why is this significant? Because one of those guys was Shumpert! But for all that, maybe he's grown to the point where he's worth that pick. But with the crowd chanting "Singleton!" I wouldn't tell THEM that. Did they make the right pick? What's your take?
Hopefully by now, everyone has checked out Sebastian Pruiti's take on Jan Vesely. This article turned me around, and should give you more of an idea of where he fits in the halfcourt. Normally I'd have more for you, but there's really not much I can say that Pruiti doesn't. Check it out if you haven't already.