He fits their style. He has the assets. And, on the surface, he fits the need. But a closer look at Josh Selby possibly heading to the New York Knicks with the No. 17 overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft just doesn’t make sense when it comes down to it. And while Chad Ford has a decent guess for both slot and value, the Knicks will likely look elsewhere when the time comes.
Ford, in his most recent mock draft, has Selby slipping to the mid-teens before getting picked by the Knicks. He’s a solid fit in head coach Mike D’Antoni’s system and that’s also around the time that a disappointment in college like Selby might start to go on multiple draft boards around the league. Yet Ford also insists that the Knicks’ point guard need should be the primary argument here. He writes:
GM Donnie Walsh may have made the biggest mistake of his career when he passed on a number of terrific young but unproven point guards in 2009 so he could draft Jordan Hill. Brandon Jennings, Ty Lawson and Jrue Holiday — and even Darren Collison, Eric Maynor and Jeff Teague — all appear to be on their way to a long NBA career. Don’t expect the Knicks to make the same mistake again.
They’ve been looking long and hard at Selby for a while, thinking he’d thrive in Mike D’Antoni’s system, which allows guards much more freedom than they get at Kansas. Selby has lottery talent but a shaky résumé. It may be a risk taking him this high, but he has a very high upside.
A closer look at the Knicks roster, however, doesn’t reveal the hole that Ford insists is there. After the trade that brought Carmelo Anthony over, starting PG Chauncey Billups became the underrated aspect of the trade that provided the incredible value to the Knicks. Even after losing Ray Felton, the Knicks still had a strong point to run D’Antoni’s system — one who has incredible post-season success and experience instead.
Naysayers will point to Billups’ age (34) and recent surgery as signs that the Knicks need to think ahead, but Billups was run into the ground last year for the Denver Nuggets and a veteran player’s legs simply can’t take the 82-game regular season grind and maintain the strong play throughout. Instead of looking to replace BIllups, they should look for ways to maximize his impact and manage his minutes. There’s still enough there to have him as your starter for another season or two.
The same could be said of the back-up guards already in place. Toney Douglas had a fine rookie season and can definitely get his shot off while not embarrassing the team on defense either (we are talking about the Knicks here). At the same time, Anthony Carter might be 35-years-old, but he’s still a lockdown defender at the point.
Both Douglas and Billups had off-season surgery, so that might scare the Knicks enough to add another piece at the position. But Douglas is only 24 and just finding his own game at the NBA level and both players are still expected to be fully recovered and ready for the beginning of training camp.
The Knicks don’t need to feel pigeonholed into a point guard’s corner despite popular opinion. If Selby is the best player available, that’s another argument entirely, but if it’s about having to fill a perceived need, the Knicks shouldn’t feel any pressure whatsoever.