Saturday, June 30, 2012
Knicks Draft Kostas Papanikolaou. What's the General Reaction?
After surprisingly snagging skilled players with potential during the second round of recent NBA drafts, there was optimism surrounding what the Knicks could end up doing with the 48th overall pick of Thursday night's draft.
Both Landry Fields and Josh Harrellson made good first impressions and immediate impacts upon being drafted, so it wouldn't be too much to ask for this year's selection to make a decent contribution right off the bat, correct?
Wrong. Despite the fact that hometown kid Scott Machado (of Iona College) and the previously highly touted Darius Johnson-Odom (of Marquette) were both still available, the Knicks instead opted to draft Greek prospect Kostas Papanikolaou in the second round.
Papanikolaou's selection was met with an overwhelming amount of boos (then again, most of New York's picks are anyway) as the large group of Knicks fans roared with disappointment in Newark.
The Greek prospect will likely continue to play overseas for at least two more years, according to The New York Times. What's more, Papanikolau also won't be joining the Knicks' group of young studs at Las Vegas Summer League, as he will instead be playing in the Olympics.
Strapped for cap space as they look to fill out their roster while still staying under the hard cap, many might have expected the Knicks to draft a player who could've at least made the trip to training camp this coming fall. Surely, potentially signing a second-round draft pick wouldn't have been too much of a burden.
But New York is instead trying to maintain ALL possible (hard) cap space in an attempt to retain their existing free agents. Though a second-round selection would have been rather cheap, apparently the team doesn't want to take any chances. As many have already alluded to, the Knicks opted to "draft and stash."
The 6'8 Papanikolaou is described by "Draft Express" as having a best case scenario of turning out similarly to Omri Casspi. They also go on to say the forward is a sporadic catch and shoot player who although rarely dribbles the ball, can spread the floor effectively, ala Casspi or even the Knicks' own Steve Novak. As it just so happens, a player with that ability is exactly who I was looking for the team to draft. It's just unfortunate they picked someone who won't be able to step in and make a contribution right away.
By picking the forward with some long-range prowess, the Knicks also did the exact opposite of what Walt "Clyde" Frazier told Knicks Journal he would have done in the draft. The Knicks legend and broadcaster instead suggested the team fill a need by selecting a backup big man or point guard.
Despite not adding an immediate contributor via the NBA Draft, the Knicks will still have an opportunity to assess some other worthy young talent next month in Las Vegas. Though Machado, a Queens native, went undrafted after not being selected by the Knicks, early reports of how the team's Summer League roster is shaping up are yet to include him.