Thursday, June 28, 2012
NBA Draft: Could the Knicks End Up Snagging William Buford?
The NBA Draft begins at 7PM EST tonight, but because they only hold the 48th pick, Knicks fans will likely be waiting quite a while to see who their team selects.
Nevertheless, whomever the Knicks select will be expected to make an impact next season. By selecting players like Landry Fields and Josh Harrellson during the second round of recent past drafts, New York has not only set the bar high for its incoming prospect, but could benefit from an immediate contribution too.
The most pressing need for the Knicks at the moment seems to be at the shooting guard position. Though Marc Berman of The New York Post reports the team is gunning for a player like Darius Johnson-Odom or Kevin Murphy, my friend Jim Cavan suggests the Knicks potentially draft Ohio State guard William Buford instead in his latest piece at The New York Times' "Off the Dribble."
I happen to agree with him whole-heartedly. Buford is an impressive shooter, who as Cavan notes, would help the Knicks spread the floor effectively. Steve Novak and Shawne Williams have done a great job of this over the past two seasons for New York, but the team could use more players with similar skills. Carmelo Anthony and Jeremy Lin (the team's two primary ball-handlers) thrive by penetrating to the basket, so it's crucial to have players with sure-fire shots to place around the perimeter. If Anthony and/or Lin get double-teammed going to the hole, they need to have confidence the teammates they kick the ball out to can knock down shots.
Cavan also points out that Buford's steady enough defense could come in handy as the Knicks wait for Iman Shumpert to return from his knee injury. What's more, Buford seems like the kind of player that can handle the big moments a place like the Big Apple can deliver. The guard helped Ohio State reach the Sweet Sixteen in this year's NCAA tournament, and as the pressure continues to mount for the Knicks to make noise in the playoffs, Buford could certainly do his part as rotation player---even in the spotlight.
The fact of the matter is New York would benefit from filling out their roster a bit with some pure shooters. Because re-signing players like Lin and Novak will be a priority for them (and they will need to do this while staying under the hard cap), adding a talented enough shooting guard via free agency for the right price may prove to be difficult. The draft may be the Knicks' best chance at reeling in the talent they are in need of. Buford fills the need and seems like an available enough option in tonight's draft.
**For more NBA Draft buzz, listen in to the "Bottom Line Sports Show," (co-produced by former Knicks Charles Oakley & Penny Hardaway), where I'll be appearing to share my thoughts on the Knicks' potential targets and more. It starts at 9PM EST and you can listen by clicking on this link. **