Saturday, July 28, 2012
Knicks G.M. Glen Grunwald Observes Workout From NBA Prospects in New York City
By committing to a "win now" mentality, the Knicks are putting their money where their mouth is, signing veteran leaders and role players to surround their stars.
In doing so, New York has had to spend more money this offseason, making the necessary sacrifices to lure in proven talents.
As the team still has at least one (two if the team chooses not to retain Chris Copeland) spot to fill on their fifteen man roster, Knicks General Manager Glen Grunwald may be, at this point, looking for a couple diamonds in the rough.
Grunwald was present at the Basketball City facility yesterday in New York City for the "RBA Sports Summer Showcase." His attendance came just a day after the Knicks' G.M. met with RBA Sports client Tony Taylor Jr. and gave him a tour of the team's training facilities in Westchester.
Taylor Jr. hit the hardwood yesterday ready to prove himself to an array of NBA team representatives. The Nets and Grizzlies were also amongst the teams present at the workout.
A George Washington University alum, Taylor Jr. demonstrated some of the great playmaking ability many around him rave about. It's easy to see the young point guard is a smart player with stellar instincts. He looks for his teammates and knows how to find them in the right spots.
Though Taylor Jr. was clearly the best floor general at the workout, what he wasn't quite able to show off was his strength. Having been compared to the likes of Chauncey Billups and Jeremy Lin, one would have expected the Sleepy Hollow native to penetrate to the basket a little more often.
While he did indeed have a strong showing, the workout wasn't all about Taylor Jr. Many other notable NBA prospects thrived despite the immense amount of pressure.
Among those to impress was Kayode Ayeni. Ayeni displayed a strong jump shot, making it rain from both corners during scrimmages. Despite having spent training camp last year with the Erie Bayhawks, a Knicks D-League affiliate, Ayeni's physical frame is perplexing. He's listed as a 6'6 forward who weighs 180 pounds. If he were able to bulk up just a bit, his consistent shooting could earn him an opportunity.
Rashad Bishop was another wing who had a strong showing during scrimmages as well. He too displayed a consistent jumper, connecting on a bevy of passes from Taylor Jr. Unlike Ayeni, Bishop is 220 pounds and therefore was able to hold his own on the defensive end as well. The forward played in Brazil last season.
Past NBA D-League participant Vernon Goodridge was among the better big men part of yesterday's workout. The 6'10 forward rebounded the ball well and displayed some high-flying athleticism as he dunked home quite a few put-back buckets. Having said that, Goodridge failed to really use his strength to his advantage. The big man could have essentially dominated the workout, had he used his frame to muscle his way around and get inside more often.
All the mentioned players did a decent job of giving the NBA representatives a taste of what they could do, but perhaps the most (pleasantly) surprising display came from 28 year old Brian Kortovich. A 6'0, 180 pound guard, Kortovich may not look like your typical NBA player at first glance. But the fact is the Manhattan College alum can shoot with the best of the them.
Kortovich was aggressive in his shot selection. He wasn't afraid to take a number of bold shots, but never seemed to fail at knocking them down either. One of the best shooters in the entire workout, Kortovich even began to outplay Taylor Jr. during the early goings of the scrimmages. The guard with a sweet shooting stroke played in Israel last season, but has been in training camp with the Knicks and Nets over the last three years as well.
There was certainly enough talent to observe and take note of during yesterday's "RBA Sports' Summer Showcase," so it's entirely possible Grunwald and the Knicks may end up giving a couple of these guys a shot during training camp. More to come as it develops.