Sunday, August 19, 2012
Are the Knicks Closing In On Promising Point Guard Prospect?
Coming off an underwhelming season that came to a close in the form of a first round playoff exit, the Knicks have revamped their roster with an array of veteran role players in hopes of competing for a championship next season.
Nevertheless, with a roster spot or two still open, New York has opted to sign a couple of potential uncovered gems (Chris Copeland and J.R. Smith's younger brother Chris) to non-guaranteed contracts.
With the various veteran players already on the roster surely to receive the bulk of minutes, taking a chance on a prospect or two could really benefit the Knicks long term. The team could take its time developing each respective player in the D-League, with little pressure on them to make an impact on the NBA team so soon.
Though Copeland has more serious hopes of actually making the Knicks (following a strong showing in Vegas), New York could also look to formally sign a player simply in order to assign his rights to their D-League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks. This was reportedly the case with Smith, and now the team apparently sees a similar opportunity with yet another promising young guard.
Last month, KnicksJournal.com reported exclusively that Knicks General Manager Glen Grunwald (along with other NBA executives) observed the "RBA Sports Summer Showcase" at Basketball City in New York City. GWU product and Sleepy Hollow native Tony Taylor Jr. seems to have made quite the impression.
Knicks scouts brought Taylor Jr. in for another workout just this past week, and reportedly loved what they saw yet again. Addressing his client's prospects for the upcoming season, BJ Bass of RBA Sports said, "There are a few NBA teams that have Tony on their short list for veteran's camp, including the Knicks, Magic, Celtics, Heat, Pacers, and Lakers. There are also about half a dozen D-League teams that want him as their starting point guard."
It would make sense that the Bayhawks are among those squads. According to Bass, if and when an NBA team brings certain young players into training camp, they then have an opportunity to shield a select few from entering the D-League Player Pool, thus saving the player(s) for its own D-League affiliate.
The agent continued, "What's happening now is that the D-League coaches are pushing their NBA affiliates to offer Tony a spot in veteran's camp, so they can protect him from being drafted by another D-League team."
Though Taylor Jr. garnered early comparisons to the likes of Chauncey Billups and other strong point guards. NBA executives are beginning to compare him, even more favorably, as he continues to impress. A certain Hall of Fame playmaker comes to mind.
"The more I've watched Tony develop since GWU, the more he reminds me of Isiah Thomas. I'm not afraid to say it," Bass added. "Close your eyes and picture him in a pair of Pistons' blue shorts during his highlight reel and tell me I'm crazy."
Though the Knicks added three new point guards this offseason, with Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd both coming off unfavorable seasons, and Argentinian floor general Pablo Prigioni already 35 years old, the team could be making a smart move considering Taylor Jr. as the guy to be waiting in the wings for an opportunity.