About Taylor Armosino

Taylor Armosino is a Business major at the University of Arizona. He loves the Knicks, Raiders and A's, but mostly the Knicks. He also writes at KnicksNow.com, Saving the Skyhook, and Charged.fm. Email him taylorarmosino@yahoo.com. Follow him @tarmosino

Posts by Taylor Armosino:

Knicks Options for Thursday’s Draft

     In Thursday’s NBA draft the New York Knicks hold the 17th selection and are looking to purchase at least one more selection late in the first or in the second round. To the Knicks, this draft is just as important as acquiring Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony were. This is a draft that is going to determine whether we remain a 50 win playoff team or a 60 win championship contender. With 2 superstars and a potential 3rd on the way, the Knicks regular season success is almost a given but it’s what happens in the playoffs that really counts. This draft will provide either a springboard into greatness or a burden that keeps us in mediocrity in the vastly improving eastern conference.
     First and foremost, I believe the Knicks badly want BYU point guard Jimmer Fredette and they are desperately trying to trade up to grab him. I have heard rumors that they want to trade up above Utah at 12 to select Fredette. Toney Douglas and the 17th pick are primary what has been rumored to being offered by New York for this selection. While Fredette has the potential to be a great player in this league, I do not believe he is going to live up to his potential nor do I believe he is a good fit for the New York Knicks. The last thing we need is a ball dominant point guard to go along with our ball dominant small forward who already struggles to find chemistry  with our ball dominant power forward. In addition all 3 players are notoriously poor defensive players under a head coach, who I do like, that has notoriously been reluctant to emphasize defense in his up tempo coaching style. It just is not a great fit with the Knicks right now and I believe Douglas is a better player already and will be moving forward. He plays great defense, something we badly need, and has shown the ability to be an absolutely lethal 3 point shooter. I believe there is a lot of value in the mid first- second round portion of this draft and the Knicks can get a lot out of staying put at 17, keeping Douglas and passing on Jimmer.
     If the Knicks stay put at 17 they should have plenty of solid options. It’s been rumored that projected lottery picks Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo may slip all the way to 17. Walker is a versatile guard who can play point or shooting guard, he’s a great scorer, good defensive player, he’s clutch and he’s from the Bronx. He’d be a wonderful fit with the Knicks. Same for Bismack Biyombo, a 6’9 power forward/ center who is probably the best athlete in this class. His offensive game needs work but his athleticism, shot blocking, rebounding and post defense really would be a perfect fit next to Amare Stoudemire and would improve our defense greatly. Also the Knicks love Washington State shooting guard Klay Thompson, a knock down shooter, but there is little doubt that he will be gone by 17. In the likely scenario that all 4 players (including Jimmer) are gone by 17, there are still good players for the Knicks to take. I believe the Knicks will be looking at Morehead St Forward Kenneth Faried, USC center Nikola Vucevic, Georgia Tech guard Iman Shumpert, Providence guard Marshon Brooks and Kansas guard Josh Selby. I think the main 3 guys that the Knicks will be looking at from that group are Shumpert, Faried and Selby in that order. New York has made it no secret that they love Shumpert and there’s a lot to love about him. He’s a 6’6 point guard with a 6’10 wingspan, he’s a lockdown defender and he’s very athletic. He’s been so impressive that the Phoenix Suns are widely rumored to have tagged Shumpert as their guy with the 13th pick. If Shumpert is gone, I believe the Knicks will look long and hard at Morehead State forward Kenneth Faried. I believe he’s going to be the next Dennis Rodman only that Faried is a better offensive player and doesn’t have 7,000 tattoos, bleached hair or multiple nose rings. Faried is a high character, high energy, rebounding power forward who also averaged 17 points a game to go along with his 14 rebounds a game during his senior season. The only knock on him is that he’s 6’6 but he does have a 7 foot wingspan and is incredibly athletic. I have heard multiple people say “if he was 6’10 he’d be the first pick in the draft”. I think next to Melo and Stat, Faried would thrive on the offensive glass. I think he’d be a wonderful addition coming off the bench and getting 8 rebounds and 2-3 baskets a game. The player I really do not want to see taken here is Kansas guard Josh Selby. He’s been questioned as a pure point guard, maybe having skills more suited to an undersized shooting guard (kind of like Toney Douglas). He’s a huge character risk. He had problems in high school and at Kansas. Last season he was benched for most of the second half of the season. Selby thought he should have been the star of the team even though he didn’t play anywhere near that level. He’s also a CAA guy, the agency that seems to be running the Knicks right now, which is why I think he’s a dark horse to be the pick at 17 although I’m praying that I am wrong. I believe if the Knicks pass on Selby at 17, they will try to purchase his rights later in the draft.
     The Knicks do not currently own another pick in the draft after 17 but it’s widely believed that they will purchase at least one more pick before the draft ends. In the NBA, a team can pay up to 3 million dollars on a transaction. I believe the Knicks will give up at least 6 million dollars in draft picks. Some potential teams who might sell to the Knicks would be the Bulls, who own picks 28 and 30, Lakers, who own 41, 56 and 58, and the Kings who own 35 and 60. While it is not as clear who the Knicks will target with their acquired picks, there are a couple players I think the Knicks may target. I mentioned Josh Selby who is probably a late 1 – early 2 in terms of value, also Jeremy Tyler from Japan, Boston College’s Reggie Jackson and UCLA’s Malcolm Lee. Tyler is an intriguing forward prospect as he is 6’11, athletic and potential packed but has character issues after skipping his senior year of high school and struggling mightily in Japan. Reggie Jackson is a true point guard with a 7 foot wingspan who plays great defense. Malcolm Lee is a hybrid guard who is long and athletic and excels defensively.
     If I was drafting for the Knicks at 17, pending the fall of Biyombo or Walker, I would select Iman Shumpert. I think his size and defensive ability on the perimeter would give us a great weapon off the bench. With our undersized front court, I think we need to stockpile size in the back court. Landy Fields, 6’7, already fills one of those roles, I think the 6’6 Shumpert would be another great addition. If Shumpert is gone, I would draft Faried or consider a possible trade down with a team like Chicago or maybe even to accumulate picks next year, as we have 0 next year, in what will be considered a stronger draft class.
     Thursday night is very important for the Knicks, with a great draft they can be championship contenders, with a poor draft they could be average. I think this is just as important as getting our stars was as we have numerous holes to fill. I look for Shumpert or Faried to be the pick and I think the Knicks will get 2 others. Regardless of what happens, it will be interesting to see what happens.

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Knicks Interested in Jonny Flynn

     Frank Isola of the Daily News reports that the Knicks have begun preliminary talks with Minnesota for point guard Jonny Flynn. Toney Douglas and cash are what I’m hearing that the Knicks will include in the deal. As much potential as Flynn has, being the 6th overall pick of the 2009 draft, I don’t like this trade for New York. Flynn has been anything but dependable during his time with Minnesota. He’s been inconsistent and injured as he is currently coming off of hip surgery. Douglas is coming off of major shoulder surgery which may be a reason New York is trying to deal him but I believe he’s much better than Flynn at this point of his career. Douglas is a notoriously good defensive player and hard worker as well as a knock down 3 point shooter. He had points of this season where he was unstoppable Flynn hasn’t had much of an impact at all. While he’s a prototypical backup point in terms of size and skill, he’s yet to put it all together. Interestingly Flynn’s agent is Leon Rose, the same agent who represents Hornets point guard Chris Paul. It’s been speculated that this trade might be a favor for Rose to get Flynn out of Minnesota and that would increase the Knicks chances of landing Paul. Either way, the NBA wasteland is filled with guys who never fit their potential and Flynn has a chance to be one of those guys. There’s no doubt he’s got skill and could immensely help the Knicks if his potential pans out but that’s a big risk that I am not sure the Knicks should take right now.

Image via Syracuse.com

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Amar’e Selected as 2011 “Father of the Year”

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     Today Amar’e Stoudemire was one of five men who accepted their 2011 “Father of the Year” award from the National Father’s Day Council. The other four men awarded were Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim, CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone Geoffrey Canada, President of Lord and Taylor’s Brendan Hoffman and AT&T chairman Randall Stephenson. All five men accepted their awards today at the Sheridan Hotel on 811 Seventh Avenue at 52nd street. Congrats to Amar’e who has thrived both on and off the court in New York City. He continues to prove his worth as a contributing member of society as a great and articulate man as well as a leader and role model for youth everywhere.

Image via AmareStoudemire.com
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Lawrence Frank May Still Be In Running For Knicks Assistant Coach Job

     Today Marc Stein of ESPN reported that Mavs assistant Dwane Casey is now the favorite for the Toronto Raptors head coaching job. How is this relevant to the Knicks? The former favorite for the Toronto job, Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank, has been rumored with the Knicks. Frank has been a great defensive coach in this league and spent some time around the Knicks last offseason before being hired in Boston. He would be a perfect fit for a team transitioning away from their fast paced game. Nobody draws up a better half court defense than Lawrence Frank. Frank has spoken with Detroit who also has a head coaching vacancy but my fingers are crossed that he’s still available after all the head spots have been filled. In the Knicks search for a defensive coordinator, no man is more perfect for the job than Lawrence Frank and I am holding out lots of hope that we get him. As Dallas has shown, defense wins championship and few are better at coaching defense than Lawrence Frank.

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Rumor: Knicks in Play For Biyombo

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     There have been many rumors about the Knicks wanting to move up in the draft, reportedly for Jimmer Fredette, but now the Knicks have been rumored to be in the mix for a falling lottery pick. Bismack Biyombo is an 18 year old power forward from the Congo. He’s 6’9 but he has a 7’6 wingspan and is insanely athletic. At the Adidas Eurocamp Biyombo fell flat on his face. He decided to skip the game and drills and did the one on none workout. According to Chad Ford of ESPN,

…these sort of workouts aren’t ideal for him. Biyombo looked understandably nervous and it seemed to affect his game. Much of the workout focused on his perimeter skills — a major weakness of Biyombo. He missed roughly 75 to 80 percent of the shots he took in this portion of the workout.

     Biyombo’s poor workout is a god send for the Knicks who are in the market for athletic big men. The last thing we need from this guy is outside shooting and clearly he’s not a great perimeter player. There is no doubt about his raw speed, power and leaping ability, not to mention he is incredibly long (7’6 wingspan). He’s a great fit for the Knicks at center and he’s definitely the best fit for us of all the players in the draft. Golden State sits at 11 and would also be a good fit for Biyombo. I hope we are not snake bitten again just like with Steph Curry in 2009. It’ll be interesting to see if we can give up the pieces to trade up and select Biyombo as he’d be a great addition to our club.

Image via Fuen La Freak

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The Kenneth Faried Arguement

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     With the 17th pick in this years draft also being their only pick in the next 2 drafts, the Knicks need to hit a home run with that selection. Kenneth Faried has been widely rumored to have impressed Knicks management and a lot of mock drafts have him being the selection at 17. If I was picking, I’d give a good hard look at Faried. Obviously it would be relative to who’s on the board but I believe Faried is one of the top players in this draft. Obviously it’s hard to make a comparison to an NBA hall of famer but I think Faried could be the next Rodman. Rodman was 6’8 to Faried’s 6’6 but in today’s NBA filled with lazy rebounding and defense, I think Faried has the potential to be a great impact player off the bench. He’s the consummate effort and rebounding power forward with his only downside being his size. I’ve heard multiple people say that if he was 6’10, he’d be the first pick in the draft. While he’s only 6’6 he’s got a 7’0 wingspan and great jumping ability. He scored 17 points a game and averaged 14 rebounds last year at Morehead St. His NCAA tournament game against Louisville was awesome as he blocked Louisville’s last second shot to win the game. This play showed me his fire and passion that he plays the game with. I love this kid. I think he’s got the potential to be one of the great rebounding forwards in this league. One of the knocks on Faried is that his family lives in New Jersey and he may be a distraction to him. I think with Amare Stoudemire tutoring him, they both play power forward, I think Faried’s focus would be on the job at hand and I think that Amare would provide a great role model for Faried to take after. Overall I would say that Faried would be a great pick at 17, I am not confident that the Knicks will pick him or even that he’ll be there at 17 but if he were to be there, I would love to see Kenneth Faried in blue and orange.

Image via NBA.com

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Knicks Will Work Out 4 Players Wednesday

     On Wednesday the Knicks will work out 4 college seniors, Mustapha Farrakhan from Virginia, Corey Stokes from Villanova, Vlad Moldoveanu from American and Jared Mintz from Lafayette. Corey Stokes is by far the most notable of these players. He’s a big 6’4 guard who’s a knockdown shooter but struggles on defense and is not a great scorer, passer or rebounder. I think he’s similar to Andy Rautins, our second round pick in last seasons draft. Farrakhan is also 6’4 and plays guard. He was a 2 guard at Virginia averaging 13 points a game and 1.8 assists. He was a 36% 3 point shooter last season. He showed his potential when he had 31 points against Howard while going 8 for 9 from beyond the arc. Vlad Moldoveanu is a 6’9 small forward who transferred from George Mason to become a great scorer at American. He averaged 18 and 20 points per game in his junior and senior years respectively. Last year he was a 83% free throw shooter and a 36% 3 point shooter. He’s got skills but he’s not overly athletic or prominent in defense and rebounding. Jared Mintz is a 6’9 power forward from Lafayette. He averaged 15 points a game and 5 rebounds. He’s a good scorer but he’s small and struggles on defense and on the boards. This workout continues the Knicks trend of working out many second round selections to find potential fits for our team. All 4 of these players are projected to be selected in the second round or not at all.

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Should Knicks Ditch 3 Star Plan?

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     Today, Marc Berman of the NY Post wrote an article about how Dallas has shown that the Knicks should change their 3 star plan. The 3 stars being Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and hypothetically, now New Orleans point guard, Chris Paul. I’m not sure that Miami’s collapse suggests that the Knicks need to scratch the 3 star plan because I think the 2 situations are completely different. Having a big 3 with a Chris Paul versus Chris Bosh is completely different. One of the great positives of Chris Paul is that he makes everybody better on offense and he’s a great defender. Bosh adds a 3rd scorer to LeBron and Wade but he doesn’t pass to make people better and he’s not a great defender (see Dirk at the end of game 2 of the finals). Depending on the new CBA the Knicks may be able to afford Paul or they may not be able to. Depending on the new salary cap figure / whether or not it is a hard cap, the Knicks could be able to get Paul cheaper and maybe add a decent piece or two. Miami did well in that they had the big 3 signed to less then max deals and they were able to sign Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller. Amare and Carmelo are both signed on max deals and the NBA doesn’t allow, or doesn’t allow under this CBA, the ability to take a pay cut while in contract. I am a big proponent of team depth. We have enough firepower with Amare and Carmelo and I would not be opposed to bypassing CP3 and signing a veteran point, a center and some bench pieces. Right now, with all the CBA uncertainty, I think it’s a bit of a waste to discuss this. While it is interesting to discuss, nobody knows what the terms of the next CBA are. Depending on the cap number, CP3 may not even be a possibility and then the 3 star plan will have to be scratched. I think there are pros and cons to both plans but this cannot be seriously discussed until we know the terms of the next CBA.

Image via NY Daily News

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James Dolan Should Re-hire Walsh for NOT Getting LeBron James

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     Tonight, Dallas knocked off the Miami Heat 105-95 to win the series in 6 games. In the series, LeBron James was widely criticized in the series for coming up short in games 4 and 5 and he didn’t disappoint in game 6. Yes he had 21 points on an efficient 9-15 night but he wasn’t his dominant self, his body language was horrible and he wasn’t good on defense. He was a -24 in plus/minus margin and he had 6 turnovers. As Dallas knocked off the “Big Three”, “Heatles” whatever you wanna call them, I could not help but think to myself “I’m happy we don’t have LeBron”. Is he widely considered the best player in the NBA? Yes. I do not know what everyone sees. Yes he is athletically superior and a great defender but his offense is inconsistent and he’s given up on his teams in the past. As documented in Adrian Wojnarowski’s great article today, LeBron gave up on the Olympic national team in 2008 and last year on his Cleveland team in the eastern conference finals. His body language and effort suffers greatly when things do not go well, as documented in game 6. If I had to pick a player to build a team around, I would much rather have Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Dwayne Wade or Chris Paul. Or I’d love to have Amare and Carmelo Anthony. While Donnie Walsh didn’t get LeBron last summer, which had more to do with Wade recruiting the big 3 not Walsh’s skills, I think he created a better nucleus then the one that Miami has. Does Miami arguably have 2 of the top 5 players in the league? Yes but the Knicks are not far behind and we have room to improve either by acquiring another star or 2-3 good solid role players. Even though LeBron was the Knicks number 1 goal, I think Walsh should be applauded for coming up with a backup plan that may pay bigger dividends then LeBron ever would. Carmelo and Amare have always been known as being thick skinned players. For example, take this years playoffs. Yea we lost 4-0, but much of that had to do with injuries. Amare played at 50% because he cared about the team, he wanted to win. Carmelo rebounded from a terrible game 1 to post a 42 point 17 rebound game 2. We have guys that want to win and they have no history of ever giving up on a team, much less 2 of them. You have to be mentally tough to play in New York. LeBron’s shown that he’s a mental midget. He gets criticized for poor performance and then plays worse. As my Uncle and I discussed tonight, what if this had been Knicks vs Mavs? The Miami media is nowhere close to the New York media in terms of opinionated criticism. I told my Uncle “if this had been New York, LeBron would have jumped off the Hudson Bridge tonight” and my Uncle responded “Too scared, he’d be hiding under the bridge with (chris) Bosh”

Adrian Wojnarowski Article: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-wojnarowski_lebron_james_dwyane_wade_nba_finals_game6_061111

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Joe Alexander Also Works Out for Knicks

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     Alan Hahn reported via twitter that Joe Alexander, former Bucks lottery pick, impressed along with Javaris Crittenton at the Knicks free agent camp. Alexander was the 8th overall pick by the Bucks in 2008 but has been a major disappointment. He was traded to Chicago after his second season and then later traded to New Orleans. He was a D-League All-Star for the Texas Legends. He is a super athletic small forward who has good scoring range. He looked lost when he was last in the NBA and maybe his D-League success will translate to quality NBA minutes moving forward. He would be a nice piece on our bench if he could give us quality minutes as he can score as well as play defense with his long, athletic frame.

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