Friday morning, the Knicks announced who would occupy the final three spots of their 2013 opening day roster. Unsurprisingly, guard Toure Murray and center Cole Aldrich made the team, and both deservingly so. While he can’t score a lick, Aldrich gives the Knicks a much needed third center who can give them ten decent minutes when needed. Though the team has a plethora of point guards, Murray was easily the best of these fringe roster players during the pre-season. The final roster spot however, is one that has generated a lot of controversy in Knicks-land.
Chris Smith is the brother of JR Smith. He also plays basketball, point guard to be specific, though he’s shown no signs to be good at it. Now, it’s not uncommon for siblings of NBA players to get summer league or pre-season tryouts. LeBron’s arranged for that before, Kobe has done it, and many others have as well. There’s nothing wrong with giving Smith a chance to prove himself in summer league and pre-season. But from what we’ve seen, Chris Smith isn’t an NBA player. In the pre-season, he played fewer minutes than anybody on the team. His 20 minutes played was four fewer than Chris Douglas-Roberts, who was cut and was never really a serious candidate to be a Knick. I think it’s fairly obvious that Coach Woodson knows that Smith isn’t an NBA player, so why is he on the team? More
The 2013 NBA Draft class was dubbed by pundits as being a “weak” class. Whether that’s true remains to be seen, but I believe there are definitely intriguing first-year players worth watching. Here are five rookies that I’m especially excited to watch:
1. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope:
You down with KCP? Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is on this list for good reason. Yes, partially because of his fantastic name, but also because of his silky smooth jump shot.
I go bonkers whenever there is a shooting guard in the draft labeled as a hybrid with the attributes “athletic freak” and “natural shooter”. Those are my favorite kinds of players besides bruising centers that can crash the glass. KCP falls under that shooting guard hybrid category. If you ask anyone that watched Georgia basketball last year, they’ll tell you how KCP carried the team. He posted an offensive rating of 115.7, along with 3.9 offensive win shares and 6.3 total win shares. Get this: Caldwell-Pope led the team with his 3.9 offensive win shares while the second highest OWS on the team belonged to Vincent Williams at 0.5. Crazy, right? More
A few hours ago, the Knicks signed journeyman Chris Douglas-Roberts to a non-guaranteed training camp deal.
This is a very interesting move. CDR is one of my personal favorites, especially when he played the role of Derrick Rose’s sidekick at the University of Memphis. He vanished from the NBA after playing with crappy Nets teams for two years and played overseas for Italian powerhouse Virtus Bologna during the locked out season, after playing with the Bucks in 2011. He then made his return to the NBA last season, playing 6 games with the Mavericks and their D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends. And just last summer, the Lakers signed CDR to play with their summer league squad, and was then cut from the roster shortly after Summer League play ended.
With the signing of CDR, random forward that’s not named John Shurna (remember that imbecile?) Justin Brownlee will we waived in order to free up the 20th and final training camp spot for him.
Something that I’ve always remembered about CDR is that his mid-range game and slashing to the tin were his main sources of scoring, along with (don’t tell Raymond Felton) floaters. He can also generate spacing around the perimeter for the open three, although, he’s a career 27.6% three point shooter. I bet if you look at old shot charts, you’ll see loads of green in the paint and on the elbows of the charity stripe.
Like most small forwards, CDR has a relatively long wingspan. It’s definitely not as long as Paul George’s wingspan, but it’s good enough to pester ball handlers.
In most aspects, Douglas-Roberts is under appreciated defensively. He posted 1.3 defensive win shares in 44 games during his lone year with Milwaukee in the 2010-11 season, and has 2.4 career defensive win shares. That’s not too bad for a player of that caliber.
I really hope CDR makes the roster. Making the roster will be a difficult task for him, though, due to the abundant of depth on this year’s upcoming roster. And to make everyone feel good about him, here’s a picture of CDR and two kittens.