As New York Knicks’ general manager Glen Grunwald decides which direction he wants to turn in the 2013 NBA Draft, it is quite possible that his decision could turn out to be an easy one.
And it could be North Texas forward Tony Mitchell.
February 26, 2012; Denver CO, USA; North Texas Mean Green forward Tony Mitchell (13) brings the ball upcourt during the first half against the North Texas Mean Green at Magness Arena. Mandatory Credit: Andrew B. Fielding-USA TODAY Sports
Right now the Knicks have plenty of needs, including a young backup point guard and some frontcourt depth, but after his recent workout for the Knicks, Mitchell could be sitting at the top of the Knicks draft board.
The Knicks have many holes to fill at the moment, which includes a young backup point guard, some additional size off the bench in the front court and some additional scoring.
It is quite possible that the Knicks use their mini MLE to add their point guard, which means they will target another area in the draft.
At No. 24 in the first round, it’s likely the strategy is to take the best player on the board and that could be Mitchell.
According to ESPN’s Chad Ford, the Knicks are very high on Mitchell, who is being compared to the Denver Nuggets Kenneth Faried by some.
Drafting Mitchell would make sense as the Knicks don’t really have anyone under contract to back up Amar’e Stoudemire at the 4 next season.
However drafting Mitchell is risky.
He’s a guy who likely would have been a first-round pick last year had he not elected to return to school, but this year he’s all but assured of going in the first round and could be on the board when the Knicks pick at No. 24.
Mitchell has the upside of a top-10 pick, but he was in an awful situation in North Texas last season and didn’t put up great numbers, averaging only 13.0 points and 8.5 rebounds, numbers down from the 14.7 points and 10.3 boards he averaged in 2012 as a freshman. In addition his field goal percentage dropped from 56.7 percent as a freshman to only 44 percent last season. He struggled from behind the arc as well as he saw his three-point percentage take a dive from 43.9 percent to only 30 percent as a sophomore.
His mediocre season might have been the best he could have done in an awful situation at North Texas with very little talent around him.
But he’s an elite athlete and a terrific rebounder, something the Knicks could use both of in their frontcourt.
Physically he is long and explosive and has great speed and quickness for a forward. He also excels in transition and has a motor that doesn’t quit.
Defensively he can guard multiple positions, which would help him fit right into Mike Woodson’s system.
If one day everything clicks and he plays to his potential, then Mitchell could be a future NBA star. However if he doesn’t reach that potential, there’s a good chance he never becomes much more than an average player at best.
However the Knicks have shown that they have never been afraid of taking risks.
With that being said, don’t be surprised if Mitchell is the guy they are targeting and the one they could likely end up with.
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