Knicks Draft Strategy: Deni Advija and Isaac Okoro
As a Knicks fan, the worst thing about the last twenty years of Knicks’ basketball (some brief glimmers aside) is that it’s a year-round suck. We don’t even get a break in the offseason. Every lottery just adds insult to injury. We sit and wait and trick ourselves into optimism when deep down we know the ping-pong balls will inevitably favor someone else. I mean, we haven’t had the first overall pick in thirty-five years; the Cavs got three IN FOUR YEARS!
But these days, I’m not stressing about the lottery. Why? Because there are plenty of guys in the 6-10 range that are solid options based on the above list of desired traits.
Let’s look at some of them, complete with professional analysis from Spencer Pearlman:
DENI ADVIJA – He’s been great since the Israeli season resumed. His abilities to convert RJ kickouts into points and get others easy shots are what Knicks’ fans should find most appealing.
"SPENCER SAYS: Not a movement shooter, but he should become a good C&S shooter and a smart relocation shooter. People will point to percentages, but he’s often a bailout option for his team. He’s an insanely hard worker (I’ve previously spoken with an Israeli League Coach who commented on that), his form is good, and he has awesome touch in the paint. Something else to keep in mind re: his effectiveness off-ball is his elite cutting – that’s another way to keep defenses spaced without shooting. Very smart defender. His best skill is his rotations to the paint, but the translation likely won’t be 1:1 because though he is a good athlete, he’s not elite and his measurements aren’t very good, either. Really good passer. Can run PnR in the halfcourt and hit all areas of the court. Quick decision-maker on ball and as a swing passer, and can make passes on the move."
ISAAC OKORO – I’ve seen him compared to Andre Iguodala, Caron Butler, and most salivating / ridiculous, Kawhi Leonard. Just imagine the defense: Frank, RJ, & Okoro with Mitch anchoring the paint. I know, I know … the shooting, but Kawhi couldn’t shoot at that age, either.
"SPENCER SAYS: I buy the shot long term and love the footwork both on C&S and off the bounce, so it’s mainly about getting reps down and tweaking his form. Doubt he’ll ever be a movement shooter, but C&S and minor relocations are possible if not likely. Awesome cutter, too, with great touch in the paint and strength to power through defenders on drives and finishes. Defensively he’s strong, quick, versatile, and super smart. He can effectively take guys out of the game similar to how Darrelle Revis would – obviously not to that extent, but still, he’s a really high-level defender. Another good passer. Auburn rarely used him as a creator, but when they did, he showed some really nice flashes hitting all areas of the court (including some with live action)."