New York Knicks Rumors: Is Former 2nd Round Pick Coming To NBA?


New York Knicks Rumors: Is Thanasis Antetokounmpo On The Way?

The New York Knicks haven’t played a game in almost a month, yet they have still found their way into some water cooler talk. First there was the talk about a deal with free agent to be Greg Monroe being as done as a deal could be prior to free agency. There was some water thrown on that rumor as the Knicks were then one of a handful of teams included in potential landing spots for Portland Trail Blazer power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and Atlanta Hawks wing DeMarre Carroll.

Most recently, some dots were connected about what the Knicks could potentially be thinking in regards to the draft, and who they may like if they were to land the top pick. President Phil Jackson has dropped rather easy to decipher hints when talking about potential draft picks, so the fact the Knicks, like every other NBA team, likes Kentucky’s center Karl-Anthony Towns should come as no surprise.

What may come as a surprise to some is the most recent free agent rumor that the Knicks have been mentioned in. Could we be seeing a second Greek Freak in the NBA for the 2015-16 season?

There are rumors swirling around now that the Knicks will use one of their roster spots for the upcoming season on Thanasis Antetokounmpo, the older brother to Milwaukee Bucks’ budding player Giannis. Thanasis was the Knicks second round pick, 51st overall, and could be making his NBA debut this upcoming season.

According to Ian Begley at ESPN New York, Antetokounmpo’s agent has been contacted by the Knicks with hopes that they can bring him aboard for the upcoming season. His agent, Tim Lotsos, indicated that much, saying the Knicks wanted to sign his client and give him a spot on the roster for next season.

“There is nothing on paper yet, but those are the intentions,” Latsos said in a phone interview. He also stated that Antetokounmpo’s first goal is to return to the Knicks, but that he is also looking for an NBA contract.

Some people will say that he could chase the money, leaving the Knicks in the dust and losing their rights to him. But, that is something he could have done last year, but was convinced to stay with the Knicks by Jackson. Antetokounmpo was offered a two-year $550,000 deal overseas to stay with the Knicks NBA D-League affiliate in Westchester in large part because of a discussion he had with Jackson. He said that conversation was major, and shows that Jackson still does have some influential ability when it comes to recruiting players to join the team, as convincing a younger guy like Antetokounmpo to take a down the road approach when it comes to money is no easy task.

It would be a smart decision for the Knicks to give him a one-year qualifying offer to see what he can do with the NBA team. It will assuredly be for the league minimum, so he will not eat into their cap space at all, instead just taking the place of one of the cap holds the Knicks would have for every free roster spot.

The Knicks are also extremely short on talent, so bringing in anyone that could bring something to the table should be considered. Antetokounmpo has some question marks in his game, namely his ability to shoot and score, but one thing that cannot be questioned is his hustle and energy.

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Those attributes translate well to the defensive end on any level, as he possess the talents that are essentially impossible to teach. You cannot teach a guy to play at a higher level hustle and energy wise, or defensive instincts, all things he has. He has the size at 6-feet-7 inches combined with his skill set to guard multiple positions on the court, something the Knicks lacked last season but is imperative to have with the offenses NBA teams run nowadays that is pick-and-roll heavy.

While his defensive stats are solid, with 1.7 blocks and 1.7 steals per game, he has to improve offensively, namely with his jump shot. There are very few Tony Allen type players in the NBA who can carve out a role being that poor offensively, so it is imperative he improves upon his 23.2 three-point percentage, 62 percent from the free throw line and 21 percent outside of eight feet from the basket.

That should not be a problem for him though, as Antetokounmpo is a willing worker and wants to improve. He will be in the gym everyday working on his game, which is exactly the kind of thing the Knicks should be looking for when reshaping their roster this offseason. Antetokounmpo should be someone they bring onboard as it is zero risk financially, and he will immediately fill a need as an athletic wing who can defend on the cheap.

Next: Who Is The Best PG All-Time For The Knicks?

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