he True Fans Bleed Blue and Orange: Knicks Set For First Prospect Workoutsh

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Knicks Set For First Prospect Workouts

According to the Knicks 4 Life site administrator (a very reliable source) the Knicks will hold their first draft workouts on Tuesday, June 5th. The four players (all seniors) listed are:
Derrick Byars G/F, 6-7, 220, Vanderbilt
Sammy Mejia G, 6-6, 195, DePaul
Demetris Nichols F, 6-8, 216, Syracuse
Curtis Sumpter F, 6-7, 225, Villanova
As per some of my research I have put together a small scouting report on all four players.
Derrick Byars: His 17 ppg, 4.9rpg, and 3.4 apg averaged this year for Vanderbilt show signs of a good all around player. Byars' court vision is strong, and despite his 6-7 frame ran point guard at times for Vanderbilt. Byars is a defensive player who has garnered NBA comparisons of Shane Battier, and 2006-2007 rookie of the year, Brandon Roy. Byars' athleticism, mixed with his ability to score, rebound, pass, and defend makes him an all around player that has been projected to go middle-end of the first round. Most Byars' faults are correctable. He tends to become a chucker at times, and can stand around when the ball isn't in his hands. Both problems can be fixed with good coaching and guidance. However, on a team that already has Jamal Crawford and Nate Robinson (notorious chuckers) we have heard they could be fixed more than once.
Sammy Mejia: In most mock drafts I have seen Mejia isn't even shown being drafted. The Knicks don't have a second pick, so it is a bit curious to see Mejia working out for the Knicks, especially in their first draft workouts. Perhaps Isiah is looking to sign Mejia should he go un-drafted. Mejia was painfully skinny throughout his college career but has recently hit the weights and added some weight before the workouts. Mejia is a lanky player with solid court vision, but struggles with his ball-handling. Mejia averaged 14.1ppg, 5.9 rpg, and 2.6apg this season for Depaul (the alma matter of Quentin Richardson).

Demetris Nichols: Syracuse fans are familiar with Nichols. Syracuse's best scorer this year has been projected to go early second round in most mock drafts. At 6-8 Nichols has good size for a SF, although Nichols can play the four. Nichols is a quality defender who also has a good touch from behind the arc. Since Nichols is taller than most threes he rarely gets his shot blocked. Mixed with his already lethal touch Nichols is a good player to run off screens. Rasual Butler comes to mind in terms of a player who can shoot the ball with similar size. Butler was drafted late second round in 2002. As Orange fans know Nichols would sometimes go into half-time with 3 points, and end the game with 20+. It seemed every game Nichols would have a big first or second half, and fade in the other half. Although Nichols is tall he lacks court vision, and surprisingly has no post-up game.

Curtis Sumpter: Sumpter, like Mejia is projected to go un-drafted. Sumpter scored 17.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg, and .9 apg this year for Villanova. At the Orlando workout games Sumpter has looked awful. Sumpter has attempted to play SF, as his 6-7 frame is too small to be a successful PF, and his stat line for Friday's game: 6 pts, 2 rebounds, 5 turnovers. Sumpter has been stopped by good defense, and has been frustrated by referee calls that have gone against him. Sumpter had two ACL injuries in his career, including missing the entire 2005-2006 season. Because he missed the entire season Sumpter was a fifth year senior this year. Despite the injuries reports in early December showed that Sumpter might have actually improved his skills after the injuries. Sumpter showed an improved jump shot, and an even better shot off of the dribble. In fact, in early December some scouts were saying Sumpter could be a first round draft pick. However, Sumpter's poor court vision for a SF and injury prone past are on the top of lists that worries NBA GM's. Isiah wanted a look for himself.
3 of the 4 players Isiah and his staff are looking at on Tuesday are projected to go either in the second round, or not be drafted at all. This could mean one of two teams. Isiah may be looking to shock the world like he did last year with Balkman. Or Isiah may already know that he is going to trade the draft pick and is simply focusing on players he can sign who don't get drafted. Stay tuned.

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