Eight players set for Knicks' summer squad
Newest Knick Tim Hardaway Jr. isn't the only recent draft prospect to be added to the team's summer league roster.
A league source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com on Friday that forward C.J. Leslie (N.C. State) and center A.J. Matthews (Farmingdale State) will also play with the Knicks in Las Vegas, starting on July 12.
Leslie played high school ball with Washington Wizards point guard John Wall at Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina. Leslie was one of the top HS players in the country, recognized for his versatility and athleticism. But one established NBA insider thought he fell into the trap of N.C. State not pushing its star players hard enough to prepare for the league. That could've also applied to his teammate Lorenzo Brown, one of the most versatile point guards in college last season, but he was criticized for his mental preparedness and slipped to the 52nd pick.
Leslie is also noted for his rebounding and finishing ability, which the Knicks need more of next season. As for Matthews, the Knicks like the Brooklyn native's 7-1 size and length, but he's more of a project than Leslie. Because the Knicks are looking for more immediate contributors next season, Matthews will likely be on the outside of a potential rookie minimum's contract.
So who else will be on the Knicks' summer league team? Hardaway Jr., Leslie and Matthews will team up with center Jerome Jordan, forward Tony Mitchell (Alabama), point guard Toure Murry (Wichita State), combo guard Iman Shumpert and point guard Chris Smith, making the Knicks' summer league squad one of the best in competition.
Mitchell and Murry were two of the top players in the D-League last season. Mitchell, a do-it-all athletic small forward in transition and half-court sets, averaged 21.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals. Murry, who excels at leading breakaways and his first step to make plays for himself and others, averaged 9.0 points, 3.0 assists and 1.8 steals.
Center Henry Sims (D-League), who played with the Knicks last preseason, has been invited to participate with the team this summer, but he hasn't accepted the offer yet. Sims is one of the more attractive young big men on the market for his post-up game and offensive rebounding, and he's weighing several different summer league opportunities. In addition, point guard Tony Taylor (D-League) could receive an invite.
Taylor rivaled Murry as one of the best point guards in the D-League this past season, averaging 7.0 points and 3.2 assists per game. The Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., native is better than Murry in pick-and-rolls, as he shows great patience and timing with passes. In addition, he has a fluid pull-up jump shot with range, a nice floater in the lane and an acute ability to read passing lanes.
The Knicks have several solid options this summer, with their intent to fill up most of their final roster spots with youth at point guard and in the frontcourt.
[Only registered and activated users can see images. Click Here To Register...]