Knicks Summer League Preview: The New Guys
Draft picks Early and Antetokounmpo look to impress
The Knicks' Summer League entry has its fair share of familiar faces, but like always, there are many players looking to stand out during these few weeks in Vegas. This group includes New York's two 2014 draft picks, as well as a handful of players with decorated college and professional resumes. Let's get to know the rest of coach Derek Fisher's squad...
(No, Player, Pos, Ht, Wt, Born, College/Country, 2013-14 Team, Yrs)
43 Thanasis Antetokounmpo (F, 6-7, 215, born Jul. 17, 1992, from Greece Delaware/D-League, R)
Thanasis comes to Vegas looking to make a name for himself after his younger brother, Giannis (6'11"), taught everyone how to pronounce "Antetokounmpo" with his play as a Bucks rookie. Thanasis, 21, is only 6'5", but an equally impressive athlete and he possesses the same work ethic and enthusiasm for the game.
As a player, he is all about energy and dirty work; his translated 2013-14 D-League numbers placed him 4th in block rate, 5th in steal rate and 4th in assist rate among the small forwards in DraftExpress' top 100 prospects in this year's draft. He recently promised to bring "passion, heart and courage" to the game, while saying that what separates him from the rest of the great athletes fighting for jobs is his willingness to put forth second, third, and even fourth efforts on each play. It's a near certainty that Knicks fans will love the way he plays, and he plans to put that on display starting here.
17 Cleanthony Early (F, 6-8, 219, Apr. 17, 1991, Middletown, NY, Wichita State/NCAA, R)
Early, the 34th overall pick in last month's Draft, represented great value when he was available at the beginning of the 2nd round. A native New Yorker, he knows he has a great opportunity to succeed playing under Fisher and Phil Jackson's guidance; he was effusive in his admiration of those two and made clear that is primary goal in the desert is to learn and grow.
When he gets on the floor, he'll be surrounded by teammates with both NBA experience and 1st round pedigree, but that doesn't mean he can't contribute. Among small forwards in DraftExpress' top 100 prospects, he ranked 2nd in overall points per possession (1.11) last season. His versatility -- he can shoot from downtown (38 percent) and finish strong at the rim -- made him a tough cover in college and that was evident when he shredded the Kentucky Wildcats for 31 points and seven rebounds in the NCAA Tournament this past March.
14 Langston Galloway (G, 6-2, 202, Dec. 9, 1991, Saint Joseph’s/USA, Saint Joseph’s/NCAA, R)
Galloway brings one skill to the table of which NBA teams can never get enough: long-range shooting. A four-year senior who never shot below 39 percent from 3 in any season, he has an enormous 6-8 wingpspan and improved his off-the-dribble game as he developed.
40 Jordan Henriquez (C, 6-11, 250, Aug. 29, 1989, Kansas State/USA, Rio Grande/D-League, R)
Henriquez has real NBA shot-blocking chops; in his senior season at Kansas State, he averaged a whopping five blocks per 40 minutes. Summer League does not favor back-to-the-basket post players, which should suit Henriquez just fine becaue that's not really his game. He is on the floor to block shots and crash the boards, and once the more established big men on the roster (i.e. Cole Adrich and Jeremy Tyler) get their minutes, he could get his shot to ply those skills.
25 Zane Johnson (G, 6-6, 210, Aug. 1, 1989, Hawaii/USA, Canton/D-League, R)
A skilled 3-point shooter, Johnson thrived after tranferring from Arizona to Hawaii after his sophomore season. After sitting out a year, he averaged 35 minutes and nearly 15 points per game over the next two seasons as a Rainbow. He's been taking advantage of NBA coaching in shooting drills after practice.
50 Cameron Moore (F, 6-10, 230, Nov. 12, 1990, Alabama-Birmingham/USA, Casserta/Italy)
More is another athletic big man who remains an intriguing prospect as he enters his third career NBA Summer League. He's an outstanding rebounder with legitimate power forward size and length. His shooting form has never been an issue, but he says he's become a much more confident on offense after playing overseas; one of the best rebounders in the country while at UAB, he pulled down almost 12 per 40 during stops in Ukraine and Italy over the past two years.
35 Will Sheehey (F, 6-7, 200, Jan. 16, 1992, Indiana/USA, Indiana/NCAA, R)
Sheehey improved each year in Bloomington, averaging 11.4 points on 47 percent shooting as a fifth-year senior in 2013-14. He's a good shooter and solid athlete, and he's also been working with Knicks coaches after practice on his offensive game.
6 Brandon Triche (G, 6-4, 10 Feb. 1, 1991, Syracuse/USA, Trento/Italy, R)
A combo guard with a knack for scoring, Triche put together a solid four-year career at Syracuse. He's a good shooter, but like everyone who plays in Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone, he'll have to prove he can play NBA defense.
55 Jordan Vandenberg (C, 7-1, 245, Mar. 25, 1990, North Carolina State/USA, North Carolina State/NCAA, R)
After four seasons at NC State, Vandenberg's best assets are his size and defensive potential. He's in Vegas to work with NBA coaches on realizing his potential as a big body who can block shots and rebound.