On Wednesday, the New York Knicks pulled off a deal that was praised by many.
The Knicks sent center Tyson Chandler and point guard Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks for Jose Calderon, big man Samuel Dalembert, swingman Wayne Ellington, point guard Shane Larkin and two second round picks in Thursday night’s draft, the 34th-overall selection and the 51st-overall selection.
The Knicks used that 34th-overall pick on who many consider to be the potential steal of the draft in former Wichita State Shockers’ swingman Cleanthony Early.
Early led the Shockers to an undefeated regular season and posting a perfect record up until the Sweet 16 when they were upended by the Kentucky Wildcats in what was one of the best games of the tournament (The Wildcats, of course, advanced to the championship game where they were defeated by the Connecticut Huskies).
Early, who measured in at 6’7.25 and 209 lbs. with a wingspan of 6’10.75 at the NBA’s Scouting Combine, put up 16.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while shooting 48.7% from the field, 37.6% from three and 84.2% from the charity stripe last season. He is ranked as the draft’s 30th-best prospect by Jonathan Givony of Draft Express.
Early was a first round talent in the eyes of many so this was obviously a very good value pick for the Knicks.
Knicks’ president Phil Jackson may not have gotten his first choice as a head coach (he wound up hiring Derek Fisher after the Golden State Warriors hired Steve Kerr), but his first couple of personnel moves as president have received excellent reviews – and rightfully so.