The New York Knicks need a stroke of good luck and they may have found a diamond in the rough with Cleanthony Early. A second-round draft pick, Early wasn’t much of a college player though that’s not the concern of the Knicks nor talent evaluators in the league.
Early was dominating at times during Summer League and while he struggled at times with some of the more basic fundamentals like ball handling, that isn’t exactly something he’ll have to do a ton of in regular season action. Given that, an unnamed Western Conference scout believes that Early will be a far better professional player than he was in college.
“He’s going to be a better pro than college,’’ one Western Conference scout told The Post. “He’s got good size. Can he play the 3 position is the question mark. He can shoot the ball and everyone’s looking for big-sized shooters. He’s not a bad athlete.’’
Expected to backup Carmelo Anthony, Early should get some solid playing time out of the gate given the lack of depth on the New York Knicks roster.
It remains seen to how he’ll actually play when the bright lights of Madison Square shine on him, but he looked more than comfortable for his short stint in Las Vegas recently (even if it is just Summer League).
In addition to Early, the Knicks also drafted Thanasis Antetokounmpo in the second-round of the 2014 NBA Draft, though it’s expected that Antetokounmpo will either open the season in Europe or could be stashed on the New York Knicks D-League affiliate.