Signing Powell makes Knicks look smart

New Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose gives a reason to watch the Knicks again by signing Seton Hall sharpshooter Myles Powell.

I can’t believe I am typing this.

The Knicks made a rare right decision by signing Myles Powell as a free agent after he was not drafted in the 2020 NBA draft Wednesday.

Powell’s signing created more intrigue than the Knicks drafting Dayton’s Obi Toppin and Kentucky’s Immanuel Quickley. I don’t know how Toppin and Quickley will fare, but I do know how the Seton Hall star will fare.

I saw enough of Powell to know he aced the eye test of being a star. He developed a knack for making clutch shots from watching him play at Seton Hall the last two seasons. In big games, he rises. The bottom line is he is a winner. Think Kemba Walker when you think of him. The Knicks could use many guys like him.

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They should have drafted him quite frankly, but it’s irrelevant since he is on the roster trying to make the team.

Shame on all 30 teams for not drafting him, though. They missed out on a future star. There’s no doubt if COVID-19 did not happen, Powell would have showcased his talent in March Madness and be drafted in the first round. He never got to play in the NCAA tournament since the pandemic shut down the tournament. It is a shame for him and other prospects such as Cassius Winston, who was drafted in the second round.

One would think Powell being a consensus All-America first team award and Big East Player of the Year would sell scouts and general managers on him. One would assume Powell averaging 35.4 points per game as well as 5.7 assists and 7.2 rebounds would open anyone’s eyes. His highlight reel should have vowed anyone.

On Twitter, I posted this query on what teams were thinking not drafting him.

Ridgefield Park (NJ) varsity high school basketball coach Chris Gaskin mentioned to me on Twitter that teams prefer a 19-20-year-old who will be a key contributor at 22 or 23 years old than when a 23-year old kid turns 26-year-old kid. To translate this, teams love athleticism and potential over an experienced, winning college basketball player.

I covered Gaskin and his basketball team from 2008-2014 for the now-defunct Ridgefield Park Patriot, and he knows the game as well as any basketball coach I have known. I take his word as gospel, and he worked with so many NBA coaches and college coaches over the years for seminars.

He is right on this. The league gravitated towards players with potential for a long time. It has always been about upside with an emphasis on development. This year’s draft features development since there is not a franchise player in the draft.

Still, there has to be a value for a player that played four years in the league, no? There’s something to be said about honing his skills for four years in college. If anything, a four-year player can make a head coach’s job easy than say a player who can be viewed as a project at best.

Powell knows how to win. It’s hard to teach that. He broke out playing in his junior season at Seton Hall. He turned into a star. He is already ready to play in the NBA. He can shoot, and it’s hard to think that will change now that he graduated to the pros.

Yes, he needs to know how to play defense. Yes, he must know how to find the open guy. There are many things he can learn, and he can do it in the pros. Who’s to say that does not happen here?

One thing going for the Seton Hall sharpshooter is this: He will be coached by Tom Thibodeau, who knows how to get results out of his players. There’s no doubt he can benefit from good coaching.

Thibodeau and the Knicks know they will get a worker who is committed to being a better player. They appreciate the type of character he is as a person. They see a winner in him. They value his intangibles of giving everything he got on game nights.

We mock the Knicks for so many reasons. Most of them are deserved.

On this one, it’s hard to rip them on this. They should be commended. No, the Knicks are not back because they signed him.

But having Powell on the team makes the Knicks worth rooting for again.

 

The Upstate Courier is an owned and operated property of Rossiter Media Group.
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