Knicks looking to NBA draft to help win now

Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald speaks at the

Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald speaks at the podium during the team's annual media day held at Madison Square Garden. (Oct. 1, 2012) (Credit: James Escher)

After all the old jokes last season, the Knicks actually can get younger Thursday night and they hope better as well.

The Knicks own the No. 24 pick in the NBA draft. They won't find a starter down there, but they could find someone to improve their depth.

The biggest questions they have to ask and answer is whether they're willing to wait for someone to develop or do they take a player who can help them now?

The latter would seem the most logical since the Knicks are a veteran team, coming off a 54-win season, and would like to go deeper next season than the second round of the playoffs.

"We're focused on now," general manager Glen Grunwald said last month. "We're trying to get to a championship as soon as possible and that's where our strategy is right now."

Unless the Knicks can package their pick with a player and trade for a veteran, most of the work to get them past the second round will begin next week when free agency starts.

Jason Kidd's retirement and Pablo Prigioni's uncertain future could lead them to address the point guard position in the draft. But the Knicks also need help up front. Among the point guards expected to be available are Murray State's Isaiah Canaan, South Dakota State's Nate Wolters, North Carolina State's Lorenzo Brown and Virginia Tech's Erick Green.

Canaan, Wolters and Green are seniors and may be the most ready to help a team now. Brown might be the purest point guard and can be dynamic. But Canaan is the only one consistently projected to go in the Knicks' range.

They may be able to take any of the others in the second round. But the Knicks would have to acquire a second-round pick. They could do that, but aren't permitted to include cash in any transaction.

The Knicks have interest in talented 6-8 North Texas sophomore forward Tony Mitchell, who averaged 13.7 points and 9.3 rebounds in two college seasons.

There are concerns about his maturity and work ethic. He also had academic issues that kept him from attending Missouri.Other possibilities at No. 24 include defensive-minded big men Gorgui Dieng of Louisville -- if he drops that far -- and Kansas 7-footer Jeff Withey. After the Knicks were dominated on the boards and by Pacers center Roy Hibbert in the playoffs they could opt for size.

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