Though Las Vegas Summer League is still a few days away, the Knicks have announced their roster and will begin practicing on Tuesday.
While the likes of Iman Shumpert and recent draftee Tim Hardaway Jr. will hit the Summer League hardwood for New York, there are plenty of other hopefuls who will treat such an opportunity as one to make a lasting impression on Knicks' brass in hopes of getting another look to make the team come training camp.
Who else from the Summer League team will join CJ Leslie (who received a training camp invite on Monday) in orange and blue come September? Will any of the prospects be worthy of such a shot?
Among the said hopefuls is Tony Mitchell. Of course, he's not the same young gun from North Texas, who was drafted by the Pistons. Instead, this Tony Mitchell is the now reigning NBA D-League Rookie of the Year.
After averaging almost 20 points per contest for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants this past season, Mitchell proved he can dominantly score in bunches. He's bold, confident, and aggressive, but his skills lack a true refinement. He's raw, but holds promise. Perhaps he may be worth the Knicks keeping an eye on, given the need for talented youth across the roster.
Then there's Jeremy Tyler, the former Golden State Warriors' forward. In a strange twist of events, Tyler was traded by Golden State, and soon after waived by the Hawks, but then found his way to the Warriors' NBADL affiliate later in the season. He has a big body, and knows how to use it well to muscle his way inside against opposing defenders. More of a post-player, Tyler lacks a midrange jumper. That said, his physical nature could be one that the Knicks may enjoy employing, should they fail to bring back a player like Kenyon Martin.
Though Tyler played out the rest of the season with the Santa Cruz Warriors, the fact of the matter is Golden State cannot re-sign him until next February, because of the trade. Someone who knows a little about situations like that is Jerome Jordan, who also spent last year in the D-League after getting traded by the Knicks and subsequently waived by the Rockets last July.
A year has passed and Jordan too will play on the Knicks' Summer League team. Only this time, New York can officially bring him back into the fold if so desired. Jordan played well in the minors, showing maturity as he earned an All-Star nod and some worthy "Defensive Player of the Year" consideration. Knicks' officials continued to monitor him closely this past season, and kept in touch with his NBADL squad's brass to stay informed on his progress. It wouldn't be a surprise if he not only ended up in training camp, but also back on the team next season.
Of course, some of the other intriguing names include Toure Murray from the D-League champion RGV Vipers, SUNY Farmingdale's A.J. Matthews, and St. John's Justin Brownlee. Chris Smith (brother of J.R.) is also on the roster, and appears a likely candidate to play for the Knicks' minor league affiliate next season. If for no other reason, it'll keep his brother happy.
It'll be interesting to see which prospects step up to shine next week.