Just days after waiving training camp invitees Mychel Thompson, Henry Sims, John Shurna, and Oscar Bellfield, the Knicks learned they’ll be able to keep a closer eye on three of these same basketball hopefuls as the season progresses.
With D-League teams formulating their rosters a bit in time for their own respective training camps, the Erie BayHawks (New York’s direct NBADL affiliate) claimed the rights of Thompson, Sims, and Bellfield.
As a rule, the NBA teams can “protect” three players they have previously waived in training camp for their minor league squad.
Such a strategy makes an immense amount of sense. What’s perhaps a bit surprising, however, is quite the glaring omission from the list of pickups. After playing with Erie last season, and subsequently earning an NBA call-up with the Cavaliers, Thompson seemed like a shoe-in to return to town, and he probably was the entire time.
Sims showed a lot of potential in a few of his preseason games as well, so to keep tabs on him as he develops his skill set appears logical as well. If Chris Copeland hadn’t emerged with such startling positive production, and had the Knicks not signed Rasheed Wallace right before camp, Thompson and Sims may have had better chances of making New York’s roster.
But where does that leave John Shurna? Though he struggled to really shine and make an impression during his own preseason stint, his skill set is one the Knicks are quite familiar with. Nicknamed “Steve Novak Jr.” or “Novak’s brother” by many of his teammates, Shurna too is a sharpshooting stretch forward who has the potential to make it rain.
He didn’t display enough of that potential during training camp. His inability to do so, coupled with the Knicks’ dire need of more big men at the start of the regular season, made it difficult for Shurna to squeeze his way onto the opening night roster. That said, his talents should have been enough to warrant another look from the Knicks via their affiliate in the NBADL.
Instead, the BayHawks brought Bellfield aboard as the third and final player acquired from Knickerbocker camp. Bellfield struggled to get things going in the preseason, and thus, it’s difficult to see how else he could have made any other extensive positive impression.
Nevertheless, where a Shurna omission occurs, an opportunity arises for Bellfield. It’ll be interesting to see how he, Thompson, and Sims cash in on their opportunities to shine with the BayHawks.