On the heels of a 54-win season and a tough exit in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the New York Knicks face questions across the board. Perhaps the only sure thing next year is the return of coach Mike Woodson and forward Carmelo Anthony, who averaged 28.7 points per game in 2012-13.
After that, it's a toss-up. New York's second-leading scorer, J.R. Smith, is expected to opt out of his contract and might not return if the team isn't sold on him following struggles during the 2012-13 playoff run. Also in the backcourt, aging Argentinian guard Pablo Prigioni is a restricted free agent and Jason Kidd leaves a hole after retiring as a player. Stretch forward Chris Copeland is also a restricted free agent, and who knows about Amare Stoudemire's health? Come to mention it, who knows about the health of fellow big men Tyson Chandler or Marcus Camby, either?
There are many holes to fill on the Knicks' roster, but they can start plugging them in the draft. In terms of recent history, they'll hope their post-lottery first round selections are more like Wilson Chandler (2007) and Shumpert (2011) than Mardy Collins (2006) and Renaldo Balkman (2006)
The Knicks own the No. 24 overall pick and don't have a second-rounder. They might be one of many teams interested in acquiring Dallas' pick at No. 13.
PG -- Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni (restricted free agent)
SG -- Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith (player option)
PF -- Amare Stoudemire, Kenyon Martin (free agent)
C -- Tyson Chandler, Marcus Camby
There's little-to-no depth behind Stoudemire and Chandler, and that's if they're healthy. A thin backcourt adds to the problems, particularly when the Knicks often swing Anthony to power forward. New York's salary total makes a relatively inexpensive draft pick a very important piece of the puzzle. They could use help on every front.
New York could be lacking depth, but the biggest issue will be finding scoring -- that says a lot considering Anthony is the NBA's individual scoring champion. The possibility of losing Copeland will take away a shooter to stretch the floor, and losing Smith in free agency will also hinder the shooting ability of the Knicks outside of Anthony.
New York needs perimeter scoring and also a ball handler. A player who can score without help or at least have the ability to drive and kick will take pressure off Anthony. The Knicks' ability to stretch the floor last season was key, but that offense is at risk leading into the draft.
North Texas small forward Tony Mitchell (scouting report) could be a hybrid forward that is similar to Anthony but quite capable of being paired with the All-Star considering the Knicks' ability to play with a small-ball lineup. ESPN's Chad Ford reports in his 5.0 mock draft that Mitchell is a favorite of New York, although a darkhorse pick would be South Dakota State gunner and playmaker Nate Wolters.