The New York Knicks website is guaranteed to make them jump

Job title: Guard, Ohio

Age: eighteen

Height: 6 feet 5 inches

Wingspan: 6’11”

Weight: 185 pounds

Sales step: Malachi Branham’s rise to potential lottery selection has been remarkable. He was a 5-star prospect but closer to the 25-50 range outside of high school. However, as the season went on, he showed amazing shooting ability from three levels. Branham, one of the youngest players in the draft, increased the ball load as the season went on for an OSU team that lacked creativity other than Branham and his teammate—and potential lottery partner—A.J. Liddell. Branham was effective at three levels, demonstrating the ability to attack the rim, land hard mid-range shots, and be highly effective from three-point range. His shooting record is elite and he looks like a high level shooter in the NBA. Particularly impressive was his prowess in navigating the screens on offense, as well as his strength. Even though he still only weighs 185 pounds, many times defenders just bounced him on his discs and he has a frame that has probably added 15-20 pounds. more. He was especially effective in pick and roll, in particular hitting the spot in the paint, and also as a passer, so he is well equipped for the modern NBA, especially because big players cannot back down from him (middy is too good) or play away from him (he’s a good finisher). Finally, while he didn’t excel on defense in college, he has solid athleticism, and his wingspan is a good harbinger of his potential in that regard. He’s one of the youngest prospects in the draft, having just turned 19 in May, so this is probably the tip of the iceberg for him.

Elite Traits/Skills: Length for Dual Guard Position, Grip Efficiency, Overall Efficiency/Shot Selection

Devil’s Advocate Arguments: Branham is a solid athlete, but his first step is unimpressive. He has relied heavily on compound punches at mid-range, and while his length, throw, and touch are encouraging that he can carry this into the NBA, it can be difficult to effectively land a shot without exploding to create a ton of space or hit guys in rim. Can Branham beat the defenders and create space without a screen? Can he consistently create an advantage against NBA defensemen and get easy buckets? If he’s primarily an off-the-ball player/secondary creator who doesn’t add a ton of defensive value, the ceiling is less exciting.

Misconceptions: One of them Branham is basically an isolated player/scorer. In college, Branham had surprisingly few isolating possessions (16 all season), and he dealt most of his damage as a pick-and-roll builder. In addition, despite the fact that his assists are somewhat mediocre, his passes are really captured on film. Off post, he anticipates the double before it happens and makes quick decisions. Outside of the pick and roll, he could hit the opposite corner just like a rollman, and even showed flashes of manipulating the defense. He may not have impressive assists, but he is a gifted passer.

Important numbers:

  • 6.9: (Good). Branham’s pick and roll in 36 minutes. In comparison, Johnny Davis had 8.0, Bennedict Maturin had 6.1, Jaden Ivey had 8.4, and Jalen Williams had 11.0.

  • 24/14: Using and Helping Branham. From this amazing piece Ben Rubin of Stepien, 22 and 12 is a good threshold for identifying potentially interesting freshmen.

  • 0.277: Branham’s free throw frequency. That’s an honor for a quarterback, and it should be noted that this increased dramatically in the second half of the season as Branham’s ball duties increased. The fact that Ohio State trusted him even more during the brutal Big Ten, when many freshmen struggle to cope with higher levels of competition and exercise, speaks volumes.

Nyx fit: In my opinion, the Knicks’ two biggest needs are true three-level scorers and versatile wingers. Malachi Branham gives the Knicks a little of both. At 6ft 5in and with a wingspan of 6ft 11in, he can play 2 or 3 and allows them to switch without giving up too much protection. Offensively, he can score effectively from anywhere. He also matches the energy and ball movement we saw in the Knicks’ youth, with his passing vision and ability to make quick decisions. It fits pretty perfectly. However, given the lack of outstanding athleticism or high-level explosion, it’s fair to wonder if this three-tier scoring will be fully implemented, and the lack of impact on defense and three-point shot volume is also fair to worry about. There might be guys with higher potential, either in terms of 3-and-D or in terms of scoring, so it’s fair to wonder if it’s better to choose someone who designs very cleanly to offer one of those two packages. and not someone else. who gives you both.

However, Branham’s glamor as a ball handler, passer and scorer at his height and age bodes really good things, and again, while he may not be a striker, he’s not going to be a liability.

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