aj griffin
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AJ Griffin is riding a rollercoaster. He came into his freshman season at Duke as one of the highest-rated prospects in the country but fell down on draft boards after a slow start. However, he stabilized his draft prospects with a strong second half of the season.

His three-point shooting is elite, even if his shot is unconventional. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and Griffin’s shot definitely ain’t broke.

Any hopes of the New York Knicks landing a top-four pick were dashed on Tuesday night. Instead, they are standing pat at 11, which could put them in a position to draft Griffin, a New York native and former star at Archbishop Stepinac in White Plains.

Strengths: Three-Point Shooting, NBA Body

Griffin’s shot is a bit awkward looking, but it’s impossible to argue with the results. It’s not the fastest release around and his wide base makes it more of a set shot, but again, the proof is in the pudding. Griffin shot 44.7% from three on more than four attempts per game.

Most of his three-point attempts were on catch-and-shoot in transition, kick-outs, or off of screens. There is a place in the NBA for someone who can knock down shots at a consistent clip.

The rest of Griffin’s game is a bit rough around the edges, but he has an NBA body. At 6-foot-6, he’s strong enough to match up with threes or fours. That solid frame is a big reason why he projects as a strong finisher at the rim. What he lacks in speed and quickness, he makes up for in brute strength. Even at 18 years old, he’s not going to be pushed around by anyone.

Weaknesses: Defensive Consistency, Shot Creation

Calling these “weaknesses” for Griffin is a bit harsh. He has the tools to become a high-level NBA starter, but he needs to show more consistency on both ends.

The three-point shooting is a translatable skill for Griffin. If he can add defensive consistency on the wing, he will be worth his weight in gold in the NBA. Teams love the 3-and-D archetype and Griffin is so close to reaching that point.

If he adds the defensive consistency to his three-point shooting, he’s going to be a rotation player at the very least.

Fit With the Knicks

The Knicks have a few needs going into the draft. Adding another ballhandler always seems to be on the list of needs for the orange and blue this time of year. Mitchell Robinson’s impending free agency could coax the Knicks into drafting a big man.

With that said, NBA teams can never have enough wings. Griffin is a bit undersized as a true four, but he has the physicality to make up for his lack of height. He might need some time to develop consistency on defense, but Tom Thibodeau could be the perfect coach to drill that into him.

Every NBA team could use another dead-eye three-point shooter. That includes the Knicks. If Griffin falls to 11 and the Knicks hold onto this pick, he’s going to be the best player available. It could be a homecoming for the White Plains native.

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NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.