New York Knicks: Josh Harrellson is an Impact Player – Fan Take

New York Knick's center/forward Josh Harrellson has always had an uphill climb. At the beginning of his final year at Kentucky, nobody thought that Harrellson had a shot to get drafted into the NBA. When Enes Kanter (now with Utah) was ruled ineligible, the door to a prominent role on the Wildcats was opened and Harrellson seized the opportunity.

Harrellson became a good rebounder and decent scorer for the Wildcats. He improved his overall game and showed toughness that is desirable in the NBA. His signature game might have been in the NCAA tournament against Ohio State when he was matched up with Jared Sullinger. Sullinger had a good game but Harrellson more than held his own against the future lottery pick. He scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. NBA scouts had to take notice of him after that game. The Knicks took him with the 15th pick in the second round in the NBA draft. However, he still seemed to lack the talent to make an impact in the NBA.

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When scouts looked at Harrellson, they probably saw a big, strong, tough guy who could put a body on someone for 10 minutes a night. He can't run the floor very well. He basically plods his way up and down the floor. He isn't very quick, either. Those scouts probably thought that he would need time in the NBDL. However, in the preseason, Harrellson played surprisingly well. In their final preseason game against the New Jersey Nets, he played 24 minutes and hauled in 10 boards. He didn't shoot well (2-10) overall but he did hit two three pointers in six tries from beyond the arc. His overall strong play earned him a spot in the regular-season rotation.

Harrellson's three point shooting skills are a shock to most everyone. At Kentucky, he took 10 three pointers in his senior season and made only two of them. Ray Allen does not have to be worried about the three point record or anything but Harrellson can hit threes surprisingly well. He has made more than three in a game twice and is shooting over 30% from downtown. A big man that can spread the floor hitting beautiful, rainbow threes is a plus. Coach Mike D'Antoni will need bench scoring and he may have stumbled into the answer with Harrellson.

Of course, Harrellson can rebound. Despite his lack of height, quickness, and agility, Harrellson does very well under the glass. In his first start, he had a double-double against Sacramento on December 31st with 14 points and 12 boards. He has pulled in over five rebounds in four different games since then in his limited minutes.

The Knicks have a superstar front court with Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, and Carmelo Anthony. Renaldo Balkman had his chance to be the first man off the bench after that to come in and grab rebounds and play defense. Unfortunately for him, Harrellson has taken the opportunity again.

At Kentucky, Harrellson was known as Jorts and was a huge fan favorite. He will endear himself to Knicks' fans the same way. Harrellson could end up with a Bill Lambier-like career. Lambier was a double-digit rebounder and perimeter threat with the bad boy Detroit Pistons. When Harrellson gets his chance at 30 minutes a game, he will do the same thing.

Having grown up in Kentucky, I am a lifelong Kentucky Wildcat fan and follow the Wildcat players into the NBA. You can follow me on Twitter here. Still want more? Go to my blog.

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Updated Thursday, Jan 12, 2012