Knicks president Phil Jackson has announced that they have signed their 2014 draft pick, Cleanthony Early, to a contract. Early had a successful run with the team in the 2014 NBA Summer League, averaging 11.5 points to go along with 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists. The rookie shot 47% from the floor and 50% from beyond the arc.
Early is expected to a part in the Knicks’ rotation, assuming the role of Carmelo Anthony’s backup. Early shown flashes of a consistent mid-range jump shot, but was also able to display great strides in the fast break. He lacks in the passing department and rarely puts the ball on the floor, so it’ll be interesting to see if Early can adapt to the triangle offense, which requires smart passes and quick off-the-ball movement.
His defense will also play a role in his minutes during the season. He was fairly decent in the Summer League, but will need to pick up the intensity to play with the likes of forwards like LeBron James or Paul George. That being said, Early comes from a previously successful background and has the mindset of a winner. His Wichita State Shockers were undefeated in the regular season and Early said himself that his experience with that team has given him the drive to be a champion.
Look for Early to play a crucial role in the rotation after the first few months under Coach Derek Fisher. Once his shot starts falling into place, he’ll be ready to contribute right off the bench.
The terms of the deal is currently undisclosed.