Johnny Furphy isn’t a creator but he has a chance to be a well-rounded role player on the wing for the Knicks in time.

With the 2024 NBA Draft looming around the corner, the New York Knicks should be giving serious consideration to freshman Kansas Jayhawks Forward, Johnny Furphy.

Furphy has the height, size, shooting ability, and dexterity to be an interesting wing for a team like New York. Like any player, Furphy has his downsides, specifically, his defense, but a coach like Tom Thibodeau can be of great help to a player like Furphy. He can develop his weaknesses while also helping him excel at his strengths.

Furphy isn’t likely to carry a heavy load of minutes right away, but this can be an opportunity for the Knicks to pick up an optional role player for when the team seeks an extra set of hands.

Enough about me scratching the surface, let’s dive right in and look at what Johnny Furphy brings to the table and what he lacks, shall we?

Strengths and Weaknesses

While his stats with the Jayhawks aren’t mind-boggling, he is still worth a look. In his 2023-24 season, Furphy averaged 9.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.0 assists, shooting 46.6% from the field and 35.2% from beyond the arc. It is also worth mentioning that 80.0% of his field goals were at the rim and 60.7% were three-pointers. On top of that, his assist percentage at the rim is at 75.0%, per Hoop Math.

So, let’s start with his shot-making. Furphy has quite the athletic frame and is unafraid to cut into the key with aggressiveness or drive and utilize his ability to finish proficiently. When reviewing his games with Kansas, he is quite the unhesitant player and pulls a magnificent, fast jumper on his shots from the perimeter.

He’s most dangerous as an off-ball threat, where he utilizes screens to his advantage. He’s not much of a self-creator when it comes to shooting. However, for a freshman, his shooting efficiency is not bad and can be improved in time. We all saw the jump in Jaylen Brunson’s and Donte DiVincenzo’s shot-making abilities with the Knicks, so who’s to say the same can’t happen with Furphy here?

How about his rebounding? Furphy’s height is enough to pull down some key rebounds. He is quite the intuitive player and will fight on the glass for the ball, getting under the rim with command and boxing out emphatically. Bringing back my earlier point, his weight can use some work. If he wants to intimidate his opponents even more, he’ll have to gain more weight and strength to do that. Regardless, his impressive spatial awareness makes him of value on the boards.

What about his assists? Despite Furphy only dishing 1.0 assists per game in his first season with the Jayhawks, he’s trouble in fast-break opportunities. This is especially credited to his high vigilance and unselfishness, getting the ball ahead to teammates even if he doesn’t get the assist. Furphy might not be much of a playmaker, but that doesn’t have to be his job per se. He can just focus on his shot-making.

Let’s talk turnovers. Unfortunately for Furphy, he does offer relatively weak ball-handling. On occasion, he can make the wrong passes in the key when it’s too crowded, leading to fast break chances for the defense. He also has a habit of losing his handle from time to time. He’ll need to work on his ball security at the next level.

And finally, his defence. This is without a doubt the biggest thing that Furphy should aim to improve on. Even with his high stamina, Furphy gets blown by a lot. He has slow feet on inbounds plays and while navigating screens.

Still, Furphy has a few key advantages when it comes to his defensive game. That being, he’s highly active with his hands. He picks off his opponent’s possession by staying alert and maintaining his hands held up high, which in turn helps him generate some timely steals and rejections. He also isn’t afraid to get initiative by double-teaming a player in case of emergencies while also sustaining some of his remaining focus on his main man all done simultaneously. He can get pretty high up for blocks due to his advantageous size, towering his opponents almost immediately. Apart from that, I would say his best defensive strategy is forcing turnovers after he strips the ball from the offence due to his high ball IQ.

Overall

Although Furphy’s limitations are practically impossible not to catch sight of, the same can be said for his mighty contributions. Despite his slow speed on defence, limited play-making ability, and little shot-making juice, Furphy has quite a bit to offer. His size, shooting abilities from beyond the arc, emphatic cuts into the passing lanes, and strong finishing is hard to ignore. To pile more onto his strengths, being a small off-ball mover is just enough to get him used to the Knicks’ culture. He doesn’t try to do too much because his immense awareness on the court allows him to do just enough for his team.

And that right there, can be a gold mine for the Knicks.