Even following an 1-1 showing at the 2018 NBA G League Showcase, the Westchester Knicks still own the minor league’s best record at 19-10. With a strong team that has a good combination of youth, length and bigs down low, this team is a force to be reckoned with.
Early standout Trey Burke will reportedly earn a call-up to the affiliated NBA Knickerbockers. What will the rest of the season hold for Westchester? Here are some bold predictions going forward.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes Will Earn A Call-Up
Through the first two months of the season, several players have stood out for the Westchester Knicks. While one of those players is expected to earn a call-up before the start of the G League Showcase, there’s another player who could follow in Burke’s footsteps.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes could garner interest with a call-up. In the first half of the season, the guard has shown he can be a solid passer and find his teammates in the right situations.
Last month, he showed some improvements with his perimeter game. Rathan-Mayes shot 39% from deep in December and has continued to improve in the new year. The Westchester guard finishes well around the rim finishes under the basket well, especially through contact.
He’s especially active on the defensive end and gets in the passing lane. He is a solid on-ball defender. Rathan-Mayes is one of the top rebounding guards in the G League, which he uses to his advantage since he can push it in transition with either rim taking it to the rack or finding one of his teammates for the basket.
The Knicks’ training camp invitee is one of two players, along with Daniel Hamilton, to average at least 15 points, six rebounds and six assists per game this season.
Since Westchester joined the G League for the 2014-15 season, at least one player has earned a call-up each season. In 2015 and 2016, there were two Dub Knicks call-ups each year. Expect that trend to continue this season with more Knicks getting called up this season.
The Westchester Knicks Will Be Featured During All-Star Weekend
Which one to choose? The All-Star Game? The three-point shooting contest? The dunk contest? Let’s try all of them.
Through the first half of the season, Xavier Rathan-Mayes has shown he is one of the top guards in the NBA G League. Not only has he shown to be active on the defensive end, but he has formed a solid backcourt alongside Trey Burke. Rathan-Mayes has played a big role in Westchester’s early success and has shown he can greatly impact the game on both ends of the floor. The Westchester guard has a good chance of being the third Dub Knicks to be selected to the G League All-Star Game.
While Paul Watson has said he’s more of an in-game dunker (which was seen with a baseline reverse slam against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants) it would be interesting to see what he could throw down. Watson competed in the Final Four Slam Dunk Contest where he threw down an impressive windmill dunk off a lob to himself.
Westchester is the No. 1 three-point shooting team in the NBA G League. With a versatile front court with Nigel Hayes and Luke Kornet, both players have made the team’s offense stronger and more lethal. Hayes has excelled off his catch and shoot opportunities, while Kornet has such a smooth stroke with his threes. Both have shown they could knock down threes and could have a good chance to win the three-point contest.
It’s been almost two years since Jimmer Fredette and Jordan Bachynski represented Westchester in the All-Star Game. With a roster of players who are talented in separate fields, it’s time for the next group of Dub Knicks to represent Westchester in the All-Star festivities.
Playoffs? Are we talking about playoffs?
Through the first half of the season, the Westchester Knicks have the best record in the NBA G League and have a two and half game lead in the Atlantic Division.
As currently constituted, the Westchester Knicks could have one of the top team in the G League. With the offensive firepower this team has, it will be hard to stop this team. The Knicks have several players that are capable threats from the perimeter. Nigel Hayes can get it done on the block and has shown to be one of the top three-point shooters in the G League. Isaiah Hicks is an effective force down low, especially on the defensive end, and can get out and hit some shots.
The bench has stepped up in several games. Paul Watson has had several solid games offensively and has the length and athleticism to be productive on the defensive end. Adam Woodbury has made an impact on the glass and averages nearly two (1.9) offensive rebounds per game, which helps create second chance opportunities for the team. Billy Garrett has shown good hands on the defensive end, brings energy and hustle to the team, and has made some good passes as well.
Three players have experienced success at the collegiate level, which would be beneficial if Westchester can get into the playoffs.
A lot can change in the second half of the season. Trey Burke is expected to be called up by the New York Knicks. Luke Kornet or Isaiah Hicks could be with the big club as part of their two-way contract. If Westchester expects to make the playoffs and the roster changes in the second half of the season, the bench may need to take on a heavier load if players get called up.