The Westchester Knicks, like a handful of D-League teams, will host open tryouts this weekend in hopes of uncovering some valuable local talent.
Despite acquiring the rights to sixteen different players earlier this offseason, building a foundation and putting the right players in place still needs to happen in the weeks to come. Of course, the NBA parent club (also the Knicks, obviously) can lend a helping hand by sending over any promising prospects they cut following training camp.
Camp invitees Langston Galloway and Travis Wear figure to play into that equation in the weeks to come. Orlando Sanchez, the Knicks' latest signing, stands to make a strong impression either way.
In just about any other season, Sanchez would appear to be just another camp body and subsequent D-League athlete. But his skill set is quite unique. One of the better passing big men at the collegiate ranks last season while representing St. John's, the forward has terrific court-vision for a player at his position. His basketball IQ is high, and his instincts are even better. His long arms aid him defensively, and what's more, he has the ability to step back and hit a consistent midrange jumper as well. There's plenty there to like, with regard to what he can offer on the court.
But even more than that, Sanchez is the kind of prospect that thrives in high-pressure moments. Having played at both Monroe College and St. John's over his college career, he's sure to be a local favorite, regardless of which Knickerbocker team he ends up representing.
The Knicks have a handful of NBA big men who have been forced to battle injuries over the course of their respective careers, so perhaps Sanchez's ever unique characteristics make him an immediate candidate for a midseason call-up (a la Jeremy Tyler season), in the event that New York needs a someone to fill a void in the front court.
For Sanchez, the next few weeks will be all about simply validating the Knicks' interest in him. He needs to prove that what you see is what you get. Will his skills translate on the NBA level? That remains to be seen, but as the league migrates more towards a European style of play, a big man who can run the open floor with ease is all the more valuable.
Whether he's soon known as a high-energy Knickerbocker, or perhaps a starring attraction in Westchester, it'll be interesting to see how Sanchez stands to make an impact. In the weeks to come, we'll learn more if he does so while donning orange and blue, or simply by putting his talents on display for other NBA teams as a D-League stud.