The New York Knicks NBA Summer League roster had some interesting players but only one real Knicks draft pick (Trevor Keals, Round 2, 2022) from the past three years. This meant that undrafted players were going to have their time to shine and shine on this Knicks team. One of this offseason’s undrafted prospects, Jaylen Martin, looked good, but 2019 undrafted free agent Charlie Brown Jr. He is the player who can actually make it into the team for the 2023-24 season.
Why could Charlie Brown Jr. be included on the 2023-34 Knicks roster?
The Knicks went undrafted in the 2023 NFL Draft, so it’s no surprise that the team had several undrafted players playing on the NBA Summer League team. In fact, the team’s top four scorers in Vegas – Daquan Jeffries, Charlie Brown Jr., Jaylen Martin, and QJ Peterson – were all unused players.
However, there may be only one player who has the most potential to make the team, and that player is Charlie Brown Jr.
With all due respect to Jeffries and Peterson, the two biggest standouts on the Knicks’ NBA Summer League roster were Brown and Martin. Brown played 29 minutes per game in four games and averaged 19.8 points, 2.0 assists, 6.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 1.8 blocks and shot 37.5% from 3-point range.
Martin was good too. He averaged 13.0 points, 3.3 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.0 steals while shooting 28.6% from 3-point range.
If you just go by the numbers, it will be easy to choose between these two players to join the Knicks roster in the upcoming NBA season. Brown scored more, shot better from deep, and was better on defense. However, it is not that simple for several reasons.
Brown is 26 years old. He played in the St. Joseph was in his hometown of Philadelphia before going undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft. He nevertheless made his professional debut that season, playing 10 sports for the atlanta hawks. Over the next two seasons, Brown played 31 games for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks and the Philadelphia 76ers. Last season he spent the entire year with the Sixers’ G League team, the Delaware Blue Coats.
Martin, on the other hand, doesn’t have the baggage and history that Brown has, but he has just as many question marks.
The 19-year-old Florida native decided to forgo college and play for Overtime Elite, the same program that Amen and Ausar Thompson played in last season. OTE is a newer concept where players are immersed in basketball to prepare for the draft. The point is, we don’t know how good the competition is and whether it actually creates these possibilities because there is no track record yet.
Seeing both Jaylen Martin and Charlie Brown Jr. In the Knicks Summer League team, it is clear that New York has at least two untapped players who can help the team this season. What’s more likely to make Brown’s roster — other than his age and experience — is that he just does more things better, and he does so in areas where the Knicks need help.
Brown and Martin are basically the same size (6-foot-6, about 200 pounds), but they play differently. Martin is a combo guard, while Brown is a wing. And in the Vegas NBA Summer League, Brown showed that he has the potential to become the 3-and-D wing in the league.
The Browns’ defense has been tougher than anything this summer. He can guard multiple spots and create havoc with blocks and steals. The young veteran also performed well for his size and displayed his ball handling ability, especially in transition. And he hit more than 37% of his 3-point shots, which is important if he wants to stay with the Knicks.
As for Martin, he also showed glimpses of his talent all over the court. The issues were that he is raw overall, hasn’t played high-level basketball recently, and his shooting from deep was poor.
That’s all right for a teenager making the jump from OTE to the NBA. The problem for the Knicks is that Martin will not help as much this season as Brown will. In addition, at 26, Brown is probably still the same, and after several years in the G League, he is ready to leave with a big club. Martin just needs full-time playing time against the best players he can face.
That’s why Martin will likely spend the majority of his rookie year on the Westchester Knicks, while Brown could start the season on the bench for the real Knicks.
Someday Martin could be a real player, maybe even a starter. However, in 2023, it will be Brown who is the undrafted Knicks Summer League player most likely to make the 2023-24 roster.