Stephenson may fall to Knicks

The Knicks don’t have a pick in the draft until No. 38, but that might be good enough to snag Brooklyn native and Lincoln High product Lance Stephenson, whose stock has fluctuated from mid-first round to early second round.

Stephenson, a 19-year-old shooting guard, worked out for the Knicks yesterday at their training facility in Greenburgh, N.Y., and entertained the thought of playing for his hometown team.

“I always grew up wanting to play for the Knicks,” Stephenson said after the workout, which included shooting drills, one-on-one and three-on-three exercises. “So if they pick me, I’ll be very happy.”

Stephenson, 19, is entering the draft after one season at Cincinnati in which he averaged 12.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game, and was named Big East Rookie of the Year.

He said during the season that he chose Cincinnati over St. John’s because he felt smothered in New York and needed to go elsewhere to escape the pressure brought on by winning four PSAL titles and setting the all-time scoring record for New York State.

Stephenson said he is ready to return to New York after a one-year sabbatical.

“I think I’m more comfortable with coming back and playing with the Knicks,” he said. “I think it’d be better for the Knicks in a lot of ways because I grew up in New York. I think a lot more people will come out and watch the games knowing that I’m from New York and that I played in New York since my high school career.”

At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Stephenson has an NBA-ready body but questionable shooting skills. Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni’s system relies heavily on outside shooting, but Stephenson said he believes he would fit well in the system.

“He likes up and down, and that’s the type of player that I [am],” Stephenson said. “A lot of people say I need to work on my jump shot, so I’ve been in the gym shooting a lot of reps.”

The Knicks need help on defense, and Stephenson was named Cincinnati’s Defensive Player of the Year.

“I can bring defense [to a team],” Stephenson said. “[I’m trying to] show that I’m a leader, and I think I bring a lot of energy to a team and help them win games.”

Knicks officials were unavailable to comment on the workout, but prospect Samardo Samuels, who also worked out for the Knicks yesterday, said Stephenson played with a lot of confidence in the workout.

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