Friday, June 24, 2011
Worst Knicks Draft Misses
Last night saw another controversial (to say the least) draft pick by our Knickerbockers that will surely be second guessed and ridiculed for years to come, depending on how this mysterious Iman Shumpert character turns out. The funny thing about drafts (particularly NBA drafts) is that it's so easy to look back at picks in hindsight as horrible moves. It's a total crap shoot but some picks (like arguably Shumpert) are indefensible no matter how you look at them, especially when compared to who could have been picked in their place. Let's start second guessing some professional picks that went horribly, horribly wrong.
2009- Jordan Hill over Brandon Jennings, Dejaun Blair (8th pick)
Donnie Walsh's one huge blunder (before last night's pick) was picking LLoyd Banks impersonator and all around useless Arizona Forward Hill with the 8th pick. This misguided decision will always be remembered for the guy who was picked next: Brandon Jennings. The pick would look even worse after Jennings scored 50 in his first month in the league while Jordan averaged 4 points and 2 rebounds in hardly any minutes for the hapless Knicks. Sigh. To be fair, many teams had doubts about Jennings, who spent the previous season overseas instead of college, and no one but the always sneaky Spurs knew Dejuan Blair would be as good as he was. Hill was eventually shipped out alongside fellow talentless waste of life Jared Jeffries. Curse you, Jordan Hill. Personal note: I was lucky enough to go to a draft party that season where I got to meet future legends Jordan Hill and Hasheem Thabeet. I'll tell my grandchildren that one day. They will laugh at me and then have me committed.
2002-Nene Hilario (traded along with Marcus Camby for Antonio McDyess) over Amare Stoudemire and Caron Butler (9th pick)
This is just one giant clusterfuck of awful draft day shenanigans on the Knicks' parts. Firstly, the Knicks overlooked the guy who turned their season around 8 years later (who knows how things would have turned out if Amare started his career here instead of finishing it) as well as Caron "Tough Juice" Butler (who's 10 times better and tougher than anyone on their roster for the next 8 years) and then in an equally terrible move, they turn around and trade the player formerly known as Hilario (before the Brazilian got all soccer starish) who would turn out to be a serviceable center for years to come along with their other best center not named Patrick in Camby, for (get this) Antonio McDyess and his one good knee. Predictably, McDyess would injure himself in his very first preseason game (I had the pleasure of witnessing this first hand) and then continued to limp around the Knicks for a couple more years before thankfully being shipped off to fulfill his rightful role as old wily vet on championship teams like the Spurs and Pistons. Kind of sums up the Knicks in the 2000s; draft a guy who could have helped them ahead of guys who could have helped them more and then immediately trade him and your fan favorite center for a washed up old cripple. Go New York Go!
1978-Michael Ray Richardson over Larry Bird (5th pick)
Sam Bowie and Portland get a lot of grief from everyone but Bottle for committing the ultimate draft day screw-up (Jay-z even had a memorable line referencing this) but almost everyone (including me) forget that Jordan wasn't the only 80s NBA savior who was overlooked by a couple of teams. None other than Larry Legend himself was passed over by no less than 5 NBA teams in '78 including (of course) our Knicks who decided to go with Sugar Ray ahead of the Hick from French Lick (Phil Ford and Rick Robey, you weren't so hot either). We all know what happened once Bird finally joined the Celtics after finishing his senior year at Indiana State: he would go on to become one of the greatest and most clutch players who ever touched a basketball, win championships, and 3 point contests, and make the entire planet fall in love with professional basketball again along side Magic Johnson and Jordan. Michael Ray Richardson got himself banned for life from the NBA because of a severe cocaine addiction and is most famous for saying of the Knicks collapsing season: "The ship be sinkin'". Yes, it be sinkin' indeed.
1999- Frederic Weis over Ron Artest (15th pick)
If this were one of Blacky's favorite lists, then it would be real tight between this choice and the Bird choice. Of course Bird was better than Ron-Ron by a million miles, but in '99, the Knicks took one of the easiest no-brainer lay-ups of a pick, and totally botched it. Queensbridge's own Ron Artest was somehow still available when the Knicks picked at 15 (they weren't always in the lottery back in the '90s). Everyone knew what was coming next: The Knicks would take the St. John's product and homeboy Artest; the perfect type of NY player that the fans would love post Oakley and Mason, who was a hard nosed and defensive minded beast. It's all coming together for these Knicks. And then David Stern announced the words that will forever haunt Knicks fans and would basically signal the beginning of the darkest period in New York basketball history: "With the 15th pick in the 1999 NBA draft, the New York Knicks select Frederic Weis from somewhere in France". After the dust settled from that atomic bomb of stupidity, insult was added to injury as our boy Weis became the victim of the most humiliating dunk in basketball history. What's French for "this negro's scrotum is in my mouth?". After that emasculating moment, he was never to be seen or heard from again and Metta would become a champion and complex genius (or insane person, but still a champion). Sacre Bleu!
2006 and 2007- Nobody
That's right. Nobody was drafted for 2 years by the Knicks because we traded our draft picks for such superstars as Jamal Crawford and Eddy Curry. Not only were draft picks thrown around like candy for unproven and out of shape losers, but they weren't (most importantly) lottery protected. This was because the scumbag in charge, Isiah Thomas, (who actually was not bad at drafting when he didn't trade the picks) assumed that the Knicks would be such a power house of a team with these new players now dominating the games, that those picks would be worth next to nothing and probably be in the late second round if anything. Except the Knicks would be instead be unbelievably (and predictably) putrid, and end up with the 2nd pick in 2006 and the 6th in 2007 (which would both end up in Chicago). Although he was no longer with the team, his reign of terror extended all the way to last season when the Knicks were denied another lottery pick (ultimately ending up in Utah) thanks to the genius of Zeke. Thank you, Isiah Thomas, for teaching us that even worse than a draft pick misused is one that you never had to begin with. You miserable snake.
Where will last night's pick end up in the pantheon of Knicks idiocy? Only time will tell. If Shumpert doesn't pan out, like we all expect, rest assured that we will be here to ridicule him.