Although the Knicks did not have a first round draft selection in this year’s draft, there was still hope the team could improve its talented young core with its two second round picks.
Instead, the WaMu Theater at Madison Garden groaned with disappointment from Knicks fans scattered all around as their team selected Andy Rautins of Syracuse (38th) and Landry Fields of Stanford. (39th).
Unfortunately, for the Knicks, this draft drew two terrifying parallels to dreadful drafts of years past.
At 38, the Knicks were long hoping to snag Darington Hobson. As the draft progressed, it appeared that Donnie Walsh did not have to buy a first round pick in order to get Hobson.
Instead, Hobson was the 37th overall pick, one before the Knicks.
Walsh responded by selecting Rautins with the 38th overall pick. Fans may recall last year’s draft when Walsh drafted Jordan Hill with the 8th overall pick after Stephen Curry was taken by the Warriors just one pick prior.
The Knicks might win some hometown points by drafting a player out of Syracuse. The fact that he can shoot the three all day long should help Rautins in a system like Coach D’Antoni’s, but unfortunately, his overall skill set is otherwise limited. The term “one trick pony” comes to mind.
The second of the parallels will hit much closer to home for Knicks fans. Reports had former Lincoln High School star Lance Stephenson high on the Knicks’ list in the days leading up to the draft, but the team instead went with Landry Fields at 39. The Pacers wasted no time scooping up Stephenson with the very next pick.
The Knicks left fans with similar disappointment when the team chose to forgo selecting the homegrown Ron Artest in the 1999 draft, while at same time, watch him be selected just one pick later.
Everyone knows what a player like Artest can end up accomplishing. The Knicks can only pray they did not make the same mistake in letting Stephenson pass them by.
The opposite of Rautins, Fields is a very athletic wingman with a good rebounding ability for a player his size. The fact that he was selected, instead of Stephenson, will likely hurt his favor with Knicks fans more than anything else.
Both players have talent. However, they both could have probably been signed as a free agent after the draft. Neither one was expected to be selected that high in the draft, let alone, in the draft at all.
It was not until later that Walsh seemingly salvaged the draft.
Newsday’s Alan Hahn reports that the Knicks have purchased the rights to the 44th pick, Tulsa’s Jerome Jordan, from the Bucks.
Many insiders believed the Knicks were going to select Jordan with one of its original picks. He is certainly more of what the Knicks seem to be lacking; a seven-foot center with strong rebounding and shot-blocking abilities.
It will be interesting to see how Walsh feels about his selections, as well as how Coach D’Antoni envisions each prospect fitting into his system.
Until then, not much more can be said. At the same time, the uncertainty of each pick’s potential is a major let down.
The Knicks definitely lost points tonight by letting Stephenson escape through their fingers, but redeem themselves by picking up Jordan.
It is just a shame the team actually had to purchase another pick to get Jordan, rather than simply selecting him earlier.
Overall Knicks’ 2010 NBA Draft Grade: C