Remembering New York Knicks' Draft Picks of the Past Decade
The New York Knicks built a reputation of making questionable draft picks in the last decade or so. Some of that can be credited to former general manager and head coach Isiah Thomas. Some of it occured under different leadership.
One thing that is certain is that most of New York's draft picks in the past 10 years have not panned out the way the team envisioned. Let's take a trip down memory lane and remember the draft picks of the last decade, starting with the 2003 NBA draft.
Michael Sweetney: 2003
The Knicks drafted Michael Sweetney No. 9 overall in the 2003 NBA draft, but he only lasted two seasons in New York and just four years in the league overall.
He played sparingly as a rookie, appearing in 42 games and averaging just 11.8 minutes in those contests. However, he put up decent numbers when he was on the court, posting 4.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, via ESPN.com.
The Georgetown product played more in his sophomore campaign, appearing in 77 games and starting 28 of them. He averaged 8.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in 19.6 minutes per game. His career in New York ended in 2005 when he was involved in the infamous sign-and-trade deal that brought Eddy Curry to the Knicks from the Chicago Bulls.
The big man spent two seasons with Chicago and never played in the NBA again.
It’s safe to say that Sweetney was one of the Knicks’ biggest draft blunders in the past decade. Not only did he not perform well on the court, but he was also involved in the trade that brought Curry to the Big Apple.
Maciej Lampe: 2003
The Knicks selected Maciej Lampe with the first pick of the second round of the 2003 NBA draft, but he never played a game for New York, as he was part of the trade that brought Stephon Marbury to the Knicks.
Lampe, a native of Poland, lasted three years in the NBA before fizzling out. He played for the Phoenix Suns for parts of two seasons, and his best year was his rookie season, when he averaged 4.6 points and 2.1 boards per game, via ESPN.com.
That was his last season in the NBA, as he headed back overseas to continue his career in Poland.
Slavko Vranes: 2003
The Knicks chose the Serbian with the No. 39 pick in the 2003 NBA draft with the hope of grooming him into a serviceable big man.
He appeared in just one NBA game, totaling three minutes of action. After getting cut by Portland, he headed back overseas and continued to play.
Vranes never played a game for the Knicks, and his time in the NBA was short-lived. Maybe New York could have found a better option early in the second round of the draft.
Trevor Ariza: 2004
New York selected Ariza in the middle of the second round of the 2004 NBA draft. He has had a productive career but got off to a slow start with New York.
He appeared in 80 games as a rookie—starting 12—but only played 17.3 minutes per game. He averaged 5.9 points and 3.0 rebounds per game, which are respectable numbers for a reserve. However, Ariza’s production dipped in the 2005-06 season.
Despite playing more minutes—he averaged 19.7 minutes—the UCLA product averaged less points per game, putting up 4.6 per game.
The Knicks dealt the swingman to the Orlando Magic in the winter of 2006 in the trade that brought Steve Francis to New York. Ariza spent parts of three seasons with Orlando before being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
He helped lead the Lakers to a championship in 2009 after appearing in all 82 games for Los Angeles. He only averaged 8.9 points per game during the regular season, but that number rose to 11.3 points with a 49.7 field-goal percentage and a 47.6 clip from downtown in 23 playoff games.
He signed with Houston in the summer of 2009 to replace Ron Artest, who had defected to the Lakers. He spent one season in Houston before getting shipped off to New Orleans in a four-team trade in August 2010.
Ariza is still with the Wizards and has found a home as a solid defender at the small forward position. The 28-year-old still has some good basketball ahead of him.
Channing Frye: 2005
The Knicks drafted the big man from Arizona eighth overall in the 2005 NBA draft. Frye had a reputation for knocking down long-range shots but was inconsistent during his two-year tenure with the Knicks.
He had a strong rookie campaign in 2005-06, posting 12.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 47.7 percent from the field, including a .333 clip from beyond the arc, via ESPN.com.
However, he struggled in his sophomore season. In 72 games played, he only averaged 9.5 points per game, shooting 43 percent from the field and posting a .167 clip from downtown.
He spent two seasons with the Trail Blazers and served as a backup. He was limited to just 17.2 minutes per game in the 2007-08 season and 11.8 minutes per game during the 2008-09 campaign.
Frye returned to Arizona before the 2009-10 season when he signed with the Suns, where he has played for four seasons, including this one. He regained his shooting touch and has not posted a three-point shooting percentage below 34.6 (not including this season) since joining the Suns.
He has built a niche in the league as a stretch big man who is capable of knocking down long-distance heaves. As long as he keeps his shooting percentages up, he can still be a productive player.
David Lee: 2005
The Knicks selected David Lee with the No. 30 pick of the 2005 NBA draft. The former Florida Gator proved to be one of the Knicks most successful draft picks in recent memory.
He spent five seasons in New York but did not become the full-time starter until his fourth season. However, he was still productive coming off the bench for the Knicks.
After only averaging 5.1 points and 4.5 rebounds in 16.9 minutes per game as a rookie, Lee averaged a double-double during his sophomore campaign. He posted 10.7 points and 10.4 rebounds per game in an average of 29.1 minutes per contest, via ESPN.com.
Lee’s numbers decreased a bit in 2007-08, but he bounced back with a breakout season the following year, posting 16 points and 11.7 boards per game. He was even better in the 2009-10 season—his last with the Knicks—posting more than 20 points and nearly 12 rebounds per game.
Despite his All-Star-caliber numbers, the Knicks decided to go in a different direction in the summer before the 2010-11 season, signing Amar’e Stoudemire and dealing Lee to the Golden State Warriors.
Lee has continued his solid play in Golden State. He has averaged at least 16.5 points and 9.4 rebounds every season. His best season was in the 2011-12 campaign, when he averaged 20.1 points and 9.6 boards per game.
He will go down as one of the Knicks' most successful draft picks in recent memory.
Dijon Thompson: 2005
Dijon Thompson went to New York with the No. 54 pick of the 2005 NBA draft. However, he never played a game for the Knicks and was dealt on draft night to the Phoenix Suns in the trade that brought Nate Robinson and Quentin Richardson.
Thompson did not send much time in Phoenix and only played in 10 games over the course of the 2005-06 season. He averaged 2.8 points in just 4.3 minutes per night.
His production declined the following season when he was playing for the Atlanta Hawks. He averaged the same 2.8 points but had a lower shooting percentage—44 percent in 2005-06 and 40 percent in 2006-07— with the Hawks in just six games played, via ESPN.com.
Thompson never played in the league again after the 2006-07 season. Despite his short tenure in the league and never having played a game for the Knicks, Thompson proved to be useful, as he helped bring Nate Robinson to New York.
Renaldo Balkman: 2006
New York’s selection of Renaldo Balkman with the No. 20 pick of the 2006 NBA draft represents another poor Isiah Thomas draft pick.
Rather than selecting someone like Rajon Rondo, who was selected one pick later by the Phoenix Suns, the Knicks went with Balkman, who was sent out of town after just two seasons and one game started.
He went to the Denver Nuggets before the 2008-09 season and stayed for two seasons and another five games into the 2010-11 season. Balkman returned to New York and appeared in three games in the 2010-11 season and 14 games the following year.
He has not played in the NBA since his short stint with the Knicks in 2011-12. For his career, he has averaged 4.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. He has never been more than a role player, and his NBA career seems to be over.
Mardy Collins: 2006
The Knicks selected Collins with the No. 29 pick of the 2006 NBA draft. He was the first player from Temple University to be drafted since the 2000 season, but he did not last long with New York.
After appearing in 98 games, 17 of which were starts, Collins was shipped out of New York and landed in Los Angeles with the Clippers. He was traded to LA in a deal involving Zach Randolph and Tim Thomas in 2008.
He never averaged more than 4.5 points per game with the Knicks, but he recorded 5.9 points in an average of 20.9 minutes per night with the Clippers during the 2008-09 season, via ESPN.com.
He spent the 2009-10 season with Los Angeles, appearing in 43 games. However, he has not played since.
Collins’ career with the Knicks was short-lived, and he never posted great numbers. Maybe he would have had a better career with more playing time, but that opportunity never presented itself for the former Owl.
Wilson Chandler: 2007
The Knicks selected Chandler out of DePaul with the No. 23 pick of the first round of the 2007 NBA draft. After two inconsistent seasons, he settled down and stepped up his game during the 2009-10 season.
He averaged 15.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in an average of 35.7 minutes per night. While he only shot 26.7 percent from downtown, he posted a 47.9 field-goal percentage for the season.
His improvements made him a valuable asset for New York, who sent him to Denver in the 2011 Carmelo Anthony trade after he averaged 16.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game to start the 2010-11 season.
Chandler played overseas during the lockout, which limited his playing time in 2011-12 to just eight games. In 2012-13, he averaged 13.0 points per night despite only starting eight games (he played in 43).
He has not played in the 2013-14 season yet after straining his hamstring during training camp. He remains out indefinitely, per ESPN.com. When he returns, look for him to put up strong numbers if he can stay healthy.
Danilo Gallinari: 2008
In a surprising move, Donnie Walsh and the Knicks drafted the 19-year-old Gallinari with the No. 6 pick of the 2008 NBA draft.
During his playing days in Italy, Gallinari was a member of the Italian National Team and was named the 2008 Euroleague Rising Star, via Euroleague.net.
His rookie campaign was cut short due to injury after just 28 games for the Knicks. He bounced back during the 2009-10 season, playing in 81 games and averaging 15.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per night while shooting 42.3 percent from the field and sinking an impressive 38.1 percent of his three-point shots, via ESPN.com.
However, Gallinari’s tenure in New York ended during the 2010-11 season, as he was the centerpiece of the Carmelo Anthony trade that brought ‘Melo to New York from the Nuggets.
The native Italian has dealt with injuries during most of his time in Denver. He has appeared in just 128 games—not including the playoffs—in his three years with the Nuggets.
Gallinari tore his ACL in April 2013 and has not played since. According to ESPN.com, he is scheduled to “ramp up” his rehab program next week. When he comes back, he should be able to return as a solid contributor for Denver.
Jordan Hill: 2009
The former Arizona product was drafted eighth overall by the Knicks in the 2009 NBA draft. Hill’s selection drew boos from the crowd at the draft despite the big man’s production in college.
He averaged 18.3 points and 11 rebounds as a junior, and the Knicks and coach Mike D’Antoni were high on him, via Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.
Our scouts have (Hill) rated as the second-best player in the draft, said Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I think he can be a really good player. He's long. He can really run the floor. He's got range and he can block shots.
Hill never had a chance in New York from the start. Fans were outraged that the Knicks missed out on Stephen Curry, who was selected one pick ahead of the Knicks by the Golden State Warriors.
Hill was shipped off to the Houston Rockets in the Tracy McGrady trade in January 2010, which ended his Knicks career with just 24 games played. He spent two-and-a-half seasons with Houston before moving on to the Los Angeles Lakers before the 2011-12 season.
While Hill has never posted numbers similar to his college days, he has become a solid role player for the Lakers over the last couple of seasons. In the 2012-13 season, he averaged 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in just 15.8 minutes per night.
Hill never had a chance to make an impact for the Knicks. Now, he is a contributing rotation player with the ability to fill in as a starter when necessary. Maybe the Knicks should have held onto him for a little while longer.
Toney Douglas: 2009
The Knicks acquired the rights to Douglas when the team bought the No. 29 pick in the first round of the 2009 NBA draft for $3 million.
Douglas was a solid role player for the Knicks and even served time as the starting point guard under D’Antoni, after the team cut Chauncey Billups in favor of signing Tyson Chandler.
The Florida State product started a total of 30 games during his three years with the Knicks, including 12 in his rookie season. His best year in New York was his sophomore campaign, when he averaged 10.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
Douglas was shipped out of New York in the sign-and-trade with Houston centered around Marcus Camby. The point guard spent the 2012-13 season with Houston and played sparingly, only appearing in 49 games.
He moved on to the Sacramento Kings when he was included in the Thomas Robinson trade that sent the big man to Houston. After an uneventful tenure with the Kings, Douglas signed with the Golden State Warriors in the summer of 2013, where he has started the 2013-14 season.
Douglas has the potential to be a solid role player. He has a strong motor on defense and is capable of knocking down open shots. He just needs to find a team willing to give him some time to grow.
Andy Rautins: 2010
The Knicks selected Rautins with the 38th pick of the 2010 NBA draft. The former Syracuse guard has not had much of an NBA career, only playing in five total games, all during the 2010-11 season.
Rautins has played in the D-League and performed well, averaging 13.3 points in 29.4 minutes per night for the Tulsa 66ers. In four seasons with Syracuse, Rautins was never a star but was decent when he was on the court.
He averaged 8.8 points on 39.6 percent shooting and a 37.4 clip from beyond the arc. His best season with the Orange was his last, as he posted 12.1 points per game and shot over 40 percent from downtown in 32.5 minutes per night.
It is not known whether Rautins will ever play again at the NBA level, but one thing is certain: His involvement in the trade with Dallas helped bring Chandler to New York, which makes him worth the draft pick.
Landry Fields: 2010
Landry Fields proved several people wrong when he contributed at the NBA level for the Knicks after the team drafted him with the 39th pick of the 2010 NBA draft.
He started 81 games for head coach Mike D’Antoni during the 2010-11 season, averaging 9.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game for New York in 31 minutes of action per game, via ESPN.com.
While his 2011-12 season was not as productive, the Knicks still had him in their future plans, as the team was hesitant to involve him in the Carmelo Anthony blockbuster trade.
In his first season with Toronto, Fields appeared in 51 games, starting 22. He only averaged 20.3 minutes per game,and posted 4.7 points and 4.1 rebounds on 45.7 percent shooting, the lowest season total of his NBA career.
He still has a chance to be a productive role player for an NBA team and is looking to turn things around with a solid 2013-14 season for the Raptors.
Iman Shumpert: 2011
When the Knicks used the 17th pick of the 2011 draft to select Iman Shumpert, many experts and analysts, including ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, blasted outgoing general manager Donnie Walsh for passing over more proven commodities.
Once realizing they actually passed up Chris Singleton, a 6-foot-9, 230-pound forward deemed capable of defending at least three positions on the floor, who finished his last two seasons at Florida State on the All-Defensive team, forgive me for believing the Knicks actually lived up to their middle name.
As it turns out, the Knicks did well in drafting the former Georgia Tech product. He had a strong rookie season, posting 9.5 points, 3.2 rebound, 2.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game in an average of 28.9 minutes per night. His performance earned him All-Rookie First-Team honors following the season.
However, in the 2012 playoffs, he tore his ACL against the Miami Heat and missed the beginning of the 2012-13 season. He returned to the team in January 2013 and managed to play in 45 games—albeit receiving limited minutes (22.1 per game)—before regaining his form in the playoffs.
In 12 games during the 2013 playoffs, he averaged 9.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game in more than 28 minutes of action per night. And who can forget his highlight-reel putback slam against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden?
That play alone proved that Shumpert regained his form, and he seems like the Shumpert of old to begin the 2013-14 season. He has been more aggressive on both offense and defense and has earned a starting spot in Mike Woodson’s rotation.
Shumpert has continued to improve, and with the uncertainty surrounding Carmelo Anthony’s free agency, he is the future of the New York Knicks.
Josh Harrellson: 2011
The Knicks acquired the rights to Josh Harrellson from the New Orleans Hornets during the second round of the 2011 NBA draft.
The big man out of Kentucky performed well in his rookie season under head coach Mike D’Antoni, averaging 4.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per night while shooting 42 percent from the field and about 34 percent from beyond the arc, via ESPN.com.
However, when Woodson replaced D’Antoni in March 2012, Harrellson’s playing time dipped. His career in New York soon came to an end.
The former Wildcat was dealt in the offseason as part of a sign-and-trade with the Houston Rockets centered around Marcus Camby. Houston chose not bring keep Harrellson, who was eventually signed by the Miami Heat for the 2012-13 season.
However, he rarely saw the court and appeared in just six games for the Heat, averaging 1.7 points and 1.2 rebounds per night.
This season, he is on the Detroit Pistons’ roster but has yet to see any playing time. He has the potential to be a solid energy player for the right team in the right system. He played well for D’Antoni, and all he needs is another chance to make an impact.
Kostas Papanikolaou: 2012
The Knicks selected Kostas Papanikolaou with the No. 48 of the 2012 NBA draft. The team drafted him with the intent to stash him overseas to polish his game before bringing him to New York.
However, it turned out Papanikolaou was not part of New York’s plan after all, as he was traded to the Houston Rockets as part of a sign-and-trade deal that brought starting point guard Raymond Felton to New York in the summer of 2012.
He has yet to make the move to the NBA and continues to play overseas for the Olympiacos Piraeus of the Greek League, where he has a good reputation.
According to NBA.com, Papanikolaou was voted the Euroleague Rising Star Trophy winner following the 2012-13 season and helped his team clinch the 2013 Euroleague championship.
While he may some day be a solid NBA player, he is still not there yet. However, his potential is what helped bring Felton back to New York, which has turned out to be a smart move for the Knicks.
Tim Hardaway Jr.: 2013
The Knicks selected Tim Hardaway Jr. with the 24th pick in the first round of the 2013 NBA draft. New York hopes that he will carry some of the same basketball traits of his father.
According to the New York Post, former general manager Glen Grunwald said after the draft, “He’s obviously got some bloodlines from someone who had a great NBA career."
The Knicks scouts loved what they saw from Hardaway Jr. during predraft workouts, citing his shooting ability, strong defense and poise, via Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Hardaway Jr. posted solid college numbers, including 14.3 points per game on 42.5 percent shooting and 4.1 rebounds per game.
The rookie has had a strong start to his NBA career and seems to be a major part of Woodson’s rotation.
While it is too soon to evaluate him at the NBA level, the New York Knicks are confident they have found a keeper in the former Wolverine.