While the dismal state of the New York Knicks can be blamed largely on awful signings and trades for players with salary cap-swallowing contracts, missing on these players in the draft hasn't helped the situation much.
This is based solely on who the Knicks could've taken with their draft pick. It is not an analysis on whether New York should've or could've traded up in the draft to select a player. Let's start with the most recent draft.
Pick: No. 8 overall, No. 29 overall
Took: Forward Jordan Hill (8th), Guard Toney Douglas (29th)
Could've Taken: Guard Brandon Jennings (10th, Milwaukee Bucks)
Analysis: Look, clearly Jennings was a mystery man coming from his one-year stop in Italy, but with Chris Duhon and Nate Robinson being the players slotted to play the point for the Knicks in 2009-10, the Knicks clearly needed a playmaker at that position.
With the team banking on LeBron James in 2010, they also should've went with a high-ceiling player like Jennings over a guy who Walsh felt was more solid in Hill.
If New York fails to get LeBron, the team will have to reboot its plans anyway. It would've been worth it to take the chance on a guy who can be a playmaker for you even if LeBron doesn't come.
Pick: No. 23 overall, would've had No. 9 overall but the Bulls had the right to swap picks thanks to the Eddy Curry trade
Took: Forward Wilson Chandler
Could've Taken (Including players they missed out on because of the Curry deal): Forward/Center Joakim Noah (9th, Chicago Bulls), Guard Aaron Brooks (26th, Houston Rockets)
Analysis: While Noah's career got off to a rough start with Chicago—he was actually benched in 2008, a unanimous decision made by his teammates—he ultimately proved his value as a high energy agitator in the Bulls' first-round scuffle with the Boston Celtics last spring.
He has stepped up his production on the court this season as well, grabbing 11.4 rpg before being sidelined with a foot injury that may cause the Bulls to miss the postseason. Brooks has become a team leader for the overachieving Houston Rockets in the absence of Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady, and like Jennings, could've provided the Knicks with the backcourt playmaker they desperately need.
Pick: No. 20 overall and No. 29 overall, would've had No. 2 overall but traded to Bulls in Eddy Curry package
Took: Renaldo Balkman (20th) and Mardy Collins (29th)
Could've Taken (Including players they missed out on because of the Curry deal): Forward LaMarcus Aldrige (2nd, Chicago Bulls, traded to Portland Trailblazers), Guard Brandon Roy (6th, Minnesota Timberwolves, traded to Portland Trailblazers), Forward Rudy Gay (8th, Houston Rockets, traded to Memphis Grizzlies), Guard Rajon Rondo (21st, Phoenix Suns, traded to Boston Celtics)
Analysis: The Curry deal clearly cost New York the chance to select from a plethora of talented players and Isaiah Thomas bombed the picks the Knicks did have. The biggest miss is Roy, who is widely regarded as a top-10 player in the league.
Pick: No. 8 overall, No. 30 overall
Took: Forward Channing Frye (8th), Forward/Center David Lee (30th)
Could've Taken: Center Andrew Bynum (10th, Los Angeles Lakers), Forward Danny Granger (17th, Indiana Pacers), Guard Monta Ellis (40th, Golden State Warriors)
Analysis: The Knicks missed out on several high-scoring guys in this draft. Granger has been a stud for the Pacers, averaging 25.8 ppg last season and 22.9 this season while Ellis is another backcourt creator, averaging 25.6 ppg and 5.2 assists in a career year this season.
Pick: No. 9 overall
Took: Forward Michael Sweetney
Could've Taken: Forward David West (18th, New Orleans Hornets), Guard Leandro Barbosa (28th, San Antonio Spurs, traded to Phoenix Suns), Forward Josh Howard (29th, Dallas Mavericks
Analysis: While New York whiffed by taking Sweetney, they had some terrible luck in having the 9th pick in a draft with LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and even Chris Kaman, who was an all star this season.
Pick: No. 7 overall
Took: Forward Nene Hilario (traded to Denver for Antonio McDyess)
Could've Taken: Forward/Center Amare Stoudemire (9th, Phoenix Suns), Forward Caron Butler (10th, Miami Heat), Forward Tayshaun Prince (23rd, Detroit Pistons), Forward Carlos Boozer (34th, Cleveland Cavaliers)
Analysis: The Knicks, along with eight other teams, missed horribly on Stoudemire, who has been an offensive force for Phoenix season after season despite having to recover from microfracture surgery.
They would've been better off taking any of the players listed above than dealing for McDyess in an ill-fated move that added to the demise of the franchise (and led to the Knicks dealing McDyess for Marbury two years later).
Pick: No. 15 overall
Took: Center Frederic Weis
Could've Taken: Forward Ron Artest (16th, Chicago Bulls)
Analysis: In retrospect, the Knicks probably dodged a bullet by not taking the downright bonkers Artest.
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