There is one thing all Knicks fans should have wanted to see their team do on the night of the 2010 NBA Draft.
Do the right thing!
Doing the right thing is exactly what the Knicks did and, somewhere, filmmaker and longtime Knicks fan Spike Lee is smiling. But how exactly did New York do the right thing by drafting Syracuse point guard Andy Rautins and Stanford small forward Landry Fields 38th and 39th overall in the second round?
The Knicks simply took the best players available, considering that their favorites, Nevada point guard Armon Johnson and New Mexico forward Darrington Hobson, were off the board. Donnie Walsh refused to trade up to enter the first round and opted not to use any of the cap space he has so masterfully created over the past two seasons.
With the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat making trades to free up even more cap space recently, making sure the Knickerbockers still had enough money to sign two max-contract free agents this summer was the right move.
However, not every Knicks fan shares the same sentiment.
While viewing numerous Knicks message boards and listening to local sports talk radio since the draft, I have heard the displeasure of many fans on their 2010 draft picks.
Many of the orange and blue faithful wanted the team to select local talent Lance Stephenson, but I think we all remember how things ended the last time a highly touted player from Coney Island played at the Garden.
Prior to the draft, I wrote on how the Knicks needed to come out of this draft with players that could crack head coach Mike D'Antoni's rotation. Picking in the second round of the NBA Draft and finding players that are NBA ready is a total crapshoot .
Therefore, as a Knicks fan, you have to hope that one of the two players they drafted back to back in the second round can contribute a few minutes in the rotation and become a part of the team's young core.
For the Knicks fans screaming that they should have taken someone else. I ask, who taken after Rautins and Fields was significantly better?
The answer is simple: Nobody.
Maybe you are Knicks fan who wanted to see Stephenson grace the Garden floor, as he did while winning four straight PSAL titles at Abraham Lincoln High School, but for aforementioned reasons, that was not happening.
Maybe you believe the Knicks should have focused on other areas of need, such as drafting a big man. While I agree that was their biggest area of need, there was no center available that was a better talent to make the roster than Rautins or Fields.
There are reports that, according to a team source, the Knicks have traded for Tulsa center Jerome Jordan, who was picked by the Bucks, which would address the need for a young defensive-minded big man.
If one of the three players who are not guaranteed a contract impresses the Knicks during the Summer League and makes the roster, then this draft will have been a success.
It is way too early to get down about the Knicks selections of three second-rounders when they did exactly what they were supposed to at the positions they picked, which is to take the best player available.
Rautins is an excellent shooter who I can see excelling in D'Antoni's offense and I would consider the most likely of the three to make the roster for the upcoming season.
Fields, who I saw play a ton in the Pacific-10 this season, is an excellent scorer but needs to bulk up; and if the Knicks can get any kind of intensity as far as rebounding and shot-blocking from Jordan, then it is a plus.
The bottom line here is the Knicks were not going to get a franchise savior in the second round.
The objective was to try to get at least one NBA-ready player who can contribute to the team in the 2010-2011 season.
Chances are that one of these players will contribute next season for the Knickerbockers. However, more importantly, the Knicks stayed in great shape to rebuild this team via free agency by not dipping into their cap space.
The actual rebuilding of the New York Knicks did not begin on June 24th; instead it begins on July 1st. The Knicks and their loyal fanbase have been waiting patiently for the opportunity to potentially sign two major players this summer.
After the draft, they still had the opportunity to do such all because they did the right thing.