NBA Draft 2011, New York Knicks: Donnie Walsh Putting Final Touches on Legacy

Keith SchlosserAnalyst IJune 23, 2011

NEW YORK - MAY 13: team president Donnie Walsh (R) speaks to the media as New head coach of the New York Knicks Mike D'Antoni (L)  looks on during a press conference on May 13, 2008 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

It’s no secret that Donnie Walsh has helped the New York Knicks rise from the ashes.  Unfortunately, his reign as president will come to an end after June 30th, when he will instead assume a consultant position.

The bad news is that he may not be as involved moving forward, with the team set to seek out his successor at the beginning of next month. The good news, however, is that Walsh will have a chance during Thursday’s NBA Draft to put one final stamp on his legacy in charge of the Knicks.

During his short tenure with the Knicks, Walsh has been able to do less with more, finding gems in the likes of Toney Douglas and Landry Fields with late picks. This year’s draft may be a little easier, as the Knicks will actually have their own first-round selection at pick No. 17.

Will the team draft according to need or grab the best player available? That’s always the first question.

After watching superstar Amar’e Stoudemire take quite a beating as last season went on, it’s clear that he could have used a more physical player alongside him in the frontcourt to absorb some of the bumps and bruises along the way. This is where Morehead State’s Kenneth Faried comes in.

Faried is a New Jersey native who fits the bill of that much needed physical player. Although he’s undersized at just 6’7", Faried plays with an aggressive nature, grabbing boards and playing intense defense. He’s drawn comparisons to the likes of Udonis Haslem and the Knicks’ own Ronny Turiaf, so there’s no doubt the Knicks recognize the value in him.

A physical big man is obviously a sore need for New York. That being said, if Carmelo Anthony was the general manager, he would draft Kansas combo guard Josh Selby.

The Knicks could certainly use a point guard to groom while Chauncey Billups still plays floor general for one more season, but Selby doesn’t seem to be the answer at the 1. If anything, Selby warrants comparisons to the Knicks’ Toney Douglas, who has always been more of a scorer and is not considered the answer at point guard.

If the Knicks are in fact set on finding their long-term solution at point guard in the near future, they do have a couple of options. It’s clear that there is mutual interest between the Knicks and BYU guard (and New York native) Jimmer Fredette.

Fredette, a true phenomenon, is a favorite in this year’s draft class and is said to have multiple teams who select higher than the Knicks to be interested in him. If New York feels Fredette is their man of the future, they will have to find a way to, at the very least, acquire a pick higher than the Jazz at No. 12.

What it would cost and what kind of sacrifices the Knicks would have to make to acquire such a draft pick do not seem worth it. The team gave up a lot of depth and assets in order to trade for Carmelo Anthony, so now the goal needs to be building upon a foundation rather than breaking it up.

In that case, the answer is simple for the Knicks: Draft a big man like Faried, or even the Congo’s Bismark Biyombo (although there is talk about him not being available at No. 17 either), that can take some pressure off of Amar’e Stoudemire.

If the team still desires a point guard, they can find a low risk-high reward type player in the Timberwolves’ Jonny Flynn.

Flynn, who starred at Syracuse University, appears to be the odd man out with Ricky Rubio finally arriving in Minnesota. At just 22 years old, Flynn is a prospect in himself and has all the potential in the world to be New York’s point guard of the future.

Rumor has it that he could be had for the simpler price of Toney Douglas. Drafting a big man with their current selection and acquiring Flynn would ultimately be like coming away with two picks, filling both major needs in the process.

The final call as to what goes down at the NBA Draft is of course up to Walsh and his trusted group of advisers. Having worked out a variety of players, the Knicks are also in talks to acquire a later pick in the draft as well, possibly the 30th overall selection from the Chicago Bulls.

What could happen is all speculation at this point, but one thing is for certain. Walsh has been consistent in making the right moves for the team again and again during his tenure, and tonight should be no different as he looks to put the final touches of success on his favorable reign of the Knicks. 

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