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How Good Will Iman Shumpert Be?
If there is one knock on Donnie during his tenure in New York, it would be his draft record. Any disparaging of his selections—which included Danilo Gallinari and Jordan Hill as lottery selections— would do what most that evaluate scouts don't.
That is, judge whether or not a talent evaluator has an eye for talent based on whether better players were selected after a specific pick.
("Donnie isn't a great drafter! He chose Gallo over Eric Gordon, and Gordon is better!")
In other words, rather than focusing on the truth, which is that about 75 percent of first-round picks won't enjoy long careers as starters in the NBA, neighsayers use faulty logic and compare one pick to another in a specific draft, rather than focus on the totality of one's selections and draw sensible conclusions.
In other words, look at it another way: Danilo Gallinari, Toney Douglas and Landry Fields are all quality NBA players and should be pros on Donnie's resume.
Nonetheless, the jury will be deliberating on Donnie's draft prowess until we actually see what Iman Shumpert and Josh Harrelson are able to accomplish as professionals. They will tip the scales in one direction or another.
But enough of that, here is an important fact:
In order to become a championship team in the NBA, this is almost a guarantee, you must excel in evaluating talent and drafting.
Case in point: There have been 25 NBA Finals MVPs named over the past 25 years. That's obvious. It is also obvious that there are quite a few individuals that won the award multiple times.
Here's the part that isn't obvious. In 21 out of those 25 times, the NBA Finals MVP was an individual that was drafted by the winning team. That's indicative of a necessity of drafting well to win, isn't it?
(For the record, the exceptions are Chauncey Billups (2004) and Shaquille O'Neal (2000-02)).
Also, no team has ever really "free ageneted" its way to a championship. Shaq may have been a free agent, but he had Kobe, whom the Lakers traded for a draft day, so that's tantamount to drafting him. Chauncey Billups had a unique cast of talent in Detroit which included a native draft pick in Tayshaun Prince.
Based on that evidence, there is little reason to believe that the Knicks can be successful in the post Donnie Walsh era unless they make wise decisions with their draft picks (as in, not trading them) and select young players who one day become integral cogs on winning teams.