Renaldo Balkman: New York Knicks Draft Disasters

Hot Stove New YorkSenior Writer IMay 21, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 11:  Renaldo Balkman #34 of the South Carolina Gamecocks celebrates, South Carolina's 65-61 win over the Kentucky Widcats during the semifinals on day 3 of the SEC Men's Basketball Conference Tournament March 11, 2006 at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Leading up to the draft, I will be discussing some of the recent Knicks draft blunders. This one occured during the 2006 NBA Draft:

The Knicks selected Renaldo Balkman at pick 20.

The Phoenix Suns selected Rajon Rondo at pick 21 (traded to Celtics during the draft).

This had to be one of the worst draft blunders in recent Knicks draft history. Renaldo Balkman was not even listed in the draft media guide, and was traded to the Denver Nuggets last July. His tenure with the Knicks lasted just two seasons, as he averaged 4.2 points in 15 minutes.

The reason he was drafted so highly was because Isiah Thomas (ex-President of Team Operations) liked his athleticism and hustle play on both ends of the floor. 

Balkman had a strong showing at the Orlando pre-draft camp which helped his stock to rise. However, besides running the floor well, he did not possess any other intangibles. He lacked a perimeter shot and played power forward in college—which would not translate well in the NBA.

No other team would have taken Balkman in the first round. The guards on the Knicks roster during the '05-06 season were Jamal Crawford, Steve Francis, Stephon Mabury, Penny Hardaway, and Ime Udoka. If the Knicks drafted Rondo, he would have joined Robinson as the only players still on the team now. If Rondo emerged like he did with the Celtics, the Knicks could have released Marbury before this season and would not have been forced to signed Chris Duhon.

Coming out of Kentucky, Rondo was labeled as a poor shooter with limited scoring ability. However, his quickness and ball handing ability made him the seventh guard drafted. H really evelated his game almost averaging a  triple double in this year’s playoffs (17 points, 9.70 rebounds, 9.78 assists).

Rondo also averaged 2.5 steals and really matured as a point guard with Kevin Garnett sidelined with a knee injury. Last year, he set a NBA Finals record with 18 assists in a  game. This past season Rondo set career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, and field-goal percentage