2002 NBA Draft: New York Knicks Could Have Drafted Amare Stoudemire

Hot Stove New YorkSenior Writer IMay 27, 2009

PHOENIX - FEBRUARY 8:  Amare' Stoudemire #1 of the Phoenix Suns lays the ball in against Chris Wilcox #54 of the Seattle SuperSonics on February 8, 2008 at US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. 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 Domenic Centofanti/Getty Images)

In the 2002 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks selected Nene with the seventh pick, while the Phoenix Suns took Amare Stoudemire with the ninth pick. 

Nene turned out to become one of the better players the Knicks drafted in the first round, but he did not play one game for the franchise.

His draft rights were traded along with Marcus Camby to the Denver Nuggets for Antonio McDyess and the draft rights to Frank Williams. Acquiring McDyess was risky because he suffered a severe knee injury that forced him to miss 72 games during the 2001-02 season. However, in a three-year span before the injury, McDyess averaged 20.4 points and 10.6 rebounds in 67 games per season.

McDyess did not start his Knicks' tenure on a high note as he  injured that same knee in a preseason game. He appeared in only 18 games before he was involved in a eight-player trade with Phoenix that brought Stephon Marbury to New York.

McDyess has battled back through injuries and over the past five years has appeared in 76 games per season. His 9.8 rebounds per game this season were his highest amount since the 2000-01 campaign.

Frank Williams lasted two seasons with the Knicks, as he started just three games. He averaged 2.6 points and 1.9 assists in 77 games.

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He was involved in a six-player deal with the Chicago Bulls that brought in Jamal Crawford and Jerome Williams. Williams appeared in just nine games with the Bulls during the 2003-04 season and has not played another NBA game since.

Stoudemire, meanwhile, has become one of the best and versatile players at his position. 

Stoudemire won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, becoming the first player drafted out of high school to accomplish this feat. In his third season, he averaged 26 points per game (fifth in the NBA).

While he has battled his own knee injuries and underwent microfracture surgery, Stoudemire is still a four-time All Star. He injured his knee and appeared in three games during the 2005-06 season but didn't miss a game a season later.

Stoudemire will be 27 in November and his career averages are 21 points, nine rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.