Donnie Walsh doesn’t care about Brandon Jennings or Eric Gordon. For that matter, he doesn’t really care about most of the players currently on the Knicks roster.
Last year, Donnie Walsh selected Danilo Gallinari with the sixth pick in the draft. With the next selection, the Clippers took Eric Gordon. Gordon went on to average 16 points a game, while Gallinari spent most of the year injured. This past June, Walsh took Arizona big man Jordan Hill with the eighth pick.
Two selections later, the Milwaukee Bucks selected Brandon Jennings. While Hill has struggled so far, Jennings scored 17 points against the Knicks this season, 55 against the Warriors (a Bucks rookie record), and has so far looked like the best player in last spring’s draft.
Two years, two misses?
Maybe, but Donnie Walsh doesn’t care.
Don’t get it wrong, based on the way it stands now, Walsh surely wishes he drafted the 6’0" point guard, who spent last year playing pro-ball in Italy.
It would have eased the tension and misery that is sure to ensue this year and diverted eyes away from what is otherwise one of the worst teams in the league, something everyone in the Knicks franchise would appreciate.
Why else would they have even considered singing the team cheerleader that is Allen Iverson?
But Walsh has made one single number the motto of his rebuilding process: 2010.
He has all but written it his forehead to not judge him until 2010. In his defense, it’s the campaign he was hired upon. He never claimed to rebuild this team through the draft. He was more focused on guys that were drafted years ago. The dollars doled out next summer will be foundation of the new New York Knicks.
While any other general manager who overlooked star players in two consecutive years would feel the pressure, Walsh doesn’t even feel a breeze.
This is not to clear Walsh of all wrongdoing. He should do better in the draft. He should try to get the best 12 man roster possible. But if the Knicks get the players they desire, all will be forgotten.
Even if Jennings turns out to be a star (still a premature assertion), the Knicks need more. Recent history has told us that a championship team needs at least two star players, mixed in with quality role players.
Think Kobe and Shaq, Wade and Shaq, Pierce and Garnett, and Kobe and Gasol and ask yourself why LeBron is still waiting for a ring.
If Brandon Jennings was on the Knicks this year, they would still be bad. If he were on the team next year, his presence would not be the deciding factor between contender and pretender. No, the Knicks need much more.
The only way to fix this problem, to bring the Knicks back to credibility, to revitalize basketball once again in the Big Apple, is to redefine the term “reload.”
The Knicks need to reload in a way unseen before, even in New York. The Knicks need at least two star players on their team. The only way to do that is to dip into the group of 2010 free agents that includes names like James, Wade, Bosh, Stoudemire, Nowitzki, Johnson, and Allen.
The bottom line is if LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are running amok in the Garden next year, no one will remember Brandon Jennings, and Donnie Walsh will have a contract extension.
And don’t worry about Walsh screwing up next year's draft pick.
Isiah Thomas already traded it away.