The opinions regarding the Knicks draft strategy on twitter, the blogosphere and the mindless mainstream media were overwhelmingly negative
This doesn't surprise me one bit. People want sexy picks with BIG upside that went to BIG schools and can bring the rim down with BIG dunks. I can't hate. Who doesn't want some rookie to break the glass at the Garden so we can all pound 8 dollar beers while they bring in a new rim?
The problem is that the Knicks had only 2 late second round picks and a roster with only 4 players on it. Of course you want to draft a player who will improve but at the same token - you need guys who are ready now. You MUST fill the roster with inexpensive, basketball smart and NBA ready rookies who can add depth and compliment the preordained superstars you plan to add in free agency.
The players Donnie Walsh drafted can add value to the Knicks team NOW both offensively and more importantly, defensively. Here is a synopsis of based on what I know about these players.
Andy Rautins - Highlight Video
- He defines a non-sexy pick. He's white and is never the fastest player on the floor. But I have seen Andy play for 5 years now (being a 'Cuse fan) and know exactly what the Knicks got when they drafted him. Honestly, fuck this NFL "combine methodology" that the NBA has been getting closer to adopting each year. I want HIGH IQ players and this kid would ace the Wonderlich
test. He was a staple at the top of Jim Boeheim's 2-3 patented zone and his perimeter defense is not something that you can measure in a box score. He applied assiduous pressure at the point position that constantly forces the other teams offense to do something they don't want to. When the Knicks were playing D last year (which was rare but it did happen in stretches) it was because their Zone D was working. Rautins fits in perfectly and I think the fact that they drafted him shows that D'Antoni is willing to commit to more of a zone focused defense for years to come.
Andy is also an underrated passer due to great vision and decision making ability but never compiled that many assists because Boeheim primarily wanted him to come off screens and shoot jumpers. Oh yeah, Did I mention that he is a lights out shooter with NBA trey range? People think that this pick was a reach? You know who else was a "reach?" Ty Lawson, who I begged
the Knicks to draft. They didn't and instead, the Jordan Hill mess happened
Listen, I'm not saying that Rautins is going to be a starting all star or even a starter. But there is nothing that JJ Redick can do that he can't. I expect him to add a lot of value for the Knicks coming off the bench from Game 1.
- Highlight Video
- I can't lie. I haven't seen Landry Fields play in a real game once so any analysis I give is based on the myriad of highlight videos I've seen. My first impression is that he reminds me of a slightly taller but slightly slower version of Trevor Ariza - a former Knicks 2nd round pick. What I see is the quick hands and a long wingspan that on defense, forces the other team to run there plays further away from the basket then they prefer to. Another thing - this kid takes it to the RACK. He is fearless from the limited footage I saw. I can see why he likes to penetrate and finish, its because shooting jumpers doesn't come naturally for him. I've reached this hypothesis because of a very slow jump shooting release that has difficulty translating to an NBA game. Slow releases work in the Pac-10 but not in the NBA.
I can see him also making an impact off the bench right away. He put up nice numbers last year at Stanford averaging over 20 points, 9 rebounds and 1.6 steals a game. He needs work but I see him with an Ariza type upside.