New York Knicks Draft Struggles: Not a Long Term Answer

Part of the New York Knicks’ NBA Draft struggles involves bad luck and bad decisions making. In some cases, the guys they wanted were off the board. In other cases they simply took a bad player.

This group of 9 players didn’t spend more than two seasons on the Knicks roster. Some of them were traded before they were given a fair chance and some just never panned out (or both).

Jerian Grant (2015, #19)

Details: Knicks traded Tim Hardaway Jr. to acquire the rights to Grant during the 2015 Draft.

Problem with this pick: He just never fit in. Derek Fisher was fired halfway through the season. 34 year old Jose Calderon was the starter at point guard and Grant just never developed or took positive steps forward.

How it ended: Grant shot 22% from three in his one season in NY. He played 76 games, averaging 16 minutes per game and was traded the next summer to the Bulls as part of the deal for Derrick Rose.

Tim Hardaway Jr (2013, #24)

Problem with this pick: His father was a crucial member of the Heat during the late ’90s/early 2000s rivalry.

Right after Hardaway, the Thunder drafted Andre Roberson at 26 and Jazz took Rudy Gobert at 27.

How it ended: Hardaway averaged 10.0 ppg for two years before being traded to the Hawks for a first round pick in 2015 that became Jerian Grant.

Hardaway returned in 2017 on a ridiculous 4 year, $74 million contract. It was extremely undeserving and the agreement was universally mocked. Hardaway proved to be a fine player over the next year and a half, improving as a scorer and a defender (but that still doesn’t warrant the payday).

After averaging 19.0 ppg in 26 games in 2018-19, he was traded to the Mavericks, along with Kristaps Porzingis in January for cap space.

Jordan Hill (2009, #8)

Problem with the pick: His name wasn’t Steph Curry

Every Knicks fan wanted the fun, three point shooting Davidson star and many expected he would slip to the Knicks. But he did not and the Knicks settled for the Arizona big man. Hill was selected one pick ahead of Demar Derozan.

How it ended: Hill only last 24 games with the Knicks. He was sent to Houston during his rookie year in a package for Tracy McGrady. Hill played just 10 minutes per game and scored 4.0 ppg, grabbing 2.5 rpg.

Too bad this pick wasn’t Steph Curry.

Renaldo Balkman (2006, #20)

Details: Knicks acquired this pick in Feburary 2006, along with Jalen Rose from Toronto for Antonio Davis.

Problem with this pick: Many had never even heard of Balkman. If you bought a program at the NBA Draft, Balkman’s name was not one of the top 300 prospects listed in it. Rajon Rondo (#21) and Kyle Lowry (#24) were picked right after Balkman. Friendly reminder, that the Knicks have needed a point guard for over 20 years.

How it ended: Balkman’s Knicks career consisted of 150 games and a career 4.0 scoring average. He was traded to Nuggets in 2008 as part of a salary dump for Taurean Green and Bobby Jones.

Channing Frye (2005, #8)

Problem with this pick: Not much. Frye was a rare decent pick. His 10.8 ppg and 5.6 rpg in two seasons were both higher than his career averages.

How it ended: Channing Frye had a very nice career. Unfortunately only two years (137 games) were with the Knicks. He was traded in 2007 along with Steve Francis to the Blazers for Zach Randolph, Fred Jones, and Dan Dickau.

Michael Sweetney (2003, #9)

Problem with this pick: Everything.

For starters, this was a draft where 4 of the top 5 players were Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade.

The Knicks have needed a point guard since the 90s and TJ Ford was picked one spot ahead of Sweetney.

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How it ended: The Knicks wound up with Michael Sweetney, who averaged a fat 7.0 ppg and 4.8 rpg over two years in 119 total games. Sweetney was traded to Chicago in 2005 as part of the package for Eddy Curry. He played 114 games over two years with the Bulls, before being out of the league by 2007.

Frank Williams (2002, #25)

Details: Nuggets made this pick and traded the rights to Williams on draft night in 2002 as part of the Nene/Antonio McDyess swap. Even though, Williams was not technically a Knicks draft pick, he still qualifies for the list.

Problem with this pick: For one, he stunk. But also, this was just a horrible trade.

Williams was the Big Ten Player of the Year at Illinois in 2001 and an AP Third-Team All American, but his skills never translated in the NBA.

How it ended: Williams played with the Knicks for two seasons, totaling 77 games and playing an average of 11.4 minutes per game, while scoring 3.2 ppg and dishing out 2.0 apg.

His playing time was limited once Stephon Marbury was acquired. Williams was traded to the Bulls in August 2004, along with Dikembe Mutombo, Othella Harrington, and Cezary Trybanski for Jamal Crawford and Jerome Williams.

Donnell Harvey (2000, #22)

Problem with this pick: Morris Peterson was drafted immediately before Harvey at #21 and DeShawn Stevenson immediately after at #23. Two solid NBA players.

How it ended: Harvey never played a game for the Knicks. He was traded with John Wallace to the Mavs for Erick Strickland and Pete Mickeal.

Frederic Weis (1999, #15)

1999 may not be within the last 20 years, but this is one of the Knicks biggest mistakes ever, so forgive me for wanting to include this to the story.

Problem with this pick: Weis never came to America and never played in the NBA. Knicks took him one pick before local St. John’s prospect Ron Artest, and before James Posey (18) and Andre Kirilenko (24).

How it ended: No explanation needed. Just watch…

Image result for frederic weis vince carter dunk gif

Part 1 Trades involving Knicks’ first round picks

Part 3 – Good picks, bad endings for the NY Knicks

Mike is a member of the FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) and an alum of the University of Cincinnati.

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