Donnie Walsh Review Part 3: The 2009 Draft

The long overdue and last part of my review for Donnie about probably the most scrutanized part of his tenure.  More after the jump.

Jordan Hill.  It only takes two words to get most Knicks fans angry/irate/irrational/confused/sad.  Well those two words and these: Renaldo Balkman.  Take it easy, get off the ledge.  Before I actually take a look at Jordan Hill, I wanted to take a look at the main arguments regarding the 2009 draft and why the logic would've dictated that the Knicks would've either, A) Chose Jordan Hill, B) Reached for a player of need, or C) Tried like hell to trade back.

Why people need to get off Brandon 'B.J.' Jennings dick and start looking at f--king logic:

Say the words 'Jordan Hill' to the irrational fan.  They'll end up responding, 'WTF, WE COULD'VE HAD BRANDON JENNINGS' until your ears start bleeding.  Let's get it straight: THE KNICKS WERE NEVER GOING TO GET BRANDON JENNINGS.  THEIR WAS NO REASON FOR THEM TO GET BRANDON JENNINGS.  NO ONE SHOULD BE BLAMING THEM FOR NOT TAKING BRANDON JENNINGS.  So let's tackle the Brandon Jennings debate.

B.J., as I'll be referring to him now, had the following averages in Italy:

In 27 games, B.J. averaged 5.5 points, 1.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.5 steals in 17.0 minutes per game. He shot 35.1 percent from the field and 20.7 percent from 3 point range in Lega A play

-B.J.'s wiki


This is pretty much what people had to look at when evaluating B.J.  Yes, he was rated the #1 prospect coming out of High School.  Yes, he has an obvious explosive first step.  He has good vision.  But, B.J. had an insane amount of question marks surrounding him. 

He was a terrible jump shooter.  He didn't go to college because he didn't  academically didn't qualify, not because he wanted to be some kind of pioneer for high school kids.  Their really was no way of telling how good he could be based on actual game play. 

I could go on and on and on, but I'll end the argument here: B.J. would've been the equivalent of taking a half court shot.  If it went in?  Amazing.  Great.  If it didn't?  Walsh would've been questioned every day why he took that shot, especially with 2010 on the horizon......

The 2010 Argument 

I think the whole thought process coming into the '09 draft was: "Who can we get to help (insert superstar player here)?"  Here's just the general thought process:
For Wade/HWSNBN: A mobile big man who can defend; lights out shooter who can take pressure off of Wade/HWSNBN
For Amare/Bird-ass: A PG who can distribute / lights out shooter to space out floor

That's it.  Now, let's assume that the player Walsh wants most is Wade/HWSNBN, only the 2 best players in this free agent class.  Both like the ball in their hands.  Both set up their teamates.  Both don't need traditional PG's to play with.  If that's the case, then B.J. wouldn't have been the pick. 

Hill the Player

He wasn't great, he wasn't a bust; basically 70% of NBA players.  An active rebounder, more hustle then pure athletic ability, definately above average from a size to speed ratio.  Still has a raw offensive game and doesn't show potential to be a great defenisive player.  I see him as a Robin Lopez esque player, which isn't a bad thing.


Let me emphasize: I love DWTDD.  I do...but he's just not a PG.  Is he a scrappy combo guard who plays his heart out?  Yes.  Is he talented?  Certainly.  Will he be a PG?  No.  I see DWTDD as the Leandro Barbosa for this team: change of pace guard who plays D, can run a little point, and can shoot the 3.  To get that at the 29th pick?  I'll take that in a heart beat.  Just for kicks, here are the only players to have done anything close to sucess behind DWTDD:
Dejuan Blair, Jonas Jerebko, Chase Buddinger.  That's it. 

The Conclusion

As much as I can learn to accept that Jordan Hill was the logical pick, especially after they had Steph Curry taken right before their pick (hence making a trade a bit more difficult), I still wish they had a contingency plan and traded back to get a Ty Lawson, Eric Maynor, etc.  While I think Hill was a mistake, it wasn't like Hill was a complete bust, just not ultimately a player that couldn't be given up (unlike Gallo).  I think with hindsight, yes, it would've been great to come away with a PG, but we did get DWTDD and used Hill (another argument) to free up cap space.  Not the best moment for Walsh, but certainly 10 times better then any of Isiah's and Scot Layden's mistakes (unless we are terrible in 2011 and 2012......)

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