Because I am a New York Knickerbockers fan, last night was distressing for me. I waited about three hours for the first round to end so I could count in my head all the "slipped" prospects we could grab. Around pick 27 or 28 I started thinking "Maybe Alabi, Hobson, Armon Johnson, etc. are realistic!" Because, you know, they're all potential first round prospects.
But that's the fickle thing about the draft. The first round is tremendously important, while the second round is not. Although there are guys running around in professional basketball jerseys who make twelve million dollars per year for playing in various "arenas" across the country (see what I did there?), who would beg to differ. However, in about 90% of cases, second round picks are really just guys who are going to play for your Summer League squad, challenge for a roster spot, and flip out if they get on (deservedly so).
The Knicks, amazingly differently from the past few years, are not interested in players who will challenge for a roster spot. They are interested in players who will make the roster, develop into role/bench players, and add to a winning culture in Manhattan.
That's the other fickle thing about the draft. We had two picks in the second round, seemingly wasted them, and we are 80 or 90% likely to be in the same place we were 24 hours ago.
Who really expected that much more?
This morning, I woke up to a text from a friend who said "Man, nice pick with Rautins. He's money!"
This proves that none of us knows shit.
The bad news: Donnie Walsh & co., relative to every other general manager, every draft analyst, and every common man (whose agendas are admittedly shaped by the first two), entirely overestimated not one, but both of our draft picks. Andy Rautins was not expected to be drafted any earlier than about pick #50, so the 12 spot reach for him is not exactly egregious. Strawberry Fields (sic) on the other hand, was not valued as a draft prospect in almost any circle, and for this reason among others (he's from Stanford), he should be stared at with brows raised.
The good news: They were picks #38 and #39. While some of you may be angry because a few potential first rounders fell and we subsequently missed out on them, think about it this way:
PG: CHRIS PAUL
PF: CHRIS BOSH
C: Solomon Alabi?
These are fellows who, given a chance, could thrive as role players, bench players. While I may be wrong, none of these guys were ever going to start for us or for any other team. They're simply missing a piece of the puzzle that cannot be taught. If that weren't the case, one of the other 29 teams would have picked them up. Or, to be original, we would have. Gian brings up a good point, that Draftexpress.com is a great resource. They scout well, and are usually on the mark. But the fact of the matter remains that NBA scouts are NBA scouts because they are better than we are at figuring players out.
After our picks, the Pacers also passed on Varnado. The Lakers, Bucks, Wolves and Heat all passed on Gani Lawal (who I really wanted the Knicks to take). This is a science that we do not quite understand, and therefore cannot properly evaluate until these guys suit up and start dribbling, cutting and jumping passing lanes.
All that having been said: