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By David J. Cohen
The New York Knicks traded arguably the worst draft pick in their history of draft misfires to Houston for the son of Patrick Ewing. The younger version looks just like his dad but lacks the skills of his father. He has great athleticism but lacks the intangibles to become a major contributor in the NBA. He will probably get cut after training camp.
But for just a couple weeks, it will be nice to see a number 33 Ewing jersey running up and down the floor at the Garden.
You would think the son of a legend could fetch a price. In this case, the Rockets landed a goldfish in a sea of bass. They get Ewing’s contract off the books and will obviously have nothing to worry about in terms of Fredric Weis coming across the ocean to mess up their plan. Tracy McGrady has enough posters of his own.
For the Knicks front office, it is a switch of philosophy. They actually made a move for the fans. They traded away a mistake instead of bringing one in.
Weis was the middle man in a six year run of draft failure for the Knicks which ultimately was a huge factor in their collapse since the turn of the century. The Knicks drafted 12 players during that time. The only one to make an impact scored nine points and four rebounds a game in his best season.
1996 – The Knicks had three first round picks at 18, 19, and 21. A great draft here could have created the next great core of players in New York. Instead, they took John Wallace, Walter McCarty, and Dontae’ Jones. Cleveland had the 20th pick in that draft. They took Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Vancouver had the 22nd pick. They took Roy Rodgers. The Lakers had the 24th pick. They took a small PG out of Arkansas-Little Rock. Enter Derek Fisher.
Other things of note : Milwaukee traded the rights to Stephon Marbury to the Timberwolves for Ray Allen. Also, Charlotte traded the draft rights to Kobe Bryant to the Lakers for Vlade Divac. If that trade never happens, the Hornets might still be in Charlotte today.
1997 – The Knicks had the 25th pick in that draft. They took John Thomas. He is best known for being called while working in an office to help the Nets in the playoffs. Utah picked two spots later. They grabbed Jacque Vaughn.
Other things of note : This marked the beginning of the Tim Duncan dynasty.
1998 – The Knicks had a couple of second round choices this time. They took DeMarco Johnson and Sean Marks. At least Marks is still in the league. He is the only one of the 12 picks that is still on a roster. The pick after Johnson: Rafer Alston. Two picks later: Cuttino Mobley.
Other things of note : Dallas makes separate draft day deals for the rights to Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash. Pat Garrity was the best of the bunch they gave up. The second round was unusually deep. Ruben Patterson and Rashard Lewis were both second round picks in this draft.
1999 – The Knicks had the 15th pick and drafted a French center named Fredric Weis. Weis chose not to even try the NBA, and his decision was reaffirmed in the 2000 Olympics when Vince Carter cemented his legacy. The Bulls had the 16th pick. They took Ron Artest. Denver took James Posey with the 18th pick.
The Knicks took J.R. Koch in the second round. No one taken around that point really panned out in the league. For once, the Knicks get a pass.
Other things of note : With the second to last pick in the draft, the Spurs took some guy out of Argentina.
Charles Barkley: “Gi-NOOO-Bi-li”
2000 – The Knicks didn’t get it all wrong here. They came in with the 22nd pick in the draft and took Donnell Harvey. However, they traded him and former bust John Wallace to the Mavericks for a second round pick and Erick Strickland. It could’ve been worse.
The Knicks used their own second round pick at number 39 on Lavor Postell. Milwaukee had the 43rd pick. They took Michael Redd. Dallas traded the final pick in this draft in the Strickland deal. Pete Mickeal never worked out for the Knicks or anybody else.
Other things of note : The top 15 in this draft might go down as one of the weakest classes in history. Kenyon Martin, Mike Miller, and Jamal Crawford are the only players in that group to have all-star caliber seasons. Stromile Swift, Darius Miles, Marcus Fizer, DerMarr Johnson, Chris Mihm, and Joel Przybilla were all top ten picks.
2001 – The Knicks were left with two more second rounders and made nothing of them. They first took Michael Wright with the 39th pick. This proved to be a bit of misfortune for the Knicks. Mehmet Okur was taken before him and Earl Watson right after him. With the 43rd pick, the Knicks took Eric Chenowith. He is the ultimate proof that if you are seven feet tall you will crack an NBA roster no matter how pathetic you are.
Other things of note : There were two pretty significant trades in this draft. The Bulls traded Elton Brand to the Clippers for Tyson Chandler and Brian Skinner. The Bulls banked on their new pick, Eddy Curry. Not a good decision.
The Nets made away with robbery when they acquired the rights to the Rockets three first round selections for their 7th pick, Eddie Griffin. Richard Jefferson and Jason Collins were two of those picks.
MJ shot a brick with Kwame Brown. Meanwhile, the Spurs were at the bottom the first round and found another international sensation in Tony Parker.
The Knicks went through a terrible stretch of evaluating talent. That has been their Achilles heel for some time. And now comes word of the arrival of the worst international pick since Weis in Darko Milicic.
The Knicks are discussing a Zach Randolph for Darko deal. The move would save the Knicks $16.1 million over the next two years and more than twice that amount overall. Milicic is the worst $7 million dollar investment you can find but his contract comes off the books before LeBron hits the open market.
If the Knicks don’t land LeBron, they are just trading away their only proven low-post scorer (when he wants to be) for a big man rotation of Eddy Curry, Milicic, and Jerome James.
On the bright side, the move would signal Wilson Chandler’s arrival into the starting lineup. He is our Shawn Marion. Now if we could just find our Steve Nash…