Everyone agreed that the Knickerbockers need a big man and/or a point guard to complement the arrival of youknowwho. Naturally they used the NBA Draft to grab two mid-size scorers that were on no one's radar. Savvy, as usual.
No one could blame them for not trading up to the first round—that's a guaranteed contract they don't need—though it must have hurt to watch Utah use their No. 9 pick on a Final Four hero. They could have at least appealed to civic pride by grabbing local boy Lance Stephenson, of Coney Island's powerhouse Lincoln High. (Yet, another casualty of the Starbury era?) Perhaps DeSean Butler, the leader of a plucky West Virginia team, who might have become a potential second-round steal due to injury worries? Shot-block specialist Jarvis Varnado to protect the lane? ("If Varnado is still on the board after New York is done with their second pick, I will throw something at my television screen." An empty threat, I hope.)
Apparently, none of those would do. Instead, they took Andy Rautins and Landry Fields. If those names don't woo the big-time free agents, what possibly could?
Not only was Fields (who to be fair, did lead the Pac-10 in scoring) not on Chad Ford's Big Board—which is like a REALLY big board—he was not even listed in the NBA's Draft Day Media Guide, which had the names of 108 prospects in it. Rautins ("a very valuable college role player") was not exactly lighting up mock drafts, either. These are not the picks you make to rally the troops.
Perhaps the Knicks don't expect either of these two to be on their salary cap come fall. Perhaps that's the idea. It's all part of the larger scheme of throwing everything they have at one guy and worrying about the rest later. But if they don't get that guy ... and then there's no more draft picks ... and "the J.J. Reddick of 2010" is in the starting five on Opening Night. What then?
At the very least, wouldn't it have been nice to give their still, improbably loyal fans at least one pleasant memory to take home for the last decade? Don't they deserve the right to hear a name called that they wouldn't reflexively boo? Or run to Google to find who it belongs to. Yes, it's the 38th and 39th picks in the second round, but is a little juice totally out of the question?
In the end, no matter what you think of this draft, it doesn't really change anything for the Knicks franchise—which is kind of the problem. It never really changes, does it? It's been a five (or is it 15?) year waiting game at this point. What's another couple of months?