he True Fans Bleed Blue and Orange: Moment Number Ten: Balkman drafted over Williamsh

Monday, January 01, 2007

Moment Number Ten: Balkman drafted over Williams

Entering the 2006 draft the Knicks fans were abuzz as to which player Isiah Thomas was going to add to his already impressive draft day resume. Isiah's main, and some would argue only, skill as a general manager is selecting top notch draft talent. In 2005 Thomas selected Nate Robinson, Channing Frye, and David Lee all in the first round. Since then all three players have made their own personal mark on the league. Channing Frye by averaging 12.3 points per game and 5.8 rebounds and finishing on the all NBA Rookie Team. Nate Robinson won a controversial, yet exciting, Slam Dunk Competition, edging division rival Andre Iguodola. Robinson also escalated the very recent brawl at Madison Square Garden that promted all seven suspensions. David Lee, meanwhile has emerged as the Knicks most consistent player, and one of the best rebounders in all of basketball. So entering the 2006 draft it was a large question mark as to what Isiah will do to help the Knicks bleak looking future.

"With the 20th selection of the 2006 draft the New York Knicks select Renaldo Balkman from South Carolina." I still remember David Sterns saying the words to a packed house of suddenly dissapointed Knicks fans. Isiah optioned to select Balkman over UConn's Marcus Williams (currently averaging 6.6 points and 2.9 assists a game backing up Jason Kidd) and athletic guard Rajon Rondo from Kentucky. Balkman, who was originally projected as a second round talent could have been selected with the 30th overall selection, and the Knicks still would have been able to select Williams or Rondo, both of whom wound up in the hands of division rivals.

Isiah's excuse? The Suns were apparently very high on Balkman, and he would not have been available at the 30th overall pick. Thomas proclaimed Balkman was a mixture in playing style of Ron Artest and Dennis Rodman. Since the controversial selection Balkman has somewhat silenced the critics, averaging nearly four points and four rebounds in his fifteen minutes a game. Balkman has shown signs of become a terrific shot blocker in the league, averaging close to one block a game, an impressive mark for a SF who doesn't even play a third of a game. In addition, Balkman has shown a keen abillity to bring the ball up the court, and has displayed a solid passing abillity for a man his size. It appears Balkman would have been a terrific steal with the 30th overall selection, but with the 20th selection with some other talents available Balkman will probably remain a mistake.


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