I never expected this. Months ago, as chatter regarding this draft was beginning to bubble, my excitement waned and I even considered missing the draft a possibility. Certainly wasn’t going to break an appointment for this lackluster class. But as the days drew closer and closer I grew intrigued. Something about this draft just felt right. Seems like slow cooking with this group of guys. No hot and readies in the bunch but only time will tell if this draft class is Grimaldi’s or Ellio’s.
But the big news of the draft, and offseason thus far, was the Nets’ acquisitions of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. I never considered the Nets rivals because this past season was the first time both teams mattered at the same time. (Remember when the Knicks tried to follow Tim Thomas (!) into a minor beef that left the Knicks swept? Fugazy.) It wasn’t enough for the Nets to ruin a chant from my birthplace but now they have recruited two chief Knicks antagonists as mercenaries. My disgust is placated by two beliefs:
1. ESPN might as well have put an epitaph on the News Ticker. The Celtics are thoroughly finished. As an NBA fan I believe the league needs the Celtics and Lakers to be strong franchises but I can’t front. I loathe all Boston teams. Rebuilding mode means my Knicks can breathe without the ghost of Red Auerbach tapdancing on our heads.
2. This trade will afford the upcoming season terrific theatre which is why I’m here. The only thing better than world class basketball is world class basketball coupled with a storyline.
As a Knicks fan it felt weird to be pleased with the front office’s decisions but I am unreasonably excited about Tim Hardaway Jr donning the blue and orange. Maybe it’s the sweet vengeance of knowing that his father, our longtime nemesis, will be forced to reluctantly cheer for the Knicks but moreover I think the kid can flat out play. Melo needs players who can help him spread the floor and Hardaway will definitely aid in this cause. He’s prolly my 3rd favorite player in this draft behind Victor Oladipo and Otto Porter Jr. (I think time will show that Oladipo is the best player in this class and I won’t be surprised if the Wizards use Otto’s two way greatness to claw their way to the 9th or 10th seed.) Draft night left the Knicks with only one move but they seem to be ready to retool this offseason. We’ve gone from Discount Double Check to Discount Dirk (or Bargain Bargnani as his friends call him). I don’t think this trade is a direct response to the Nets but is another instance of the Knicks confusing short sightedness with being in “win-now” mode. It feels so silly sometimes.
I think if you pressure Nets fans they will admit that this trade does not put them in the conversation with the Miami Heat. (Truth be told, with a healthy D. Rose on the Bulls, and an Indiana squad that’s only going to be better, these Nets may not even have home court in the playoffs.)
Getting those grumpy old men from Beantown may pay off in the regular season but leave them with an empty bag come playoff time. No chips.