Leading up to the draft i will be discussing some of the recent Knicks draft blunders. This one occured during the 2006 NBA Draft.
The Knicks select Renaldo Balkman at pick 20
The Phoenix Suns select Rajon Rondo at pick 21 (Traded to Celtics during the draft)
This had to be one of the worst draft blunders in recent Knicks draft history. Renaldo Balkman was not even listed in the draft media guide and was traded to the Denver Nuggets last July. His tenure with the Knicks lasted just two seasons as he averaged 4.2 points in 15 minutes. The reason he was drafted so high was because Isiah Thomas (ex-President of Team Operations) liked his athleticism and hustle play on both ends of the floor. Balkman, had a strong showing at the Orlando pre draft camp which helped his stock to rise. However, besides running the floor well he did possess any other intangibles. He lacked a perimeter shot and played power forward in college which would not translate well in the NBA.
No other team would have taken Balkman in the first round. The guards on the Knicks roster during the 05-06 season were Jamal Crawford, Steve Francis, Stephon Mabury, Penny Hardaway and Ime Udoka. If the Knicks drafted Rondo he would of joined Robinson as the only players still on the team now. If Rondo emerged like he did with the Celtics the Knicks could have released Marbury before this season and would not of have to signed Chris Duhon.
Coming out of Kentucky, Rondo was labeled as a poor shooter with limited scoring ability. However, his quickness and ball handing ability made him the seventh guard drafted. H really evelated his game almost averaging a triple double in this year’s playoffs (17 points, 9.70 rebounds, 9.78 assists). He also averaged 2.5 steals and really matured as a point guard with Kevin Garnett sidelined with a knee injury. Last year he set a NBA finals record with 18 assists in a game. This past season Rondo set career highs in points, rebounds, assists and fg%.
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