There have been many, but these six New York Knicks selections have turned out to be the greatest busts over the last 30 years.
When it comes to first round draft picks, the New York Knicks have been all over the map. They have a history of trading away draft picks. The reasoning behind this is to acquire veteran players in order to satisfy their win now mentality.
Some of the picks that they have held on to have ended up being franchise changing players. Guys like Patrick Ewing and Kristaps Porzingis ended up being cornerstones that the team could build around. Other players that were selected by New York have not had the same success.
The New York Knicks are projected to be in possession of the sixth pick in June’s NBA draft. In honor of that, here are their six biggest draft busts of the last 30 years.
#6: John Thomas – 1997
Players missed out on: Jacque Vaughn (26) and Stephen Jackson (42)
John Thomas was a 6-foot-9 power forward/center out of the University of Minnesota. The Knicks selected him with the 25th overall pick. Thomas makes the list not because of who he was taken ahead of, but for the length of the time he spent in New York.
The former Gopher was shipped out of town before his rookie season even started. He was traded to the Boston Celtics for Chris Mills and two future second round draft picks. He played five seasons in the NBA for five different franchises. Thomas would be higher on this list if it was not for where he was selected. All of the other players were picked 20th or better. During his career, he averaged 2.7 points, 2.1 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 0.2 blocks in 10.8 minutes per game.
#5: Jerrod Mustaf – 1990
Notable players missed out on: Dee Brown (19), Toni Kukoc (29) and Antonio Davis (45)
Jerrod Mustaf is another player who made the list because of the amount of time that he spent in New York instead of who was drafted after him. Unlike Thomas, though, Mustaf was able to actually play one season in the “Big Apple” before being traded. He averaged 4.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 62 games.
The only reason that Mustaf is not higher on the list is because of the return that New York received in the deal. The 17th overall pick was sent to the Phoenix Suns. In return, the Knicks acquired the “X-Man,” Xavier McDaniel. He is best known as the enforcer of those blue collar Knicks teams of the 90s. Most notably against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
#4: Mike Sweetney – 2003
Notable players missed out on: David West (18), Boris Diaw (21) and Kyle Korver (51)
New York drafted Mike Sweetney, a 6-foot-8 big man with the ninth pick of the 2003 NBA draft. The former University of Georgetown Hoya played four seasons in the NBA. He played 119 games during his two seasons in New York.
Sweetney was involved in one of the worst trades in New York’s long history. The number nine overall pick was packaged with Jermaine Jackson, Tim Thomas, two future second round picks, a 2006 first round pick and a 2007 first round pick to the Chicago Bulls. Those first round draft picks turned out to be LaMarcus Aldridge and Joakim Noah respectively. The Knicks received an out of shape Eddie Curry, a past his prime Antonio Davis and a 2007 first round pick that ended up being Wilson Chandler.
#3: 1999 – Frederic Weis
Notable players missed out on: Metta World Peace (16), Andrei Kirilenko (24) and Manu Ginobili (57, so did everyone else)
With the 15th pick in the 1999 NBA draft, the New York Knicks selected Frederic Weis. Wait … who? Frederic Weis is probably the most famous player on this list despite the fact that basically no one will recognize his name.
Weis was the victim of the most posterizing dunks in Olympic history. During the 2000 games in Sydney Australia, Vince Carter channeled his inner Superman and leaped ove Weiss in a single bound. That iconic dunk still makes it’s way onto top ten lists to this day. He was able to play ten seasons overseas in Europe despite not playing a single minute in the NBA.
Weiss has since battled addiction to alcohol and prescription pills. In January of 2008, he hit rock bottom. Depression from his son Enzo being diagnosed with autism and separating from his wife Celia led to a failed suicide attempt. Since then though, he and Celia have reconciled. Thankfully, he chose his wife and child over the booze and pills.
#2: 2006 – Renaldo Balkman
Notable players missed out on: Rajon Rondo (21), Kyle Lowry (24) and Paul Milsap (47)
The New York Knicks selected Renaldo Balkman with the 20th overall pick in the 2006 draft. Balkman was a 6-foot-8 forward who played three seasons at the University of South Carolina. Out of his 221 career games played in the NBA, 150 of them were with the Knicks. During those games he averaged 4.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 14.3 minutes per game.
Balkman had two different stints in New York. He was brought back as part of the deal with the Denver Nuggets to acquire Carmelo Anthony.
The Knicks missed out on their point guard of the future when they passed on Lowry and Rondo. They also missed out on a future all-star in Milsap. This draft would be at the top of this list if it was not for the train wreck that was the 2009 draft.
#1: 2009 – Jordan Hill
Notable players missed out on: Demar DeRozan (9), Jrue Holiday (17), Jeff Teague (19), Darren Collision (21) and Taj Gibson (26)
When it comes to draft disasters, nothing tops the 2009 draft. As supporters of tanking will gladly remind the world on a daily basis that the New York Knicks missed out on a chance to draft Stephen Curry by one spot. Who knows what this franchise would look like today if it was not for that one spot. Even if Curry would have still been available, it is no guarantee that New York would have made the right decision and drafted him. History has shown us that as it was, they passed on quite a few potential all-stars in this draft.
Instead, with the eighth overall pick, New York selected Jordan Hill. The former University of Arizona Wildcat played in only 24 games in the blkue and orange. He averaged 4.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 0.4 blocks in 10.5 minutes per game. Hill was traded at the trade deadline of his rookie season to the Houston Rockets. This was the deal that brought Tracy McGrady to New York.
Hill has played eight seasons in the NBA for five different teams. He played in seven games this season for the Minnesota Timberwolves. The 6-foot-10 big man has been a serviceable role player throughout his career. Unfortunately, not worthy of the eighth pick considering the talent that was passed up on.
Not only is this the New York Knick’s biggest draft bust of the last 30 years, it may also end up being considered their worst offseason transaction as well.
Oh wait … there is that Joakim Noah contract.