On This Date: The New York Knicks draft….. Frederic Weis?

June 30th 1999: The New York Knicks draft Frederic Weis

The New York Knicks did the unthinkable on this date and drafted Frederic Weis with the 15th overall pick. Players such as Ron Artest, James Posey, or even anyone else were still on the draft board. The pick made absolutely no sense to anyone but the INTERIM General Manager Ed Tapscott.

Tapscott believed the team needed to draft Patrick Ewing’s replacement. In doing so, he reached for Weis instead of taking a more impactful player in Artest or anyone else. Matter of fact, the Knicks could have drafted Jeff Foster and got a solid center in their rotation.

Instead, the Knicks chose Weis. Weis participated in Summer League, but went back to Europe after Jeff Van Gundy was very iffy on his prospects to play in the NBA. Weis re-appeared on the main scene in the 2000 Olympics where Vince Carter performed the “Dunk of Death” over his poor soul. Ultimately, Weis never recovered from that moment.

A combination of the factors above led to a serious bout of alcoholism and depression. It’s a generally sad tale of a foreign prospect who couldn’t live up to his expectations. As of 2015, Weis owned a tobacco store near his home in France.

As for Artest, his new Showtime documentary “Quiet Storm” perfectly explained why he wasn’t a Knick. According to Artest, he skipped a pre-draft workout with the Knicks after getting too drunk the night before. As another maligned former NY Knick and native New Yorker once put it, Artest was the original definition of being “too lit for NY.”

On This Date: Knicks draft Charlie Ward & Monty Williams

June 29th 1994: The New York Knicks draft Charlie Ward & Monty Williams

Fresh off an NBA Finals run, the Knicks went into the 1994 NBA Draft trying to find role players who could play meaningful minutes on a playoff squad. With the 24th pick in the NBA Draft, the Knicks first drafted Monty Williams out of Notre Dame. Monty’s basketball career nearly ended before stepping foot on Notre Dame’s campus because of a heart condition. Midway through his college career, he realized all of his symptoms reversed and he was ready to resume his playing career. Monty did not play basketball in college for two seasons because of his heart ailments.

The Knicks also had the 26th pick in the draft due to a 1991 trade with the Atlanta Hawks that sent Maurice Cheeks off to Atlanta. The Knicks received Tim McCormick and the Hawks’ 1994 1st round pick. The Knicks drafted Charlie Ward from Florida State. Ward was not only the starting point guard for FSU, but was a Heisman winning quarterback.

Williams played more, albeit relatively sparingly overall, than Ward during their rookie campaigns. Williams made 23 starts in 41 games mostly due to a toe injury that sidelined Charles Oakley for nearly 30 games. However, Ward started received more minutes as Williams’ playing time dwindled under Don Nelson. Due to the lack of playing time and a subsequent trade request, the Knicks shipped Williams, along with Charles Smith, to the San Antonio Spurs in February 1996.

Ward eventually received consistent minutes as the team’s backup point guard and took over the starting role beginning in the 1997-98 season. He remains the only Knick rookie in the last 25 years to receive a contract extension after his rookie deal.

On This Date: The 2005 NBA Draft

June 28th 2005: The New York Knicks 2005 NBA Draft – Channing Frye, Nate Robinson, David Lee

Isiah Thomas’ first draft with 1st round draft picks turned out to be quite a haul for the Knicks organization. With the 8th overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, the Knicks drafted Channing Frye out of Arizona. Frye was a relatively safe selection and filled an important need for the Knicks in the frontcourt. While Andrew Bynum & Danny Granger were both on the board, neither player warranted a selection in the top 8 picks before the draft.

The Knicks acquired the 21st overall pick from the Phoenix Suns on a draft day trade. The Knicks traded Kurt Thomas and the 54th overall pick (Dijon Thompson) to the Suns for Quentin Richardson & the 21st overall pick. The Knicks used the pick to select Nate Robinson. Robinson was a supreme athlete even though listed at below 5’9. He originally played football at Washington, but focused solely on basketball beginning his sophomore season. Richardson developed into a premiere three point shooter in his lone season in Phoenix, winning the three point competition and making 226 three point shots.

The Knicks acquired the 30th overall pick earlier in the year during a trade deadline trade with the San Antonio Spurs that also netted them Malik Rose. The Knicks used the pick to draft David Lee from Florida. Lee won the SEC’s men’s basketball tournament with Florida in his final season. Lee was an athletic forward who was also ambidextrous and could rebound with dexterity.

The three rooks provided the Knicks with a good return during their tenures. Frye had a successful rookie season, earning Rookie of the Month in November and earning a selection to the NBA All Rookie First Team. He suffered a season ending injury in March which cut his season short. Lee’s minutes were sporadic throughout the season, but he had a stretch of 13 starts between December and January. He became a double double threat during that short stretch. Robinson had more exciting stretches, but also showed inconsistency and immaturity during his rookie campaign with various locker room altercations. He did hit a game-winning three pointer against the Philadelphia 76ers after Thanksgiving. Additionally, Nate won the 2006 Slam Dunk Contest.

Quentin Richardson never regained his elite three point touch in Phoenix. As we learned later in a touching piece with the Players Tribune, Richardson’s brother was shot and killed in Chicago during his first season with the Knicks. The tragedy led to a bout of anger, depression, and binge drinking. His Knicks tenure was scarred by team dysfunction, injuries, and personal tragedies.

The Knicks dealt Frye to the Trailblazer on the 2007 NBA Draft. Lee & Robinson both remained with the team near the end of their first rookie contracts. Lee became a double double machine in his sophomore season and won the Rookie/Sophomore game MVP. Under Mike D’Antoni he became an All-Star in 2010. Robinson became into a scoring threat off the bench that excited fans with occasional in-game dunks. Under D’Antoni, Nate even became a 6th man of the year candidate after he averaged 17 points/game. Unfortunately, tensions with D’Antoni and overall immaturity led to his trade during the 2010 Trade Deadline.

On This Date: Bill Cartwright/Charles Oakley trade

June 27th 1988: The New York Knicks trade Bill Cartwright for Charles Oakley in a draft-day trade

The New York Knicks completed one of the more successful draft-day deals in franchise history when they traded Bill Cartwright to the Chicago Bulls for Charles Oakley and a 1st and 3rd round pick swap in the 1988 NBA Draft.

Cartwright largely felt out of place in New York as Patrick Ewing cemented his role as the franchise cornerstone at center. While Charles Oakley had dominant rebounding seasons with the Bulls, he was deemed expendable after the team drafted Horace Grant in the previous season. As the Knicks needed a true power forward and the Bulls needed a formidable center, this swap made perfect sense.

Additionally, the pick swap gave the Bulls the 11th pick and the Knicks the 19th pick. To further shore up the frontcourt, the Bulls drafted Will Perdue. The Knicks drafted Rod Strickland, despite having Rookie of the Year Mark Jackson as the team’s main point guard. Strickland was traded to the Spurs in his sophomore season after demanding a trade due to a lack of playing minutes.

Ultimately, the trade proved to be a win-win for both teams. Cartwright enjoyed several productive seasons with the Bulls including winning 3 championships during Jordan’s first three-peat. Oakley served as the Knicks’ power forward for 10 seasons and was the perfect frontcourt partner for Ewing. Some of his accomplishments included making an NBA All Star Game and earning a selection to the NBA All Defensive Team in 1994.

On This Date: The New York Knicks acquire Antonio McDyess

June 26th 2002: The New York Knicks acquire Antonio McDyess on Draft Day

Fresh off their first season out of the playoffs, the New York Knicks were in a strange position: scouting potential lottery picks. The Knicks spent little to no time scouting 1st round picks over the past 10 seasons as the team played deep into the playoffs. Knicks GM Scott Layden, facing significant criticism from fans and analysts from his questionable signings, trades, etc., was in deep pressure to make a bold draft choice.

Hearing significant boos and “Fire Layden” chants on draft night, the Knicks drafted Maybyner “Nene” Hilario with the 7th pick. Fans immediately booed the pick as they expected anyone else including Chris Wilcox, Amare Stoudemire, UConn standout Caron Butler, and even Jared Jeffries at the minimum. Instead of dealing with the criticism of drafting Nene, Layden went even further and traded the pick.

The Knicks traded Nene, along with Mark Jackson & Marcus Camby, to the Denver Nuggets for Antonio McDyess, the 25th pick in the NBA Draft, and a 2003 2nd round pick. Layden orchestrated this trade simply because he thought this was the best chance to get back into the NBA playoffs. He thought McDyess would be that athletic frontcourt presence that would complement the Knicks core players. Camby came off a year where he only played in 29 games due to injury. Jackson, then 37 years old, was on the downside of his career.

The trade didn’t benefit the Knicks on any angle. The team had high hopes for McDyess entering the preseason. Fans thought he nearly regained most of his athleticism until he tore his patellar tendon after a putback dunk. McDyess missed the entire 2002-03 season and only played 18 games with the Knicks before the team dealt him to Phoenix for Stephon Marbury. Camby got over his injury woes to have a generally healthy and productive tenure with Denver. He was on the NBA All-Defensive teams from 2005-08, winning the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2007. Nene’s had a productive career in the NBA as both a starting center and as a backup. He just came off a season as the backup center for the Houston Rockets.

The 25th overall draft pick in the 2002 NBA Draft became Frank Williams. After he played sparingly during his rookie season, he received decent minutes in his sophomore season and was slated to receive decent minutes as a backup PG until Isiah Thomas acquired Marbury. He was traded to the Bulls in the next season and left the NBA afterwards. The 2003 2nd round pick, however, became Maciej Lampe. Despite the cheers for the pick, Lampe turned out to be a bust in the NBA.

On This Date: The 2015 NBA Draft AKA we drafted Porzingis

June 25th 2015: The New York Knicks’ 2015 NBA Draft: Kristaps Porzingis, Jerian Grant, Willy Hernangomez

The 2015 NBA Draft was quite special to me for various reasons. The main one was that I personally attended the draft at the Barclays Center with my cousin. We initially enjoyed the draft selections from the top section of the Barclays Center with a bunch of crazed 76ers fans, Lakers fans, and Knicks fans. Additionally, we also scrolled on Twitter to see what Shams & Woj had to say.

After the Timberwolves drafted Karl Anthony Towns, the question was who would go 2 and 3. In a bit of a quagmire, D’Angelo Russell & Jahlil Okafor went 2 and 3. The question now was who should the Knicks pick.

Fans had various thoughts on the pick. Some wanted us to take Willie Cauley Stein. Others wanted Justise Winslow. Some wanted Kristaps Porzingis. A few stray fans shouted Emmanuel Mudiay to troll us.

Then Adam Silver came to the podium and he proclaimed that the Knicks selected…. Porzingis. The crowd booed and cheered, some in jest. ESPN showed us the crying Porzingis fan. Sadly, this fan got a lot of attention well past the draft for his attention-seeking antics. I was a bit unsure of the pick, but was encouraged by some of the initial reaction I saw online from different pundits.

Fast forward to past the lottery and Shams & Woj broke the first trade. The Knicks acquired the rights to Jerian Grant from the Atlanta Hawks. I was like “cool, we got a point guard that’s the son of Harvey Grant. Nice!” I later realized that we traded Tim Hardaway Jr. in the process. I didn’t know at the time he was at Clyde’s Wine and Dine for the Knicks draft party. That was pretty hilarious. We started the draft with only the #4 pick, but now had 2 first round picks.

After a quick break to grab drinks, security began to escort us to the lower bowl of the Barclays Center. After the lottery picks, many fans headed to the exits leaving the lower bowls largely empty. For TV reasons, they wanted us to fill out the lower bowl. While there, we encountered some interesting people, including the family of several draft selections. I personally saw Sam Dekker’s family as well as then-girlfriend Olivia Harlan.

After the 2nd round started, the Philadelphia 76ers drafted Guillermo “Willy” Hernangomez. However, Shams & Woj stated that the pick was traded to NY for two future 2nd round picks. That was pretty cool. I knew he played with Kristaps Porzingis in Sevilla, but that was about it. We ended the draft with 3 picks, so I was pretty pumped. This was a fun draft overall.

Unfortunately, none of the three players remain on the team. Each player departed in successive seasons. At least I have the memory of the draft.