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: Eddy Curry scores a career high 43 points to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks

April 7th 2007: Eddy Curry scores a career high 43 points to help the Knicks defeat the Milwaukee Bucks

Eddy Curry scored a career high 43 points, and hit a game-tying 3 pointer to force overtime, to help the Knicks defeat the Bucks on the road 118-113. The Knicks ran a masterful SLOB1 where Nate Robinson curled and cut from the three point corner to the top of the three point arc. (via screens set by Curry & Channing Frye) The tiny room of space allowed Curry to be wide open at the three point corner. Knick rookie Mardy Collins inbounded the ball and threw it to him for the game-tying 3 point swish, the first of the season.

Curry scored 43 on 17-20 from the field, 25 of which was earned after halftime. He also had 13 rebounds and 2 steals. Both Nate Robinson & Mardy Collins received significant minutes due to injuries to Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis, & Jamal Crawford (who was out for the season). Nate had 34 points – on 5-13 from three – and had 7 assists and 2 steals in the start.

Collins had an even more impressive statline for the night. In nearly 51 minutes of action, Collins had a near triple double with 19 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists, and 5 steals.

On This Date: Knicks hire Red Holzman. 39 years later, the Knicks play a Triple OT thriller

December 27, 1967: The New York Knicks hire Red Holzman as Head Coach

In a franchise altering move, the Knicks fired Dick McGuire and hired Red Holzman as head coach. McGuire – a native of the Bronx – spent 8 years playing point guard with the Knicks and was a 7-time NBA All Star. After a stint as player-coach and head coach with the Detroit Pistons, the Knicks hired him as head coach in 1965.

While McGuire was a superb player as a Knick, his dominance didn’t translate as head coach. He had a 75-103 record with the team before his dismissal. At the time, the Knicks were in last place. He wasn’t able to get a full season of Willis Reed & Walt “Clyde” Frazier. However, the Knicks later hired McGuire to join their front office and remained there until his death in 2010.

Red – a native of Brooklyn – spent the previous 10 seasons as the chief scout for the Knicks. He was responsible for discovering and drafting both Willis and Clyde. Despite his preference to be a scout, team president Ned Irish convinced Holzman to coach the team.

Irish’s persistence had major dividends for the franchise. Holzman led the team to their only two championships. The key stars he coached – from Earl Monroe to Clyde Frazier to Wills Reed – all made the Hall of Fame.


December 27, 2006: Knicks win a Triple OT Thriller against the Detroit Pistons

The Knicks shocked the Madison Square Garden faithful with a thrilling 151-145 Triple Overtime victory against the Detroit Pistons. The Knicks withstood a career high 51 points from Rip Hamilton and double-doubles from former Knicks Antonio McDyess, & Nazr Mohammed. Future Knick Chauncey Billups also had a double double with 17 points and 10 assists.

The Knicks led by 3 points with less than 10 seconds left in regulation before Carlos Delfino tied the game with a three. The Knicks fell behind by 5 with less than two minutes left in overtime before tying the score and sending the game to Double OT. With the Knicks down 136-134 , Channing Frye hit a buzzer beating shot to send the game to Triple Overtime. The Knicks were able to hold an early lead in triple overtime and sealed the victory.

Stephon Marbury led the Knicks with 41 points and 8 assists while hitting 12-15 from the foul line in 50 minutes. The quartet of Marbury, Eddy Curry, Jamal Crawford, & Channing Frye scored a combined 129 points and made a combined 40-48 from the free throw stripe.

Since the Nuggets/Knicks brawl, the Knicks had a stretch of gritty performances and buzzer beaters that was capped by their performance on this date.

 

On This Date: Larry Brown wins his first game as Knicks coach after 0-5 start

November 13, 2005: Larry Brown finally leads Knicks to his first victory as head coach with a 105-95 victory in Sacramento

Larry Brown won his first game as Knicks head coach after an 0-5 start. Rookie Channing Frye led the Knicks with 19 points and 6 rebounds off the bench. Stephon Marbury led the team with 39 minutes played, resulting in 17 points and 7 assists.

Larry Brown signed a 5 year $50 million contract to coach the Knicks after leading the Pistons to consecutive NBA Finals berths. Despite the excitement and high expectations, chaos marred the team to start the season. Through six games, Brown changed the starting lineup three times, played 11 or 12 players every game, and gave many of the players’ unpredictable minutes.

Additionally, Nate Robinson sparred with Jerome James (height difference of 16 inches) during a team practice before the West Coast trip.

Despite the win, the season ultimately became a public embarrassment for the organization and fans alike. Brown’s tendencies to shake up rotations and publicly admonishing his players created unnecessary distractions for the team. Furthermore, in-fighting between players and coaches only created a corrosive environment not suitable for the rookies or veterans alike.

The lack of a semblance of a team led to a 23-59 record and Brown was ultimately fired at the end of the year with more than $40 million remaining on his contract.