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.

On This Date: Knicks acquire Derrick Rose

June 22nd 2016: The New York Knicks acquire Derrick Rose

In somewhat of a surprising move, the New York Knicks acquired Derrick Rose, Justin Holiday, and a 2017 2nd round draft pick from the Chicago Bulls for Robin Lopez, Jerian Grant, and Jose Calderon (later waived). The move was even more emotional and surprising for Rose, who learned about it while in Los Angeles filming a documentary.

Phil Jackson hurried the developmental process to try to win now at all costs during Carmelo Anthony’s final years of his prime. Acquiring Rose, while he 201 games over the previous 4 seasons, showed to be a harried attempt to do so. Despite being a shell of his MVP self, Rose still played 66 games during the 2015-16 season and was an upgrade to the Knicks point guard troupe that was significantly outmatched over the last several seasons.

Acquiring Rose meant sacrificing both Jerian Grant & Robin Lopez. Grant played 76 games in his rookie campaign and was under the impression to receive more minutes in his sophomore campaign. Unfortunately, Phil determined his acquisition, at the cost of Tim Hardaway Jr., to be a mistake. Lopez, who proved to be a decent value center in his only season with the Knicks, was a sacrifice required to send off Jose Calderon’s contract.

Looking back, the results of the deal were conflicting at best. Rose played 64 games and averaged 18 points/game, but was a sieve defensively and had several off-the-court incidents, including a rape investigation and going AWOL midyear, that were part of a multitude of distractions for the Knicks team. The acquisition of Rose pushed Phil to go all-out in making the playoffs. Unfortunately, due to trading Lopez, he subsequently signed Joakim Noah to a disastrous 4 year/$72 million contract that still hurts the Knicks to this date. Noah played all of 53 games with the Knicks and was most noted for fighting with Jeff Hornacek in practice.

The Knicks ultimately started the season around .500, but a chain of distractions and an unfortunate losing streak after Christmas derailed the roster. Phil Jackson sparred with Melo throughout the season while the latter continued to show the decline in his game. The Knicks only won 31 games and Melo, Phil, & Rose were all gone after the season. The Joakim Noah contract remains on the Knicks’ books for another two seasons.

Furthermore, Kristaps Porzingis voiced his displeasure with the Knicks by skipping out on the exit meeting after the season. His dissatisfaction was largely due to the controversy surrounding this team. Ultimately, Phil tried to trade him before the 2017 draft and was fired for doing so. Porzingis still held contempt for the organization until the infamous trade in February 2019.

For the few bright sides, Justin Holiday showed to be a consummate professional with the Knicks. Holiday averaged 7.7 points/game and played all 82 games. He left after the season to rejoin the Bulls. The 2017 2nd round pick became Damyean Dotson.