Shortly after the Knicks selected Stanford’s Landry Fields with the 39th pick in Thursday’s NBA draft at MSG, ESPN showed a Knick fan holding a flag. The expression on his face was one of confusion, disappointment almost. Clearly the picks of Fields and Syracuse’s Andy Routins was not on his personal wish list when he walked into MSG earlier that night. But he wasn’t alone. In fact, the entire section of Knick fans looked perplexed.
The picks were, at the very least, unconventional. Maybe too much so, given who was left on the board. The easy picks weren’t made. This works out sometimes. Diamonds in the rough are always fun, when you can find them. But sometimes those “diamonds” are in the rough for the reason. They aren’t good.
That may not be the case for either of these players. Anything anyone says about any of these players is purely prognostication and nothing else. Anyone who tells you otherwise is far too arrogant for his own good. However, on the surface, it seams that both Knick picks carry a degree of eye-brow raising potential.
Routins played four seasons at Syracuse. Last season, he averaged 12.1 points a game and just under five assists. He shot 44 % from the field and 41% from behind the arc. Looking for guard help, it was clear where the Knicks were going with this pick. Routins stats are very comparable to that of Lance Stephenson (Cinn.), who went two picks later. In fact, as a distributer, Routins’ wipes the floor with Stephenson’s 2.5 assists per game. The points are comparable enough that Routins was probably the smart pick, if the Knicks were 100% set on a guard.
However, if we’re taking this at face value, Gani Lawall, Jarvis Vernatto, or Devin Ebanks may have been better picks. Vernatto is a defensive force who can block a ton of shots. He may have been the big defensive guy in the middle that the Knicks need. Lawall averaged almost 15 points and 10 rebounds in his final year in college. Ebanks had first round talent, according to some. He’s another guy who can play defense. Something the Knicks need, desperately.
Even the most optimistic of Knick fans have an issue with the Fields pick. Fields is a forward who averaged 22 points and 9 (well, 8.8) rebounds for Stanford. Before you wax poetic about these numbers, remember what conference they came from- that’s right, the pac-10. Normally, the pac-10 isn’t a great conference to begin with. This year, it was particularly bad, getting only 2 bids in the NCAA tournament (same as the WAC, WCC, and C-USA).
Landry was first team all-pac-10 on a bad Stanford team, but does that really say a whole lot? If you’re going to take a forward, why not Ebanks? Or even Da’Sean Butler? It has to strike you as odd, at the very least.
At the end of the day, these are two small pieces to a very big picture. It’s obvious now that the entire organization had next week circled in black ink and tonight highlighted in pink. That’s not a bad thing either. The eggs should be in the free agency basket.
But championship teams don’t tend to skimp on even the littlest things. It would seam at this moment that the Knicks skimped on tonight. That, or they’re geniuses.
Mike D’Antoni spoke to ESPN’s Rachael Nichols after the pick was made. “They are smart, they can shoot,” said the coach about his new blood “We’re very excited.”
At least someone is.
*Update or ”While I was writing that”: The Knicks, in addition to taking Andy Routins and Landry Fields, bought the Bucks #44 pick, Jerome Jordan. Jordan is a center out of Tulsa. He’s a hair under 7 feet (6’11.5) who averaged 15.4 points per game, 9.1 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks. He’s a good mid-range shooter. According to scouts, his effort on defense and focus could be an issue.
The purchase absolutly fills a need for a big down low. If he can play a little more consistantly at the NBA level, Jordan may be a nice contributor for the Knicks.
About the Author
Written by Jordan Lauterbach
Jordan Lauterbach began his career in sports media when he was just 15 years old at WKWZ - Syosset. He hosted a sports talk show for nearly four years before moving on to WCWP - Brookville in 2006. Lauterbach currently hosts a sports talk show every Wednesday night from 9pm - midnight (eastern) and a College Football talk show on Saturday mornings from 11am - 12:30 (eastern) (can be heard online at wcwpsports.com and on Long Island on 88.1fm). Follow me on twiiter: jlauterbach1