New York Knicks Draft: The Andrea Bargnani Effect


Evaluating how Andrea Bargnani has effected the future of the New York Knicks.

As the 2016 NBA Draft approaches, this should be an exciting time for a New York Knicks team that finished with a poor enough record to land in the Lottery for a second straight year. They got a rising star in last year’s draft by the name of Kristaps Porzingis.

With Porzingis on the roster, New York improved its record by 15 wins in the 2015-2016 season, and now should be in a position to pick up another young star who it can continue to build the team around.

That’s not the case. The Knicks currently do not have a pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Their pick was swapped with the Denver Nuggets in the Carmelo Anthony trade. New York then swapped that pick in a trade with the Toronto Raptors for Andrea Bargnani.

So at least it’s not all for nothing. I mean, New York still has… Oh, right.

Andrea Bargnani was picked up after the impressive Knicks season of 2012-2013 when they won 54 games and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. Bargnani was supposed to be the piece that put them over the top and allowed them to advance even further.

Bargnani was the first overall draft pick in the 2006 NBA Draft pick by the Toronto Raptors, where he never quite lived up to expectation. The Knicks, ever looking for instant success, felt that they could resurrect his career and get him to live up to that first overall draft pick status.

That, of course, did not happen. He was oft injured for two years, averaging just 13.3 and 14.8 points per game, respectively, before being let go by the Knicks—and ultimately the NBA.

Bargnani was waived by the Brooklyn Nets in February and hasn’t been picked up by any other team.

For years, this is what the Knicks did. Always chasing instant success, that one player who could put them over the top, that missing piece. The Knicks were never just one player away, though. They were merely selling their future to be a moderately better team year-to-year.

This is not meant to be an indictment article, however, as it seems that culture has changed with the arrival of Phil Jackson.

Phil Jackson’s tenure has been much scrutinized with his insistence on running the Triangle Offense, his coaching carousel, and most importantly, his inability to draw big name Free Agents to the Big Apple.

That was the main reason he was hired: in hopes that his 11 rings would have stars champing at the bit to play under the Zen Master in the bright lights of New York City.

That hasn’t happened.

Last year the Knicks were able to sign Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo, Derrick Williams and Kyle O’Quinn. Those aren’t exactly head-turners, though Lopez has solidified a strong front-court and Williams is a solid energy player off the bench.

They ultimately failed to make a splash once again, letting big-name targets such as LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Monroe slip through their grasp.

What they also didn’t do was mortgage their future. Jackson seemed adamant about not trading any more future draft picks for moderate talent, or reaching in hopes of reviving someones career. Even missing out on Greg Monroe, I believe was due to our unwillingness to overpay him.

That’s a good thing that will eventually pay off.

So as you tune out the NBA draft noise, cursing the fact we are watching our DVR recording from last year’s draft of Porzingis for the 10,000th time instead of seeing a new reason for optimism, take a moment and realize this is the last of our blunders. We may still be suffering from past mistakes, but it looks as though we have gotten things turned around.

This could be the turning point.

We have next year’s draft pick, we have cap space, and we have a young star to build around. We’re building this team the right way. Most importantly, we no longer have Andrea Bargnani on our team.

must read: How the New York Knicks could potentially land a first-round draft pick in 2016

Things could be worse.