New York Knicks NBA Draft History: 2005

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The New York Knicks walked out of the 2005 NBA Draft with three first-round picks, two of which made long-term impacts on the franchise.

Isiah Thomas‘ run as president of the New York Knicks led to more distress than delight, and his trading of future draft picks without hesitation came back to haunt this franchise. That’s not without mentioning his free agent signings.

The 2005 NBA Draft was different, however. Thomas managed to acquire three first-round picks, one of which the team’s own. He landed the other two via trade.

Finally, the Knicks were accumulating young talent to build towards a different look. While they still did not find long-term success, these picks had healthy NBA careers, including with title-winning teams.

player. 27. . PF. Arizona. Channing Frye. 8

Slash Line (with Knicks): .454/.222/.813
Career Averages (with Knicks): 10.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.6 BPG

The top 10 of the 2005 NBA Draft proved top heavy. Players like Andrew Bogut, Chris Paul and Deron Williams filled the top five. Raymond Felton even became a respectable player. After that, it was scattered with Charlie Villanueva, Martell Webster, Ike Diogu and Channing Frye.

The Knicks plucked Frye, a four-year man, from Arizona. He had prototypical big man size and played like a power forward, with a little under eight rebounds per game and 15 points. There was not much else to his game, though, and that became apparent when he struggled to live up to that hype.

Frye’s first year was actually solid, with 12.3 points and 5.8 rebounds on 47.7 percent shooting. With more playing time in his second season, though, he averaged below double-digit points in 59 starts. It was a disappointment, and Thomas included him in the 2007 win-now trade that brought Zach Randolph from the Portland Trail Blazers.

Frye had two quiet years in the Northwest, until he found a niche as a three-point shooter for the Phoenix Suns in 2009-10. His attempts skyrocketed from 0.5 per game the season before to 4.8, and he hit 43.9 percent of them. A night-and-day turnaround for a player who seemingly had this in his arsenal, but never had the chance to display it.

Three-point shooting as a seven-footer kept singlehandedly kept Frye in the NBA for the next 10 years. He found some defensive value in blocking shots down the road, but the “stretch four or five” was best suited for him, especially working alongside Steve Nash in Phoenix.

A heart issue took Frye out for the 2012-13 season, but he returned healthy afterward for the Suns, before a stint with Orlando.

Finally, the stop that made his career: Cleveland. Frye partook in two NBA Finals series, winning the 2016 title with the Cavs. He stayed for parts of four seasons there, retiring once the 2018-19 season ended.

PG. Washington. Nate Robinson. 21. player. 27.

Slash Line (with Knicks): .429/.353/.795
Career Averages (with Knicks): 12.5 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 2.8 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 1.3 3PM

Nate Robinson dunked his way into becoming a fan favorite for the New York Knicks. His four-and-a-half season run was not always efficient, but brought rare excitement to a franchise that had little of it in the back-end of the 2000s.

The Knicks acquired Robinson from the Suns at the 2005 NBA Draft, amid Phoenix’s era of trading away draft picks for questionable value. They also sent away Quinton Richardson, who was a valuable part of head coach Mike D’Antoni‘s offenses.

Robinson never became a full-time starter in New York, but his scoring off the bench happened in bursts, including 17.2 points per game in 2008-09 on a 32-50 team. It was D’Antoni’s first year with the Knicks, and he unleashed the athletic Washington product.

As the Knicks cleared roster space for the 2010 offseason, though, Robinson was traded to the Boston Celtics before the 2009-10 trade deadline. That began a journeyman run for the diminutive player, as he jumped from Boston to Oklahoma City, Golden State, Chicago, Denver, the Clippers and New Orleans over the next seven years. His most important role happened with the Bulls, playing all 82 games and averaging 40.5 percent on three-pointers in 2012-13.

Robinson faded out of the NBA at age 31 after three stops in the 2015-16 season, none of which offered a positive glimpse of his game; but if let him try overseas and even in the G League in the three years since.

David Lee. 30. player. 27. . PF. Florida

Slash Line (with Knicks): .557/.000/.774
Career Averages (with Knicks): 13.0 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 1.9 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.4 BPG

The lowest of the New York Knicks’ first-round picks in 2005 became their best.

This pick that became David Lee at No. 30 was originally San Antonio’s, who sent it in the 2004 deal for Nazr Mohammed. Lee had wrapped up four years at Florida, just missing the Gators’ title era.

After a year to dip his feet into the NBA, Lee averaged 10.7 points and 10.4 rebounds by his second season. He played the typical power forward role of the old NBA, not blocking many shots but working the boards accumulating enough points to supplement the center.

Lee was just 6-foot-9 and 245 pounds, though. It was small for the position — center — that always suited him best. Yet, he still dominated the boards and played like this player for most of his career, although defense was hardly a perfect part of his game, especially without the ability as a rim protector.

Nonetheless, Lee was a bright spot for the Knicks, including 20.2 points and 11.7 rebounds in his only All-Star season in 2009-10. It also became his last ride with the franchise, as they let him walk in the 2010 summer and shifted focus to Amar’e Stoudemire.

It was perhaps a blessing in disguise for Lee. While he played four seasons on mediocre Golden State Warriors teams with good stats, the 2014-15 campaign became a boon. Despite playing 49 games and starting only four, he was part of the title-winning team that kicked off a dynasty.

That all but closed Lee’s career, however. He spent the next two seasons with Boston, Dallas and San Antonio, before calling it a career in 2017.

Dijon Thompson. 54. player. 27. . F/G. UCLA

Slash Line: .425/.308/.875
Career Averages: 2.8 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.1 APG, 0.3 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 0.3 3PM

Dijon Thompson was part of the draft-day deal to acquire Nate Robinson. He played 10 games for Phoenix in 2005-06 and six for Atlanta in 2006-07 and has not appeared in the NBA since.

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The next draft retrospective will look back at the New York Knicks 2006 class.