Re-draft of the 2008 NBA Draft for the Knicks: Danilo Gallinari
Knicks pick: 1st Round, Pick 6
Actual player selected: Danilo Gallinari
In 2008, the league was caught in a Dirk Nowitzki craze, and teams were looking for the next Dirk. Franchises became more open towards picking international big men, and those who could shoot were prematurely compared to the Mavericks star.
Gallinari fell victim to these lofty expectations and comparisons, but at the time, the pick was not well-received by the Knicks’ fanbase. Gallinari was yet another unproven European big, and the ghost of Frédéric Weis still haunted the Garden.
However, Gallinari was a fantastic pick at number six. The Knicks missed out on Russell Westbrook (4th pick) and Kevin Love (5th pick), but Gallinari has had the best career of the players the Knicks could have picked at the time. Brook Lopez (10th pick) makes an argument, but Gallinari’s game has aged like fine wine, and he is still a significant contributor at age 31.
His rookie season was marred with injuries, and he only played 28 games. However, he averaged 15.1 points and 4.9 rebounds in his second season, playing 81 games. Before being traded for Carmelo, he averaged 15.9 points and 4.8 rebounds and was thriving in the D’Antoni offense next to Amar’e Stoudemire.
Gallinari’s Denver career was clouded with injuries, but he experienced a career renaissance with the Clippers and Thunder, thriving as a floor-spacing four in today’s NBA. He could even make a return to the Knicks this offseason and be in line for a big payday.