Isiah Buys Some Time with Latest Lottery Results
It could have been a lot worse. With the likes of Greg Ogden and Kevin Durant sitting at the top of everyone's draft board, the Knicks (aka the Bulls) drew the ninth selection in the NBA Draft Lottery in Secaucus, New Jersey. Knick fans everywhere would have revolted if the ping-pong balls fell differently. But for now, team president/head coach Isiah Thomas lives to work another day after the Eddy Curry trade.
The 2007 draft is considered to be a strong class. Whoever Chicago receives at the number nine spot should be a helpful player, although most likely not a starter. But anything is possible. Since 1997, four major players were selected ninth: Amare Stoudemire (2002); Shawn Marion (1999); Dirk Nowitzki (1998) and Tracy McGrady (1997).
The five-player deal that took place on October 4, 2005 will be critiqued for years to come. The main parts of the trade were Curry and the two number one picks. Last season, the Bulls ended up with forward Tyrus Thomas from LSU. They had the number two pick in 2006 and selected LaMarcus Aldridge, but made a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers to wind up with Thomas and Viktor Khtyapa. Thomas averaged 5.2 PPG during his rookie regular season and 5.1 during the playoffs. With him only turning 21 on August 17, he has a world of potential ahead of him. Khtyapa, the 6'9" forward from Russia, only played in 33 games and averaged just over two PPG.
Curry has been in the league for five years, yet is still only 24. In his first season in New York, he started 81 games and averaged 19.5 PPG and seven RPG. He improved by six points and one and a half boards from his career numbers, all in Chicago. His .576 field goal percentage was good enough for fourth in the league last season.
No one ever questioned the talent that Curry brings to the court. It has been his fire and desire that has been the issue. He can score and has a nice touch for a big player. But his defense and rebounding have been spoken about, as has his conditioning and maturity.
Thomas has maintained his stance since day one that although the two drafts were strong, he was content with obtaining the Bulls' man-child. "I like the players that we have and I'm happy with the guy that I have," Thomas said to reporters. "Extremely happy with him."
The old belief is that if you can obtain a franchise center, you do it. Thomas viewed Curry as that type of player and he has shown flashes of being just that. Even though there are second round picks still owed to Chicago as part of the trade, it appears that a franchise center will not be a part of the Bulls from their take. And that can only be looked at as a positive for the Knicks when breaking down one of the most important trades in team history.