A look at the fleeting acquisition and dismissal of recent Knicks' top draft Pick Jordan Hill
By: Orange and Blue
March 26, 2010
What if I were to tell you that the Knicks selection of Jordan Hill with the 8th pick in the 2009 draft, made plenty of prospective sense. With a front-court in the midst of uncertainty from the power forward to center position (Eddy Curry's weight and injuries, trade scenarios to expedite Jared Jefferies' contract, and David Lee's expiring contract status) Hill's acquisition in a point guard heavy draft was an attempt to fill a prospective void. Hill's acquisition, was also intended to provide the Knicks with a young, athletic, mobile forward with a jump shop suited to coach D'Antoni's style of play. In that context, the Knicks selected Hill. Yet, Hills selection transpired without much ado, as Knicks' fans forlorning was cast at some of the draft's more highly touted names- such as Stephen Curry, Ricky Rubio and Brandon Jennings to name but a few.
The first shot at bracket superiority was basically a bust for most of us as many of the big dogs of the brackets fell hard to lower seeds. Baby Daddy (Harlem Heat Bracket) and Modi are struttin' their stuff in the front of the pack as. Check out the standings after the jump.
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Based on the evidence uncovered by the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, the prosecution is recommending that Gilbert Arenas be sentenced to six months but required to serve 3 months with three suspended as he serves three years of probation and performs 300 hours of community service for pleading guilty to on count of carrying a pistol without a license. The 51-page sentencing report, which includes pictures of the four guns Arena brought into the arena, can be reviewed here.
According to the government the proposed sentence is fashioned to respond to Arenas' persistent lack of remorse, feigning of ignorance of the law, insistence that this was a laughing matter and refusa; to fully accept responsibility for his actions.
"I don't like to play bad rookies. I like to play good rookies[.] I do like Jordan. I think he'll be a nice player in the league, but that's as far as it goes." Knicks Coach, Mike D'Antoni
"Didn't hear that, but what can I say? That's him," "He's entitled to his own opinion, so if that's the way he feels, that's how he feels. I'm not trying to make a point. I'm just trying to play basketball. I just want to go out there and have fun and play my game." Rockets Rookie Reserve Power Forward, Jordan Hill
"[W]hen you play with some of those guys five, six years, you definitely want to go out there and compete against them and show them up a little bit[.]" Knicks Guard-Forward, Tracy McGrady
"You can't control Aaron Brooks making those big shots, which they were hard shots, [b]ut you can control get back. We didn't get back." Mike D'Antoni (Addressing Aaron Brooks 4th quarter heroics)
"Winning is always good, but it's always better when you contribute to it, when you have a part and a hand in your team winning[.] Especially against a former team, it's always fun." Jared Jefferies (Discussing the Rockets win over his former Knicks team)
Yesterday's 1pm matinee game against the Houston Rockets, could be deemed a battle of bruised ego's vendettas and indirect slights. For both the Knicks and Rockets former players who switched teams during the February 18th Trade Deadline met again at Madison Square Garden. For some, like Tracy McGrady, the game was an opportunity to demonstrate to his former team that he still had talent and ability to contribute to an NBA basketball organization. For others, such as the Knicks 2009 Eighth place rookie draft pick, Jordan Hill, the matinee affair was yet another opportunity to log the playing time so often not given to him by his former organization's coaching staff. However the game would end, some player or players from the Knicks-Rockets portion of the three team trade with the Sacramento Kings would obtain a measure of redemption against the former ballclub.
Instead of complaining about having been stuck on the bench as a rookie on a horrible undersized team, Jordan Hill, the Knicks lottery draft pick, is taking advantage of the opportunity presented and allowing his play to do the talking. Recently traded to the Houston Rockets by the Knicks, who are desperate for cap space, Jordan Hill finds himself playing significant minutes for a playoff contender after spending most of the season languishing on Mike D'Antoni's bench. Since he was traded to the Houston Rockets, who the Knicks play tonight, for a reconstruction project and some open cap space, Jordan Hill is averaging 15 minutes, 5.9 points and 4.9 rebounds. In his latest game against the Celtics he had 5 blocks to go along with 11 points and 7 rebounds in 27 minutes.
While there was some doubt that Jordan Hill could develop as needed this season on the Knicks, it was always clear that his performance was constantly improving and that the Knicks would have significantly benefited from his size and athleticism throughout the season. The fact that he was not given much of an opportunity is a testimony to D'Antoni's stubbornness and inability to figure out how to utilize any big man not Stoudemire.
Hill has taken his treatment in New York in stride and is happy to be in Houston, where they know what to do with big men.
Hill told the Houston Chronicle "Coach D'Antoni, he relies on his veterans more than rookies. He feels like his rookies need to learn more their first year so they could get everything down pat. I understood. I just wanted to wait patiently until my time was coming. My chance was here [in Houston] and I'm making the best of it," Hill said. "Fans there [in New York], they know what I can do. I just didn't have the opportunity to show it."
"That was a pretty good fourth quarter, I know that much. I didn't know he could do that. The guy has a big heart, and you can see that. He has some ice water in his veins."-- Mike D'Antoni
"It feels good we got the win. I was kind of in and out after foul trouble issues earlier. I just wanted to be aggressive when I got back on the court in the fourth quarter. I wanted to win this game so bad." -- Toney Douglas
"He was terrific. Mostly defense is heart and brains, and he has both. The biggest thing is he wants to do it. When you put you mind to it like he does and he's always ready, good things happen." -- Mike D'Antoni
Due to several Knicks injuries, the players were not the same, but the pattern between the Sixers and Knicks was eerily similar to the last meeting between the two teams. The Sixers started off in control but faded in the second half in large part because of end-of-season sloppiness and lackadaisical effort on both ends of the floor. In the end-game, while the Sixers act as though they are playing for the lottery, the Knicks play as though they are auditioning for major parts and contracts next season.
Yeah baby!!! Bloguin's numero uno self-proclaimed Guido, Ricky of Sixers4Guidos.com, was kind enough to give us some of his time to answer our last minute queries about tonight's opponent and his favorite team. Funny thing is that we can commiserate with Ricky, who is extremely unhappy with his team and management over how they have handled the season; and I thought no one could show or feel more disdain than the non-Gullible Knicks fans.
But perhaps tonight we can feel a little bit better than Ricky because for the first time in five years, we can actually win our series against the 76ers who had previously been running us into the ground. Last year the Sixers won all four contests. This season, so far we lead the series 2-1 and this game could clinch the tie breaker in case several teams disappear and we are left battling for playoff positioning. Otherwise, the honor has little meaning, unlike Ricky's comments, which give us a wholly different perspective on east coast misery. Check it out.
How would you rate your team’s performance relative to your expectations this season?
RICKY: SUCKING. I predicted 43 Ws before the season started (playoffs + a nice match-up in the first round) and I expected at least to have some fun with a good offense, high-scoring games, our young guys improving etc, etc. Stats tell that the Sixers got significantly worse offensively and our defense fell from average to atrocious.
Everything has been disappointing this year, many of our young players didn't improve much (Speights, to a lesser extent Williams) or even regressed (Thad Young, also Iguodala). The only bright spot was the emerging of rookie Jrue Holiday, who showed he has the talent to be a very good player in this League for a long, long time.
What are the two or three major issues which must be addressed in the off-season in order to substantially improve the team next year?
Wilson Chandler has been taken out of the rotation due to a lingering groin injury and coach Mike D'Antoni is considering shutting him down for the season with 14 games left. As this dismal season winds down and Chandler's appears to be ending, one reporter appropriately wondered aloud whether Wilson Chandler's performance made the Knicks a more attractive team to the upcoming summer's free agents. The question was particularly poignant since Donnie Walsh and coach D'Antoni made it clear that both Chandler and Gallinari had the responsibility to show free agents, like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, that they were a viable foundation for a winning foundation.
When asked how he faired this season, Wilson Chandler, who averaged 15.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists, was not overly enthusiastic about his performance only acknowledging that his season was "O.K.." He felt he could do better and he is right.
Wilson's statistical improvement was relatively minor from last season to the current one. Firmly entrenched in the starting unit, Chandler averaged 2.3 more minutes and both his shooting percentage (48% this season compared to 43% last season) and free throw percentage (.795 to .806) improved slightly. Early in the season, as he was returning from ankle surgery without adequate preparation, he was settling for three-pointers, but as the losses mounted D'Antoni encouraged Wilson to rely on his mid-range jumper and drives to the basket.
Wilson saw small declines in his rebounds (5.4 this season to 5.3 in 08-09), steals (0.7 to 0.9), blocked shots (0.8 to 0.9) and three point shooting from (33% to 27%). According to John Hollinger's personal efficiency rating (PER) Chandler improved his production per minute played but remains below the league average.
However, Chandler's development must be seen well beyond the statistics and within the dull grey kaleidoscope of the Knicks experience.
As I was traveling the blogosphere early this morning, looking for new, interesting and unusual stuff, I ran into a video which had me in stitches. The only problem is that it was promoting the "Boom Tho Movement" which I had never ever heard of and with such an esoteric name sounded more like a potential threat to homeland security than anything related to sports blogging. But after a couple of clicks which took me to Facebook and www.toomuchrodbenson, I was advised that the movement has it's own gear, profit motif and has many objectives, none more important than that of bringing fun and honesty back into pro sports. Whether is be basketball, football, golf, or whatever, pro sports needs a certain degree of boom-tho-ness these days. No more scandals or controversies, just the ability to have fun and keep it real. Boom." It may sound impossible, but I do believe the following video accomplishes part of the mission and proves that "Anything is possible" maybe even "internet domination." (We're trying!!) Laugh a little.