Knicks Acquire McDyess On Draft Day

Following one of the most disappointing seasons in over a decade, the New York Knicks made the most of it's draft day, acquiring Antonio McDyess and the 25th pick in the draft from the Denver Nuggets while giving up Marcus Camby, Mark Jackson, and their seventh pick. The acquisition of McDyess gives the Knicks an immediate low post presence, and also rid the Knicks of an injury plagued Marcus Camby and the slow footed Mark Jackson.

The move puts the Knicks in a position to return to the NBA playoffs after finishing last in the division last year.

McDyess, a former all-star, played in only 10 games last year for the Nuggets after having left knee surgery last October. Before his injury McDyess was Denver's top gun, averaging 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. However McDyess was unhappy with the constant losing in Denver and would have probably opted out of his contract after this year if he stayed with the team. As a result, Denver was looking for teams to deal him to.

McDyess should give the Knicks a tremendous boost in the post, commanding double teams that should take pressure off of Latrell Sprewell and Allen Houston. Not only is McDyess a low post threat, he is also one of the better shot-blockers in the league and has a decent shooting range from outside. McDyess also runs the floor well, and with the removal of the slow paced Mark Jackson, the Knicks could take more advantage of fast break opportunities and become more of an up tempo team.

The 2002-2003 season is the fourth year of McDyess' 6 year $67.5 million contract, and may opt out of the deal if not resigned. As a result, the Knicks may decline to sign McDyess after the season and go after another free agent.

The Knicks used their seventh pick to draft Brazilian Nene Hilario. Hilario, a 6-9 240 pound power forward, was soon packaged along with Jackson and Camby for McDyess and the 25th pick. The Knicks rid themselves of Jackson's contract and a player in Camby who could not stay healthy for an entire year. However, when healthy Camby was an energetic player who found ways to be active, and was a shot-blocking threat on the defensive end and finisher on the offensive end.

Although Jackson was a solid offensive point guard, his defensive liabilities hurt the Knicks in several games last year. Dealing Jackson gave the Knicks point guard situation more shape for next year, with Charlie Ward assuming the starting role. They replaced Jackson by drafting point guard Frank Williams from Illinois, a player who averaged 16.2 points, 4.4 assists, and 2 steals a game during his junior year.

While the acquisition of McDyess will probably make the Knicks more competitive next year, they also had several other options on draft day. The Knicks could have drafted Chris Wilcox, a player which many reports had the Knicks interested in, and kept Camby. Essentially, the Knicks gave up two power forwards (a potential number 7 pick in Wilcox, and Camby) for McDyess. The Knicks apparently did not want to develop a rookie such as Wilcox and build for the future, and opted to go with the proven veteran.

Currently, the Knicks do not have a true center, with Kurt Thomas assuming the role as of now. They are rumored to be in the hunt for signing free agent center Keon Clark with their $ 4.7 million exception. But if that deal does not fall through, the Knicks need to find a way to acquire a big body to occupy the middle.

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