Draft for best available talent or need? This is the age-old question that permeates through war rooms prior to the event that immediately transforms amateurs to professionals in a matter of seconds.
During my exclusive sit down interview with Knicks EVP of basketball operations and general manager Glen Grunwald directly after New York’s selection in the draft, we discovered the rationale behind the high-pressure decision.
“Well, it’s a long process that begins over the course of years as you identify players that may potentially be NBA players and you build a dossier about them with all the information you can about them and watch them in a number of games and then it becomes an interview process, individual workout process, looking at a lot of film, doing a lot of background checks about them, talking to people they know,” Grunwald explained.
Late on Thursday evening at MSG Training Center, the front office staff and head coach Mike Woodson elected to select Tim Hardaway Jr. with the No. 24 overall pick. On June 11, the former Michigan standout poured out some sweat in front of the decision makers on the Knicks practice floor. The shooting guard told reporters he wanted to display his athletic attributes and ability to defend multiple positions.
As Hardaway Jr. showed off his immense talents, Grunwald and the Knicks staff added another piece to the drafting puzzle when attempting to create the full picture on the prospect.
“We try to assemble as much information as we can about each player and then we try to make the right decision,” Grunwald added.
New York’s EVP and GM made it quite clear during the interview on KnicksNow.com following the selection, the Knicks mindset was to draft the optimum talent available when the clock dripped down to zero and the 24th pick was in their hands.
“We thought he was the best player and that was the first criteria we wanted to look at,” Grunwald confirmed. The second criteria in order of priority was, could he contribute next year because we need players to come in, we’re in a position to win right now and we don’t’ have a lot of time trying to develop those players. The third criteria was positional, where we could use players and we only have two guards under contract at this time [June 28], so we felt is good to have that position covered but we also could have argued for a big player or point guard, so it really came down to the best player.”
Hardaway Jr. will now head to Las Vegas for Summer League and showcase his skills in a Knicks uniform for the first time on July 12. The narrative on his draft night selection is an interesting retrospect to find out New York’s philosophy. The good news for the Knicks and their strong fan base is the franchise landed a high-caliber player that possibly hit the trifecta; best available talent, a specific need, and the depth at the position they coveted.