Grading the Balkman Deal

Just to clarify the specifics of the deal, the Nuggets have the option to swap the 2010 second round pick with the Clippers as per the Marcus Camby deal, meaning the Knicks would get the Clippers pick.

I, for one, was always split on Renaldo Balkman as a player. It’s hard not to root for one of the few guys that hustled on this team. And yes, he dunked everything. In fact, I would have morning sit downs with friends at work who were proud South Carolina Gamecock alumns who would pick him for their fantasy teams.

And be in last place.

Let’s be realistic here, he was an awful draft pick. I hate the 20/20 hindsight people who say “awe man we could have drafted ______ but our GM was an idiot.” I still get crazy when people say we passed on Karl Malone for Kenny Walker.

The draft is a crapshoot, we know this, but I think I’d rather have Rajon Rondo or Jordan Farmar in the backcourt at this point. Moreover, why on earth didn’t Isiah try and trade up to the mid-teens?
Oh well, that’s history now that Balkman is in Denver.

The point is moot, the idea here is that the guy who drafted Balkman and annointed him the fan’s new favorite, is also the guy who stunted his growth by drafting another small forward a year later. Frankly, I’m not sure any of Isiah Thomas’ bizarre bench decisions were as head scratching as benching Balkman early last year.

In fairness, Balkman is not a power forward, he’s an energy player who hurts a team at the 3 because he can’t shoot and hurts at team at the 4 because at barely over 200lbs, he can’t guard the post. Sure, he made up for it with dunks, lose balls, tips and steals, but that only equals some 10-15 minutes per game, max. A player with those skills has a place on the court in lopsided games and shootouts, which was every Knick game this year, but in tight games, it’s hard to justify them being on the court.

More minutes would have allowed for Balkman’s weaknesses to be exposed, weaknesses that Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari simply don’t have.

From a trade standpoint, ignore the money aspect. Yes, the Knicks save $2 million dollars, but this is about roster flexibility. There are more moves coming, so let’s be patient here.

Balkman was not a difference maker, if you understand the game you know that Gallinari and Chandler have higher ceilings and deserve to play more. At the end of the day, if this sets up another deal it’s the right move.

Rating: B