I want to say how badly I feel for Renaldo Balkman. He got nailed all night long on ESPN [and nearly everywhere else]. This was Isiah's dumb move to take him at #20 and for a position they do not need [while the next two picks were guys they really could have used].
But Balkman didn't deserved to be slammed like that...and I didn't appreciate the was ESPN used him as a walking punchline like that. If it wasn't for the Blazers making six trades during the day....I'd be willing to bet that the Balkman jokes would have continued most of the night.
What if you are Balkman?
What if you sat in front of the television....hoping you would be picked. Hoping that when the 40s or 50s rolled around, your name may be called. I mean, ya know you're gonna have to bust butt in the summer leagues just to get on the team and make any scratch....and in doing so your career could end any day.
Instead, when that #20 pick rolls around....about halfway thru where you'd thought you'd be....and the the team in the largest city in North America wants you. You are a first rounder. Guaranteed contract...and more money than you thought you'd ever get. Seriously. He will be able to sign a contract for around $3M over three years instead of maybe the rookie minimum which would be around $400K for a year.
Imagine in the Balkman household....some hugs, tears, cheers and love. And then getting to hear the ESPN guys talk about him like he's a disease. He's a decent player. He works hard, doesn't need the ball to stay happy and is the kind of person the Knicks need. Just not with the #20 pick. Not when they have a pick 9 spots later and with no interest in any of the teams selecting in the next 8.
I said before that it just seems that Isiah wants to be fired. Wants his money and wants a quick way out of dodge....before the season starts. I think he knows that the upcoming season will be a slow and painful death and he will be ridiculed worse than when he was hiding in thehallways of MSG. He will be standing on the floor with thousands of cameras watching every bead of sweat drip from his forehead.
I'm not saying at all that Balkman's game is worth the #20 pick....nor am I advocating the Knicks selection of him. I'm just saying that the personal attacks on him should stop.
I am sure whenever Balkman walks on the floor for the first time....he may hear an entire arena of boos. Not because of who he is....but what he is. A second round pick taken at #20.
I am also sure that when the fans see Balkman bust his butt all over the floor while the millionaires around him whine, pout, moan and gripe.....they'll cheer for him.