With the news of Isiah Thomas being hired by the New York Knicks as a “part-time consultant” with the organization, you’re going to read and hear a lot of moralizing about what a despicable move this is by Knicks owner James Dolan — who remained close friends with Isiah in spite of the $11.6 million he cost the organization from a sexual harassment lawsuit brought on by a former Knicks employee. There should be no question that this hiring shows extremely poor judgment on Dolan’s part, but that’s nothing new for him and the Knicks. Just when I thought that organization couldn’t become a bigger joke than they already have been over the past six seasons, they prove me wrong with this move.
What really amazes me about Isiah Thomas (besides the fact that he apparently has more lives than a video game character with cheat codes) is that he has fooled Dolan and a surprising number of NBA fans into believing that he’s some kind of scouting genius that is a huge asset to any team if he’s only used as a talent evaluator with no actual power to make personnel decisions. When you actually look at his track record, his last truly great move with the Knicks was drafting David Lee with the 30th overall pick in the 2005 draft. Let’s review his drafting history as the Knicks’ GM.
|Year||Pick||Player||Who he could have drafted|
|2007||23rd||Wilson Chandler||Rudy Fernandez (24th), Aaron Brooks (26th), Carl Landry (31st)|
|2006||20th||Renaldo Balkman||Rajon Rondo (21st), Daniel Gibson (42nd), Paul Millsap (47th)|
|2006||29th||Mardy Collins||Gibson, Millsap|
|2005||8th||Channing Frye||Andrew Bynum (10th), Danny Granger (17th)|
|2005||21st||Nate Robinson (from Phoenix)||Jarrett Jack (22nd), Jason Maxiell (26th)|
|2005||30th||David Lee||N/A – great pick|
|2004||43rd||Trevor Ariza||N/A – great pick|
I see two great late draft picks early in Isiah Thomas’ tenure and three awful picks — including the last two selections at the end of his reign of error. For a former point guard, he sure doesn’t seem all that effective at recognizing point guard talent. Some Knicks fans believe that Thomas would have drafted Brandon Jennings instead of Jordan Hill in the 2009 draft if he was still the GM. Considering that he passed over Rajon Rondo and Aaron Brooks with his last two picks, I wouldn’t be so sure of that.
This is the “great talent evaluator” so many people heap praise upon? I don’t see it. The scouting staff of the Spurs and Rockets are the gold standard for talent evaluation right now, in my opinion — and as far as I know, they don’t have any employees with Isiah’s deplorable character.
Forget about what you think of Isiah Thomas as a person — he’s not even that good of a scout. So why did the Knicks hire him again? There’s only one explanation I can come up with: James Dolan is out of his ever-lovin’ mind. Somewhere, a Knicks fan reads that last sentence and responds, “Yeah, tell me something I don’t know.”