Danillo Gallinari vs Eric Gordon (What could have been)
I'm tired of talking Melo (even though his name comes up in this thread). AND, no... this is not a bash Gallo piece. I just see Gordon is red hot right now, and I was such a big fan of him his freshman year at Indiana...
I still recall it vividly, sitting there watching the 2008 NBA draft... ALL NYK fans were still perturbed what happened with the lottery ping pong balls- not only did the Knicks lose the Rose sweepstakes but CHI, of all clubs, happened to leap up and steal the #1 pick. GOOD GRIEF!
The Knicks were picking 6th... Some said it was a 1 player draft (Rose), while others said the lottery only had 2 legit players (Rose-Beasley). The rest were vying for leftovers... role players... whatnot. Whatever.
There was OJ Mayo. Kevin Love. Russell Westbrook. AND ERIC GORDON.
Sure, looking back you'll see there's a bunch of quality players in this draft. And, yes, there were a few who even thought B-Lopez was up there as a bona fide lottery talent.
BUT, when I was preparing for the draft, it really only boiled down to 4 names (Mayo, Love, Westbrook, Gordon).
The Knicks just hired a new GM (Walsh) who then hired a new HC (D'antoni). There were rumors that they hoped Mayo would fall, but were ready to go with Westbrook as their selection. The dude was an athletic freak, could play defense, and most agreed that priority #1 was to find (draft) a QB for Mikey D's SSOL, which is so dependent on a PG to run the system.
Love didn't fit. Mayo wouldn't drop. So, to me, the pick boiled down to two players (Westbrook or Gordon).
I watched a lot of Indiana games that year. I absolutely loved Gordon. To me, he was the complete package. He was a BULL (NBA strong), he could penetrate, he could shoot, he played defense, he had court discipline and vision. Sure, he wasn't really a PG. BUT, isn't that what coaches are for?
Well, apparently that wasn't good enough for Walsh-D'ant. Soon, this name of some Italian kid started to surface. Some kid named Gallinari. Then we hear how Mike D played with his father. I'm thinking something like, 'NO WAY Walsh will pass on a special talent like Eric Gordon just b/c his new HC wants to coach his god son, right?
Surely, Mike D can envision Gordon being his future Nash. He's tireless. He can drain the 3. He's super strong and can handle the physical NBA play. He'll run the show. Not bad in case Westbrook is gone.
So... with this in mind... there I am come 2008 draft. Rose goes to the Bulls. Beasley and Mayo off the board. Then OKC takes Westbrook. I'm fine with this, b/c at this point I wanted Gordon. He was my #1 choice anyway (after Rose of course). Then MIN takes LOVE. GREAT. COOL. We get Gordon.
NOPE. We take Gallinari. It took LAC about 2.8 seconds to run up to the podium and happily declare their selection with the very next pick: Eric Gordon.
*Side note: CLIPPERS did pretty well for themselves huh. WIth their next pick (#35), they draft DeAndre Jordon. The next draft LAC takes Blake G. Gordon-Jordan-Griffin should be a championship core if surrounded with thwe right parts. OKC vs LAC. Who will put it together first?
ANYWAY... Fast fwd 2.5 seasons.
Eric Gordon averages 24 ppg. 3 rebounds and 4.5 assists. He shoots 37.6 pct from 3-point range in his NBA career.
Gallo avaregaes 15 ppg. 4.5 rebounds. 1.7 assists. He shoots 42.4 pct from 3-point range in his NBA career.
NOW, to be fair, despite the claim of nepotism.. The playoffs that year featured teams that excelled b/c they had TALL (6"10') shooters who stretched the floor (mainly ORL Lewis & Hedo for ORL). There was a method to the madness... I hope.
But, still.... despite reports that this kid could shoot and had legit competitive drive... He had a back issue. Really? If there were any flags, then just go with the SAFE pick (Eric Gordon).
AND, to me... Having 2 lottery picks before the summer of tge Lebron free agency... It was imperative to GO SAFE.
Eric Gordon would have made a great Knicks. Of course, he would have to go to DEN for Anthony anyway... BUT:
1) If we had Gordon, would it be easier to get Melo?
2) If we had Gordon, would it be easier to pass on Melo?
3) If we had Gordon, do we get Lebron?