With Jordan Hill Emerging, Stakes On Donnie’s Gambit Increase

Jordan Hill’s last two games for the Houston Rockets have been pretty productive. Averaging 25 minutes, Hill has had 11 and 12 points, and 8 rebounds in both games.

We were never in the “Jordan Hill is a bust so Donnie Walsh is a washed up hack” boat. It’s funny to see many of the folks who pushed that line so aggressively now argue that “Jordan Hill is an all-star so Donnie Walsh is a washed up hack.”

I think Hill projects as a borderline starter or productive rotation player. But as he proves that he can be productive, the pressure increases on Walsh to justify trading him. The better Hill gets, the more crucial it will be this summer for Walsh to make sure Hill doesn’t turn into another good-asset-squandered for the Knicks. In the highly unlikely event that Hill does turn into a in-his-prime Jermaine O’Neal, or the next Amare Stoudemire, the trade will be looked at as a colossal mistake if Walsh doesn’t score big time in free agency.

There are so many possibilities this summer, and that’s the main reason Donnie was willing to add Hill and his $3 million to Jeffries $6.5 million. If Hill continues to play well, the pressure on Walsh to replace him with something better is going to intensify.



    How can anyone call Jordan Hill a bust or an all star–he never played.

    The bad taste in my mouth is–on such a poor team–proven to be poor quickly into the season–why don’t they use Jordan Hill at C next to David Lee for 20 games with a minimum of 25 minutes? You can understand why NO wouldn’t play Collison many minutes–they had Chris Paul. We had a very disinterested Darko playing C and while he is not burning it up in Minnesota[hasn’t played poorly either] he has adapted much better there than here. It proves there is some kind of disconnect with MDA–we also have other examples of that. But the bottom line is when MDA took that 6mm per–he took it on the basis that these two years would be –try to stay competitive and rebuild with some younger guys. What applied to Gallo shouldve applied to Douglas and Hill–you want to see what you have. Also–Douglas –while he isnt really a PG–looks every bit of a decent 6th man who can slide into the 1 if needed. He played well than unceremoniously benched again. MDA has not coached or managed the team well–and no one above him used any authority to help the situation.

    • Dan L

      Easy to blame the coach and I knew when I was writing this that the comments would be focused on blaming D’Antoni.

      Tommy Dee had a point on Twitter this morning that there was no room for him because the Knicks HAD to play Jeffries if they hoped to move him. Jeffries, Al, Lee and Gallo were all ahead of him.

      Also, my conspiratorial mindset thinks there’s a chance he didn’t play because the team purposefully wanted to devalue him in hopes that other teams wouldn’t want him in trades and they could hold onto him.

      All that said, I would’ve liked to see him play more than he did here. If he had proven himself here maybe the Knicks could have held onto some of their other assets like the pick swap or the 2012 pick. Maybe they could have gotten more back in return. On the other hand, maybe it wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

      • BRIGGS

        The Knicks wanted to raise Jefferies value so much it only took Jordan Hill and possibly two lottery picks to get rid of him.
        Sorry no conspiracy theories needed–the Knicks did not play Jordan Hill because they are the worst run team in American sports. The billion $ we have spent in salaries and taxes to avg 29 wins over the last 9 years is my hard evidence.

        They took Jordan Hill–then they failed to see what he had and traded him for what could be 0.

          • BRIGGS

            I don’t know–they didn’t let him play. Who was the superior player they had at C–Jefferies? Milicic? This was a fluid player at AZ –he’s not as raw as most of the big men in this draft. At MINIMUM they should of let him play 5 games in the D league 40 minutes to see more game action. Nope–won’t accept bad PR.

          • Dan L

            I agree with you. I said before they should have let him play. But I’m not willing to say they made a mistake trading him yet. Not until this summer. I don’t see him as a franchise player, which is what the reward could be for trading him. You think it won’t happen? Fine. But it could. My stance is to wait and see if it does before I tar and feather anybody.

  2. EwingOak

    I agree with you Dan L. You really just can’t know how everything was gonna turn out with Hill. He didn’t play all that much like you said and it would have been nice to see him burn a bit more to get a better grasp on his talents and potential, but your reasonings for him not playing with regard to trade value decreasing actually make some good sense. It just didn’t pan out the way Donnie probably wanted it to and he had to make a few extra cuts here and there to free up the space to meet his plan.

    Regardless of the outcome, I have to give credit to Donnie for sticking with what he said when he got here and getting the Knicks as much money to spend as possible for next year. There are far too many criticisms of this plan before it actually gets the Knicks a chance to reep some benefits this summer. I find it so hard to imagine how a Knicks fan can’t be completely excited. I know there have been a few moves made that the majority doesn’t see as a positive step.. but all these steps have gotten Donnie to his goal of maximum money. That’s what he said he would do and that’s what he did. The fans should have thrown him out from day one rather than turn on the plan just because it isn’t going the way that they have drawn it up. There are usually many paths to get from A to B, and not everyone will take the same steps. I am excited for all of it and give alot of credit to Donnie and Mike for giving the Knicks a chance to do something great.

    • Dan L

      Well said EwingOak. It’s too hard to evaluate Walsh’s tenure so far, if not impossible. The proof will be in the pudding NEXT year. If you call him a failure now you risk looking pretty bad if the Knicks strike gold. If you say he’s already succeeded, same thing.

      The only thing you can say is that if he was trying to get far enough under the cap to offer two maxes, he did a great job.

    • Cee La Rock

      @ EwingOak

      I see you and Dan are on the same page but C’mon guy are u kidding me. What did Walsh do that is great Ok i give he stuck to his plan…yeah and what does that do? He traded awayZach= goes to memphis and becomes an allstar/ craw-goes to atl and is helping them right now having a great season. Not to mention trading away Jefferies and picks???? he did all this for what to bring Bosh and JJ???Now hes back pedeling saying theres a chance they dont land either Wade or LBJ…so what was the point to sin 2 class B FA to max deals and put us back to squre one? What has Mike D done this season ??

  3. EwingOak

    @Cee La Rock

    Listen, I’m not saying that the end result of all of this is absolutely the best possible outcome.. none of us know what is going to happen with everything. But I am on the same page as Dan L on his stuff because rather than bash everything that has gone on in the last couple of years, I would rather wait until the trip is over before I complain about where it all ends up. Trust me, when some of these moves were made I was not all that excited.. but I believed that it was for a shot at something better… which is what I still believe in. I also have seen quite a few things out of D’Antoni that I am not in agreement with, but he at least is taking his approach on all of this and I can’t really judge him as a disaster until he gets the players he wants on this team. Once everything is said and done after the next couple of seasons and Mike and Donnie have had a chance to take a stab at what they have been planning, then I will judge it. I watch almost every game and only look for a few good things that can be brought forward, not get upset at what has been done. I don’t think I could say that I wanted to be a fan of something that did nothing but upset me. I feel relatively good about the way the Knicks are going and I will be on the supportive side of this whole plan until it is built… .then I will be able to see if it looks good and has a future. I certainly prefer all of the changes going on with the Knicks over trying to justify keeping too many pieces of a puzzle that just wasn’t fitting together. And Zach and Jamal are amazingly talented and it completely sucked that they didn’t get a chance to become something better with the Knicks, but they got moved to situations that were much better for them and the teams they went to. I am hoping the same type of things happen with the Knicks and they land players that will be even better than Zach, Jamal, Jeffries, Hill …. WHOEVER… could have been with the Knicks.

    • CeeLARock


      Point taken..i see u…What pisses me off is the Knicks brass sold us (the fans) on how they are going to get LeBron and another max FA.. Now that we are almost there they are back pedaling and all your hearing is JJ and Bosh and we might not even get him? Why is MDA not giving Douglas PT? He should ne molding him right now on how to run the offense? Duhon is shot so with nothing to play for the Kids should get the PT right or wrong?

      @ Dan i will not bash MDA no more…unless he really does somthing crazy..my focus is Walsh…he did nothing impressive with Indy nothing that says wow..i cant wait for him to be our GM..i really belive the Knicks blew it when they passed on COLANGELO..

      • Dan L

        Briggs, do u really think he didn’t do anything impressive in Indy? He traded Dale Davis for Jermaine oneal and Jalen rose for brad miller and Ron artest. That’s on top of the back in the day stuff like drafting Antonio Davis in the second round and Reggie and rik smits.

        I respect your opinion but I’d like to know why that isn’t impressive. As for the promising lebron thing, he’s never said the word lebron. That’s been all press speculation. He has commented on the strength of this years free agency though.

        Finally, I wanted the Knicks to hire Colangelo too. Jerry, not Brian. But who do you think hired D’Antoni in the first place in Phoenix? It was Colangelo.

  4. Italian Stallion

    Sorry I can’t let this go, but as you can probably tell, I’m still upset by this latest Jeffries/Hill/picks trade. IMO there is no scenario that makes it a good trade except landing landing Lebron, Wade, or 2/3 star players at fair contracts. I agree that if Hill starts developing, it raises the stakes for Walsh and really calls into question what the hell was going on this season.

    This is what I would do from here:

    1. Play Lee and Curry together as much as possible starting tonight to see if Lee can be as effective on offense as a PF as he is as a C. If he is, then I would look to keep him and try to add a defensive, shot blocking C to team up with him. If he’s not, we have to let him go bcause we already know he can’t play defense as a C. Perhaps a sign and trade?

    2. Either way, we need a defensive presence in the middle. If we keep Lee, I think Camby might be an interesting pickup for 2 years. Even though he’s not a long term solution because of his age and because he gets inured so often, he’s still good and exactly what we need now. As long as the contract is not too long the risk is OK. I’m wide open to better ideas though.

    3. I’d take my shot at Wade and Lebron, but when that failed I’d back peddle and simply admit I screwed up very badly and not sign anyone to any deal unless it made sense from a long term perspective and came at a fair price. On to 2011.

    • CeeLARock

      @ Stallion

      Well stated and i agree with you. We have not had a winning season since 01..had we not just said ok lets blow this thing up and start a new ( and keep our picks) it would be a whole different scenerio. I think we need a top tier PG and a defensive minded C, we also need depth on our bench. We need some good role players. Ok lets say we get JJ and Bosh JJ is a spot up shooter and Bosh is no center, we still need the play maker that can score at will and create off the dribble…

      Im good with bringing Camby back we should have never lost him..

      @ DAn- What FA would you like to come to NY and what do you think we need??? just curious to get ur feedback on that

      • Dan L


        I find it really hard to speculate as to who I’d like on the team because I see so many potential opportunities out there besides even just free agents. As an upgrade at point I wouldn’t mind seeing Felton or Collison, who might be available.

        At center I wouldn’t mind seeing Camby or Jermaine O’Neal as long as we’re not paying either one some ridiculous amount.

      • Italian Stallion

        My feeling is that there are a lot of possibilities from here, but the most glaring need is a big man to defend the paint, block shots, and rebound. That’s why I think making a decision about Lee is so important. IMO he can’t be our C because of his defensive liabilities unless we get a super freak PF, but I’m not really sure how he will produce as a PF. Once we know that, the options get narrowed. It’s not critical that we get the C in July because we aren’t going to win a championship next year anyway. We could wait to get the C by trading Curry’s expiring contract next year or waiting until the following year when he’s off the cap, but IMO if we want to be competitive next year we WILL need some kind of upgrade inside. Camby and Tyrus Thomas come all the time.

  5. ez

    “3. I’d take my shot at Wade and Lebron, but when that failed I’d back peddle and simply admit I screwed up very badly and not sign anyone to any deal unless it made sense from a long term perspective and came at a fair price. On to 2011.”

    I don’t think it’s fair to expect management to admit they screwed up if they fail to land Lebron this summer. They made every effort to put themselves in the best position to sign a transendent player. Some Knicks fans are being to results oriented about the entire Jeffries/Lebron situation. Either you agree with the strategy now or you don’t. Do you think that we had any chance at landing lebron without trading jeffries? If not do you think we have any chance now (however slim)? Do you feel it’s worth the risk to watch lebron win titles for the next ten years? It’s not an IF question, as in IF they land Lebron it was worth it. If you feel we could have landed Lebron with Jeffries or that we have no chance of landing Lebron either way then I respect that decision and time will tell who was right. Choose a side.

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