Author’s Note: Otto Erotica is a series of Syracuse sports fan fiction. When I can’t sleep at night, these are the things I fantasize about…
Syracuse University has branded itself as “New York’s college team,” but after overhauling its roster with the addition of nine former Orange players during Thursday night’s NBA Draft, the New York Knicks can now lay claim to being “Syracuse’s professional team.”
Heading into the draft, New York had just a single second-round draft pick (no. 48 overall), but after a wild night of wheeling and dealing, the Knicks managed to fill out their roster with a plethora of talented former ‘Cuse players. A raucous crowd of Knicks faithful who packed Newark’s Prudential Center for the draft, cheered the decisions of new general manager, Glen Grunwald, especially his biggest move of the night, unloading the remaining three-year contract and $65 million owed to Amare Stoudemire (along with his uninsurable knees) on to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Prior to Thursday, Stoudemire was considered impossible to trade, but Grunwald managed to pull it off, sending Stoudemire, along with seldom-used reserve Jerome Jordan to Minnesota for Wesley Johnson, Martell Webster, Brad Miller and Minnesota’s no. 18 and no. 58 picks in the 2012 draft. When asked why the hell he would make such an obviously idiotic trade, Timberwolves GM, David Kahn, explained, “We were looking long and hard at Dion Waiters at number 18; we have a rich tradition of drafting Syracuse players and then stifling their development, and we were hoping we could do that with him, but when someone offers you Amare Stoudiemire, you do the deal. No matter what. I mean, did you see that guy in Phoenix with Steve Nash? Or with the Knicks before they traded for ‘Melo? MVP caliber player. I have to admit, I haven’t seen him since, but I can only assume he’s gotten even better.”
After using their newly acquired first round pick on Syracuse combo guard Dion Waiters, the Knicks shipped Martell Webster and Brad Miller to Orlando for their first round pick (no. 19 overall), which the Knicks used to draft Orange big man, Fab “the Big Bastard” Melo. Both Waiters and Melo expressed their thrill at being drafted by the Knicks, each spending the next 12 hours continuously retweeting the praise others heaped upon them. Waiters tweeted, “Playing in New York with Carmelo Anthony, I guarantee that I will be the greatest player in the history of the NBA. #HumbleAndHungry.”
But the Knicks’ big night was far from over. As the first round drew to a close, they traded reserve guard Toney Douglas to Phoenix for Carmelo Anthony’s former Syracuse front-court partner, Hakim Warrick. When asked for comment, Warrick said he was shocked, “One minute I’m watching ESPN’s bottom line, reading about John Thompson Jr. stubbing his toe really really really badly, like he’s in the worst non-lethal pain ever and he’s definitely going to lose his toenail kind of pain, and the next I see I’m heading to New York to play with ‘Melo and Melo. What a night!”
Things didn’t stop there. In the second round, the Knicks used their original second-round pick on ‘Cuse forward Kris Joseph and then Minnesota’s 58th pick on his former teammate, Scoop Jardine. It was the first time ever that four Syracuse University players were selected in the NBA draft. Longtime Orange coach Jim Boeheim expressed his pride in his players, “They worked hard. They deserve this opportunity. I would’ve liked to see five of my guys drafted like Coach Calipari had, but it’s tough when you don’t buy the best recruits in the country.”
Boeheim went on to sarcastically say that he hopes John Thompson has a speedy recovery with the stubbed toe and the series of nasty and disfiguring paper cuts he suffered later in the night.
When the draft finally concluded, the Knicks front office was still busy on the phone. Amare’s departure created a bevy of new cap space, and the Knicks were able to resign restricted-free agent point guard, Jeremy Lin, as well as add a capable second-unit backup in another ‘Cuse player, Johnny Flynn. He will replace geriatric and presumed-dead point guards Mike Bibby and Baron Davis who were both released. They also scooped up reserve center Darryl Watkins, who was waived by New Orleans, and forward Donte Green, who was released by Sacramento.
When the dust settled, gone were Stoudemire, Douglas, Jordan, Bibby, Davis, JR Smith, Josh Harrelson, Landry Fields, Jared Jeffries, Dan Gadzuric and Steve Novak. Mike Woodson was reportedly sad to see Novak go, “Losing his 3-point ability hurts, but I hear we’re going to bring in Andy Rautins from Spain, give him a shot to make the team while Preston Shumpert’s ACL heals. I mean Iman Shumpert. I don’t know why I said that.”
Woodson went on to wax poetically about all the changes, “It was a ridiculous night, what with all the departures and acquisitions and the plethora of John Thompson Jr. injuries. I mean, we’ve got a whole new team, and John Thompson slipped on a sweat-soaked white towel and totally threw out his back. I guess that’s just the circle of life.”
Woodson will have his hands full come September when training camp opens, but suggested he would use his new roster to play to Anthony’s strengths, surrounding him with unselfish players, who can spread the floor, knock down open shots, defend and get him the ball. A projected starting lineup of Lin, Shumpert (when he finishes rehabbing his ACL), Johnson, Anthony and reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Tyson Chandler, should be a very solid starting unit. That leaves Flynn, Waiters, Green, Warrick and Melo to make up the all-Syracuse second unit, with Jardine, Watkins, Joseph and likely Rautins trying to work their way into the rotation.
Anthony, ever diplomatic, expressed his optimism about the team, “We lost a lot of great players tonight and we’re replacing them with a lot of young guys, but if we work hard, I fully expect us to contend for a title this year and for years to come. Sky’s the limit with this group.”
Only time will tell, but for now, Syracuse and Knicks’ fans alike, have something to look forward to. Also, John Thompson had his scrotum shattered when a three-ton bull kicked him in the groin.
Nate Federman has written for several television shows you probably haven’t watched. He is a lifelong Syracuse fan who still belligerently lectures people about just how good Craig Forth was at setting screens.Nate Federman