So why did the New York Knicks pay the New Orleans Hornets $750,000 to draft Josh Harrellson with the 45th pick in last night’s NBA Draft.
Zagsblog has some quotes from Knicks’ coach Mike D’Antoni on Jorts:
“[He's] a need that we need,” D’Antoni said. “He’s a big body, obviously. He came in and had a very nice workout. He showed that he’ll bang people around. He’s tough, he’s big. He had a nice touch shooting-size. He can put the ball on the floor a little bit.
“We’ll see if he can adapt to the NBA game, but we think he has a chance, a good chance, and we’re looking forward to seeing him.”
The Knicks official roster lists the 6-foot-10 Harrellson as a forward. He is one of four on the squad listed at 6-10 or better. The others are Jared Jeffries (6-11), Amare Stoudamire (6-10) and Ronny Turiaf (6-10). The thin Jeffries is not exactly a banger. And Stoudamire likes to play out on the wing, as well.
HoopsData.com lists the Knicks as ranking 24th in the league last year in Offensive Rebound Rate. The Knicks were 27th out of 30 in Offensive Rebound Rate differential. So clearly New York needs some help on the boards. Thus the draft of Jorts.
That’s ironic, given the episode that spurred Harrellson’s improvement. After an exhibition game in which the center grabbed 26 rebounds, only to be ignored by his head coach, Harrellson tweeted: “Either we are the worst offensive rebounding team or he had gotten better”!!! Just amazing to me I can’t get a good job or way to go”
That landed him on the treadmill, per John Calipari’s orders. The extra work paid off. Harrellson ended up in better shape and more focused. His game improved as his work ethic improvement. After an especially effective run in the NCAA Tournament, Harrellson caught the Big Apple’s eye. The rest is history. Jorts history.