If Jordan Hill’s handling of the not-so-warm reception he received from disappointed Knicks fans attending the NBA draft foreshadows how he will deal with the intense scrutiny that comes with being a high pick, then the 22-year-old University of Arizona product will be just fine.
“Tough crowd,” Hill said, smiling before sitting at a podium to meet the media for the first time as a newly minted Knick. “But there were some that wanted me to go there…I’m just happy to be on the team,” the 6-foot-10 Atlanta native confidently communicated.
The Knicks faithful, well-represented inside the Theater at Madison Square Garden, would have been much happier if Stephen Curry–the apple of their eyes as well as of team President Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D’Antoni–was still available when the rebuilding franchise’s turn to make a selection came around. But their hope dramatically dissolved when the Golden State Warriors, choosing one spot before the Knicks at No. 7, secured the 6-foot-3 sharp-shooter from Davidson University.
In the weeks preceding the draft, Curry allowed that he would have been ecstatic to become a Knick and seemingly had them at the top of his preference list. So, when NBA commissioner David Stern informed the anxious crowd that Curry, waiting in the green room with family and other close confidants, was going to be playing for Don Nelson and not D’Antoni, many assumed that Curry’s immediate reaction, in which he looked down toward the floor, was one of displeasure.
“That was just a little way of thanking [God] for this opportunity,” Curry clarified. “It wasn’t anything about me not going to [the Knicks]…or anything like that.”
While Curry is ideal for D’Antoni’s up-tempo system, so is Hill. More than likely, a majority of the fans disenchanted with the Knicks plucking the relatively unknown Hill have only seen him in highlights. But the long, agile big man is a superior athlete, who is equally comfortable filling the lane on fast breaks, spotting up for a perimeter jumper and banging in the paint.
“I just love to run the floor and get wide open for an easy dunk or whatever,” expressed Hill.”So…[the Knicks] are definitely a good fit for me.” As with all of the draftees, only time will tell.