Here's what happened, as told by Bill Simmons, who was on fire last night:
9:36 -- There are those moments in sports when you expect something great, and then it actually happens. And then there are those rare moments in sports when you expect something great, and something even greater happens. This was one of those moments: The Knicks on the clock, the crowd pushing for Marcus Williams, and then ...
--Stern: "With the 20th pick, the New York Knicks select ... Renaldo Balkman."
(Crowd explodes in horror.)
--Stern (over the boos): "Renaldo is not here."
--Patrick (without missing a beat): "And it's probably a good thing."
(Shot of a beaten-down Spike Lee laughing hysterically.)
9:36 -- That was fantastic. Everyone kept e-mailing me to write about Isiah and the Knicks last week ... what else was there to say? OF COURSE Isiah was meant to coach this team as his final job in the NBA before retiring to a life of greeting people at casinos and doing informercials. If somebody clogs your toilet, you ask him to clean up the mess. That's just the way life works. I'm telling you, we're going to remember the Isiah/Knicks Era the same way we remember things like Enron, the Hindenberg and the Bay of Pigs. It's reached that level. I don't know what else to say. Honestly. I have Knicks fans e-mailing me every day asking me if it's OK to root against their own team. What else can you say at this point?
It was a terrible moment for the Knicks, but for PR reasons more than anything. Think back. Judging the quality of draft picks on the day of the draft? It has always been totally fun, and totally useless. The only people who know if this will really work read palms, charge $4.95 a minute for phone consultations, or died years ago and live in the netherworld. Screw what Jay Bilas says. Renaldo Balkman could totally work out, or he could bust. Of course, it will forever suck to have Marcus Williams in the next town over if he gets good, but seriously--I would get mad at Isiah Thomas if you think he's trying to lose. But if you think he wants to win, he has to go with his gut. And this is what he wanted. He knows more than me. I mean, big picture, the Knicks suck and this doesn't help, but they'll be dramatically improved this year.