37. Andrea Bargnani.
I find it simultaneously amazing and unsurprising that Knicks fans are talking themselves into Bargnani as a type of Super-Novak. It’s what Nets fans did with Travis Outlaw. You overlook the incredibly obvious flaws and hope the few straws you clutch onto with a python’s grip will suffocate your doubts.
But Bargnani has a serious uphill climb. Novak thrived in New York’s offense because he could only do one thing, and had only practiced that one thing over and over again with zero regard for any other facet of the game. Even if Bargnani does nothing but shoot corner threes for the rest of his life, he’s still got a few years of catching up to do to be that threat. It’s true that Bargnani could have a resurgence with less pressure to create his own offense, but that seems like a perilous feat. The Knicks traded a first-round pick for Andrea Bargnani, who has shot 32.3% from deep in the last three years, to be their floor spacer. Never change, New York. -D.K.
Relevant Andrea Bargnani video:
36. Tim Hardaway, Jr.
I’m going to be honest: if I didn’t know his dad I would have no idea who he is. We have a general policy here that rookies start on the bottom (with an Andrea Bargnani clause), so here’s where you go. He says his jump shot is better than his dad’s, but his crossover isn’t as good. So: good luck with that, Knicks fans. -D.K.
Relevant Tim Hardaway, Jr. video:
35. Mason Plumlee.
Sorry, rook. These are the rules. You join the team in year 1, you start on the bottom. The only reason you’re not dead last in this whole ranking is because the Knicks traded a first-round pick for Andrea Bargnani and you were drafted higher than Tim Hardaway Jr.
MarShon Brooks learned the hard way with a car full of popcorn. You should be so lucky. -D.K.
Relevant Mason Plumlee video:
34. Tornike Shengelia.
Yes, Shengelia isn’t a rookie anymore, and thus should be a little higher on this list. But thanks to a dearth of playing time, Toko’s more well-known in Brooklyn Nets circles for his various array of transportation-based nicknames — Toko Loco, the Tokomotive, Toko Train, Toko Drift, or the latest, Toko Hitched (congratulations, Toko!). But that doesn’t mean you’re still not low-man on the totem pole. Even though Shengelia got married this off-season, he told me at training camp that his honeymoon lasted just one day. So much for a vacation with your new bride. -D.K.
Relevant Tornike Shengelia video:
33. Cole Aldrich.
He’s end-of-the-bench fodder for the Knicks, who can always use the help of a guy who can rebound decently and block shots after Amar’e Stoudemire goes down three minutes into the season. -D.S.
32. Mirza Teletovic.
Please be better this year. -D.K.
Relevant Mirza Teletovic Calvin & Hobbes Comic Strip:
31. James Dolan.
There are a lot of terrible owners in the NBA, and James Dolan is one of them. But one thing you can’t take away from him is that he at least spends money. So many owners will trade off valuable players just to pocket the extra change, but like Prokhorov, Dolan’s first commitment as an owner is fielding a competitive team, regardless of price. That can lead to bonehead decisions, like giving a nine-figure contract to a player with two bad knees and not insuring it, but it also leads to Atlantic Division victories.
But never forget: James Dolan is an awful human being. -D.K.
Relevant James Dolan video:
Please don’t watch this.