Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Why couldn't they just take University of Texas point guard, D.J. Augustin? Why did they have to get cute? Does Knicks Coach Mike D'Antoni really believe he can somehow turn Starbury into a productive point guard? Pul-leeze the guy is either completely off the deep end or has to be so heavily medicated that he can't play.
Danilo Gallinari, it just roles off the tongue, sort of like Frederic Weis once did. And don't forget Gallinari dominated the Italian League. Which is sweet, because there is nothing that really toughens a kid up for the NBA like being an Armani jeans model in Milan. Plus Coach D'Antoni played with his Dad in Italy 30 years ago, so he brings that to the table. Maybe the Knicks can hire Dad as an assistant coach.
D.J. Augustin, though, ya say? Isn't he too short to play the point in the NBA? Yes, well, the 5'10" Augustin has been hearing the too short rap his whole life. However, as real sports guys know, you can't measure heart. Ask Dustin Pedroia another guy who heard that same critique his whole life, until he was finally accepted as the 5'8" All-Star talent he is. Augustin oozes character. Last year the draft took the best player off of his Texas squad, the NBA rookie of the year, Kevin Durant. Coach told Augustin, a pure point guard, he was going to have to shoot more for Texas to win. Kid went and worked on his jumper all summer, improved his scoring average by five points per game. This was after having the 10th best Big 12 assist season ever his freshman year. And Texas, well, they won six more games without Durant.
On court, is only the beginning of where Augustin's character and skills shine. He was the first, first team, NCAA All-American to also be an Academic All-American in 15 years. My man, got a 3.7 at UT. Oh, and he grew up playing his high school ball in New Orleans, Louisiana, which as your mental timeline might remind you, got housed by Hurricane Katrina, when young D.J. was in the middle of high school. His family lost everything, including their home. Augustin had to transfer schools in the middle of his high school career, assimilate, make new friends, be a good student, play for a new coach, with new teammates, and take care of the family.
The other day he was asked on Mark Packer's syndicated radio program about playing for a tough coach like, Larry Brown (the Charlotte Bobcats took Augustin three picks after the Knicks took the Italian Jeans model.) While he didn't scoff, and managed to sound humble, Augustin made it clear, after the road he has traveled nothing a basketball coach says to him on the court is going to be tough compared to what he has seen and lived.
Hey Donnie Walsh, in the Knicks fans' mind you are already 0 for 1. (The Clarion thinks Mike D'Antoni is wildly overrated and Walsh is 0 for 2.) You had just better be saving all the cap space you can for LeBron.