Saturday, August 30th, 2008 at 7:36 pm  |  50 responses

French Fried

The Frederic Weis Story.

by Matt Caputo

When all was said and done, the New York Knicks needed nine years and a guy named Patrick Ewing to rid their organization of Frederic Weis. But when they acquired the son of their former franchise player yesterday for the rights to Weis, who never played a day in the NBA, the team took it’s biggest step toward erasing a draft choice that some New Yorkers still believe might have cursed their troubled NBA squad. Without ever suiting-up, Weis became one of the most talked about draft picks in Knicks history because of who the team didn’t select in his place.

At 7-foot-2, Weis’ game was only beginning to grow into his massive frame when the Knicks took him with the 15th pick in the 1999 draft. He’d played well in the top professional league in France, his native country, the year before he was picked. Weis averaged 13 plus points and 7 plus rebounds in the 98-99 season. Although he’d sustained a back injury at the end of the season, Weis appeared to be making the right progress toward being in the NBA.

The Knicks were coming off a run to the championship in the labor dispute shortened season. After 50 games and a record of 27-23, the Knicks hung around the playoffs long enough to be beaten by the Spurs in the Finals. The series gave David Robinson his first title and kept Patrick Ewing Sr. that much further away from the chip that had eluded him his entire career. Although it was a short season, the Knicks were on a high and their position in the draft was only going to help them.

1999 was a solid draft that did birth a few stars. Elton Brand, Baron Davis, Lamar Odom, Jason Terry, Shawn Marion and Richard Hamilton are among some of the top players to come from via the ’99 draft. However that same draft class included William Avery, Leon Smith, Trajan Langdon and Aleksandar Radojevic, who are numbered among several others who didn’t pan out in the League.

When it came to the 15th pick, the Knicks still had options. The typical objection of Knick fans was that the team didn’t take local beast Ron Artest. However, James Posey, Devean George, Andrei Kirilenko and Manu Ginobili, who was not selected until second to very last pick, were all still in the player pool waiting to hear their names called.

At the time, the Knicks were so high on Weis they felt he was too good to be floating around Europe another year. Even Weis himself wasn’t sure he was ready. He didn’t play well in Summer League and earned the nickname “French Toast” in the process.

Weis was a no-show at Summer League in 2000. He chose instead to be forever posterized in the hearts and minds of hoop fans everywhere at the Sydney Olympics. Vince Carter didn’t so much as dunk on the Frenchman as he did totally leap over him with a blatant disregard. It was like Weis wasn’t even there.

After the 1999 NBA Summer League, Weis went home and played in the French ProA league, but his numbers dropped a bunch. He signed a two-year contract worth $1.3 million to play in Greece in 2000, but left after only five games. He has played the majority of his career in Spain having never averaged 10 points or 10 rebounds in a season since being drafted by the Knicks.

Weis made an unexpected return to the French National Team in 2007 to help them through EuroBasket’07. Although the French finished 8th, he did play alongside Tony Park, Ronnie Turiaf and Boris Diaw, providing tough post defense. Aside for being totally humiliated by Vince Carter, he helped France to a Silver Medal finish at the 2000 Olympics. So, in all fairness, Weis has played fairly well in International competition and his strong defense and massive post presence might not always show up in stats.

Ewing Jr., 6-8, 240-pounds, was taken by Sacramento with the 43rd pick in the 2008 draft. He was traded to the Rockets on Aug. 14 as part of a multi-player deal. A 24-year-old Boston native, Ewing Jr. played his first two collegiate seasons at Indiana University before transferring to Georgetown. As a senior, Ewing averaged 6.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 34 games, winning the Big East Sixth Man of the Year award.

The Knicks acquisition of “Young Ewing” probably won’t make or break their playoff chances. But if the kid makes the team it might be another reason to leave the game on this season, seeing as going to a Knicks game is out of the question. As it is likely that Ewing Jr. knows he’s got some work to do before he fills his father’s uniform, especially considering he’s a bit shorter than his dad, Knicks rookie Danilo Gallinari, an Italian import via first round draft pick, can take a lesson from this trade. The last thing the Knicks need right now is another Frederic Weis.

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  • The Last Kings Fan

    Still upset that we traded Jr. away, but I guess it means Ron’s gone, which is good

  • jn321

    the knicks have to pick up there game right now they are one of the most underrated teams in the league but they have some pretty good players and could have a decent playoff run this year-Good Luck Knicks!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Caputo! My man you are on fire!! Few things that need clearing up though was he the 13th or the 15th pick? Is he 31 now? Ewing Senior is an assistant for Orlando-not Houston, that would be Hakeem.
    PS. Loved the subtle jokes in there.”At the time, the Knicks were so high on Weis they felt he was too good to be floating around Europe another year.” lmao.
    The first sentence is too true but not in the way most people would have thought. Also, that means the Knicks played without a 1st round pick in 2000 huh?
    One last thing “Weis averaged 13 plus points and 7 plus rebound in the 09-99 season.” um yeh might wanna change some of that.

  • http://slamonline.com Matt Caputo

    Good calls. I wrote this in a burst of ambition at 5 AM. I have you early next week Hursty.

  • tsmith7791

    That trade is the equivalent to john mcain picking a female vice president

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    The scariest part is, if I understand the CBA correctly, the Knicks have been making qualifying offers to Weis every summer in order to retain his draft rights. And while it would be a great story if project Pat made the team, I don’t think the Knicks have an open roster spot.

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    With their second-round pick (46) the Knicks selected a forward from Iowa named J.R. Koch—whom I don’t remember at all. Todd MacCulloch went next. Imagine how much better the Knicks could have been with Artest and MacCulloch, let alone Kirilenko (24) and Ginobili (57).

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    Greatest dunk…EVA!!!!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    russ, they better make room, part of the reason why the Rockets traded Ewing Jr. is because his contract becomes guaranteed this week.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    and I hope Matt removed the part of Ewing being an assitant for Houston, because if he didn’t then i’m going crazy, I just read it like 5 times trying to find it and couldn’t.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    RV- Matt edited it out, everything that I mentioned got changed so it was correct ( I even looked at Wikipedia to confirm) :)

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    Obviously they could still buy out Marbury, but I feel like that would be a bitter pill to swallow. Still, it’s hard to believe they would trade for Ewing if they didn’t intend on keeping him. Especially if his contract is going to be guaranteed.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Collins

    I remember Van Gundy finally openly bitching about Weis pick on national TV earlier in the year. That’s when it reached absurdity — when you openly mock your own draft picks less than a decade before it took place. Either way, this is the first salary cap dump exorcism in the history of the NBA. Thus it’s fascinating. Thus el kudos to el Caputo.

  • http://slamonline.com Matt Caputo

    I said thanks!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Russ- the impression I was getting from the Chronicle was that Ewing’s contract is only partially guaranteed and then after a certain date it becomes entirely paid for and kicks in. I just don’t know the date for the entire kick in.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Nah Caputo you cool. When you said you got me, that was in reference to the Homicide piece yes? Please say yes.

  • http://slamonline.com Matt Caputo

    yes it was. But I will hit you up in private with the back story. But Homo will be on the site this coming week 100%.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    “He jumped OVER his head!”

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Also, Russ’ “Project Pat” had me dying.

  • http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    Is the caption for the Vince photo “That’ ain’t right”?

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    I would actually give just about anything to hear the MSG public address guy say “PAT-rick Ewing!” again. Not that I have much. Someone get the kid an 18-foot baseline fallaway. Can he wear 3.3?

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Great Matt. Really appreciate it.

  • Aqua

    Project Put…too funny. I’m not mad at Ewing Jr’s game though. Good defender (well, just trying makes you stand out on the Knicjs), top flight athlete…if he sticks he could be of some help. We’ll see.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    maybe the knicks had some Ewing jerseys they never sold, add a Jr. and you’re set. Or maybe they got confused when the fans shouted “we want Patrick”. If that’s the case, can’t wait for JVG Jr., and I think she’s a female. Can you say “Eddie”?

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    Is anyone at or near New Orleans? Gustav is going to be a bitch. I’m hoping he stays away from Houston. Hopefully NO won’t take another big hit.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Hopefully your OK RV. But last I read on weather.com it was heading straight at H-town. Check the blog as well.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    Its actually suppose to make landfall between Houston and NO, but closer to NO, they get the “dirty” side and we just get a lot of rain. Hopefully it doesn’t make a left turn.

  • i am the walrus

    i wish i could dunk like that

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    RV-dude if things starting looking sh*tty please just get outta there. Its even now starting to make news in AUS, and we only got news on Katrina a day or so prior to it hitting N.O so that means Gustav is even worse if you go by time anyways. Peace, Hursty.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    i should write a play about Fredick Weis, where he becomes king of a far away land, gets leaped over by Vince Carter, realizes he married his mother and killed his father, and as a consequence he gouges out his eyes and then a roster spot opens on the Knicks, he competes for it and Isiah Thomas forces Donny Walsh to sign him (with a gun to his head) and Nate Robinson jumps over him in practice. The End.

  • luke

    Nice article, its great to read stuff like this in the offseason.

  • Sam Mitchell’s Conscience

    It’s tough for me to accept that the Knicks are gradually losing that status as a joke of a team.

  • L

    The crazy thing is that the guy had a decent career in europe, won a silver medal at the olympics and did a nice job with his national team and yet he’ll be forever remembered as the guy that was posterized by Vince carter..L

  • Diogo

    That image…best moment in basketball history.

  • Boing Dynasty

    A Pat Ewing Jr. lay up and possible offensive foul is the best moment in basketball history? Okay Diogo.

  • Heals

    Since you can’t find Doug Cristie jerseys anymore (just ask Doug) I gave my last 2 buddies that got married a plain white tee with this pic, nuff said…

  • Moheed

    Damn Caputo, you really think Weis cursed the Knicks. Next article should be about La Chupacabra.

  • Boing Dynasty

    Heals where are you from, left field?

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    Killing it, Caputo. Good stuff. I still can’t wrap my head around this trade. Or the fact that this guy is still affecting stuff in the NBA. Kinda. Crazy stuff!

  • David

    BET: What does Weis have to do with Oedipus?

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    That’s when it reached absurdity — when you openly mock your own draft picks less than a decade before it took place……..huh?

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    I still don’t understand why Isiah Thomas is NOT public enemy #1 here in New York. The man completely f*cked our franchise..

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Man! I didn’t know the Knicks passed up on Ron Artest. He would’ve fit right in with the whole proud, defensive-minded Knicks tradition that seems like ancient history now. Imagine Artest and Sprewell on the wings, what a lineup.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Nice informative article on a guy who unfortunately is only known as “the guy VC dunked on”. It really could’ve been anyone else. What a once-in-a-lifetime dunk though; if Weis had jumped and tried to meet VC in the air, Alonzo-Mourning style, I think they both might’ve gotten pretty hurt.

  • http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    Candid video of Team USA celebrating in the locker after beating Spain for the Gold Medal: http://goldenarmor.wordpress.com/

  • chintao

    The thing about “The Dunk to End All Dunks”, is that Weiss didn’t even put up his hands! How fu(king hard is it to raise your hands over your head???!!!? Weiss deserves to have this dunk hologrammed onto his tombstone. Every item he buys from the supermarket should have Prince Vince feeding Freddy a nut sammich on the label. He should not be permitted to forget, even for a moment.

  • chintao

    Also, does this trade give the Knicks license to get decent trade value for David Lee? I think that would be my next move, as G.M.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Nice Video Jackie. Theres another video from the Associated Press with Coach K and the players outside the stadium waiting for the bus.

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  • http://I'dratherjave Joi hung

    Weis then Isiah…