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Chat transcript: June 25
Big Apple's Big Cheese

NBA fans had a chance to chat with Knicks President and General Manager Scott Layden two days before he enters the war room for the 2001 NBA Draft. Layden joined the Knicks in 1999 after spending 18 years with the Utah Jazz. The native New Yorker maintained the Knicks' winning tradition, at the helm of their 15th consecutive playoff appearance this year. Layden chatted live on June 25.
John Bell from proxy.aol.com at 2:04pm ET
Will not having a first-round draft pick affect the Knicks next year and in the years to come?

Scott Layden at 2:05pm ET
We would always love to have a first-round pick, and you'd always love to have a pick early in the first round, but because we've been so competitive over the years, we've never had a chance to go early. So that's good news for the team. But the draft helps you with the future, so when you look at teams that are in playoff contention, they're rarely led by rookies. So it's more for the future.
Fritz Alcindor Jr. from peoples.com at 2:05pm ET
What need is more important for the Knicks to address, the point guard situation or the inside situation?

Scott Layden at 2:07pm ET
We are treating the draft as an opportunity to improve the team, and an opportunity to take the best player available. We feel we have a good, well-balanced team, so we'd welcome players at any position if we thought they could help us. So our focus is to get a player who can help us regardless of position. Last year, we had a very good team with a lot of good perimeter players. We selected Lavar Postell even though he somewhat mimicked the skills of the other players.
Al Frierson at 2:08pm ET
There were players who have been playing out of position for some time now, this upcoming season will that change?

Scott Layden at 2:08pm ET
I think we're fortunate in that we have players who can play a number of different positions. Our guys have done a great job of chipping in where they can and helping the team win, regardless of where they play. We've always had a team with great depth, so we're able to use players at many different positions, which has helped us win over the years.
Ranndolph Ragbeer from chase.com at 2:09pm ET
What additions do think are needed to challenge for the NBA title?

Scott Layden at 2:10pm ET
We like our team very much. We have many good players at all of the positions. We're always looking to improve and get better. It's hard to improve your team, but this is the time of year when you really have a chance to. We'll do all that we can to improve our team, but we're bearing in mind that the team we have now is very competitive and we have some outstanding players.
Jose Perez from proxy.aol.com at 2:10pm ET
What will your legacy as Knicks GM be? A guy who was willing to be competitive or a guy who wanted to win it all?

Scott Layden at 2:11pm ET
I think that individual goals or legacies are not important. The important thing in a competitive business like professional sports is that the team win. My goal is to help the team win ballgames and continue to build on its success yearly.
Marco from proxy.aol.com at 2:11pm ET
Who are the players that you really have an eye on in Wednesday night's draft?

Scott Layden at 2:12pm ET
We're picking pretty far down, but the good news is we have two picks, so we feel we'll be able to get a couple of guys who can help our team. This year's draft is deep, so without naming specific names we feel there will be a number of players still on the board when we pick, so we're excited about our draft position.
Bill Mack from proxy.aol.com at 2:12pm ET
Throughout your career, what has been your most satisfying draft pick, considering draft position and eventual success of the player?

Scott Layden at 2:15pm ET
In 1982 when the Utah Jazz had the third pick in the draft and selected Dominique Wilkins. That was a good pick, but that wasn't the best one. In the fourth round of that same year, we drafted an auto mechanic who also happened to be 7-4 and 300 pounds. A guy named Mark Eaton. As a fourth-rounder, Mark Eaton went on to become the defensive player of the year, made the All-Star team, and gave the Jazz a tremendous amount of credibility. And he's a great person to boot.
marie from proxy.aol.com at 2:15pm ET
Did the pre-draft camps help you decide who your ultimate choice will be? How valuable is it verses the year long college games played

Scott Layden at 2:16pm ET
The pre-draft camps are invaluable, but they are just one of many sources we use to evaluate players. You don't make decisions based solely on pre-draft camps, but you do use those sources to help you with your decision. You can't discount a player's career and expect to make a good decision. You have to take everything into account.
JOHN from lar.forthnet.gr at 2:17pm ET
What is your take on the top five picks?

Scott Layden at 2:19pm ET
This year there is tremendous depth in the draft, but early on, the top 10 picks will be outstanding. It's the first time in a long time we've seen a lot of big players, and big players with a lot of talent. It's going to be exciting to see how these guys develop. Centers, power forwards are certainly plentiful, and the power-forward position especially seems to be the strongest of the draft. When you have a guy like Shane Battier in the top 10 picks, it tells you how strong the draft is. I think Battier is an outstanding player who will have a long career in the NBA. But the fact that he could go anywhere from 1-10 makes this a strong draft.
Mike Kaplan from dialup.mindspring.com at 2:19pm ET
Who do you feel should be or will be the No. 1 pick in this year's draft?

Scott Layden at 2:20pm ET
I think that in this particular draft it's going to be a big surprise. There's always a lot written about who should be No. 1 and usually speculation comes out about who's going to be drafted. But there's really no way to know. We won't know until 7:30 ET from the world's most famous arena, who will be the No. 1 pick.
MIZZO from proxy.aol.com at 2:21pm ET
Is it more exciting being in New York or was Utah a less stressful job?

Scott Layden at 2:22pm ET
Pro basketball is exciting, and to be in pro ball is fun, regardless of what city you're in. Utah had tremendous success, but New York is a special place. It's an amazing city, and the largest market in the world, so when you win here, it's an amazing feeling. We're excited to be here, and we're excited to get a chance to succeed in this market.

It's a big change going from Utah to New York, but they're both wonderful places. One place isn't better than the other. But living in Manhattan has been a great experience.

Scott Layden at 2:23pm ET
I want to thank the fans for sending in your questions. We feel here in New York we have the greatest fans in the world, which is evident every time you go into the world's most famous arena, and we'd like to thank everyone for their support.
 
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