NBA scouts and execs on new Knicks hires Walt Perrin and Frank Zanin

Ian Begley has a great look at Perrin and Zanin:

On Perrin:

“He’s been operating at a high level with Utah for a long time,” one member of an opposing team familiar with Perrin’s work said. “This is a really good hire. Really good.”

Said someone else familiar with the scouting/executive community in the NBA: “He’s a really good guy. No nonsense guy.”

In Utah, Perrin was most recently the VP of Player Personnel. Throughout his 19-year tenure in Utah, Perrin was regularly involved with Jazz drafts.

Utah has had plenty of strong picks during that time, including Paul Millsap (late second round, 2006), Gordon Hayward, Mo Williams (late second round pick in 2003), Rudy Gobert, and Donovan Mitchell.

The Jazz, of course, haven’t gotten every pick right during Perrin’s tenure (Trey Burke, Dante Exum), but the club’s hit rate with Perrin on board is impressive.

It’s rare that one person is solely responsible for a team drafting a player. It’s usually a collaborative process that ends with top decision-makers having the final say.

But it’s worth noting that Perrin was a driving force behind Utah selecting Mitchell in 2017. The Jazz traded up to the 13th spot in the draft to select the New York native. The Knicks had worked Mitchell out shortly before the draft but passed on him to select Frank Ntilikina.

Mitchell has blossomed into an All-Star. Perrin’s role in Utah’s decision to draft Mitchell has been well documented. But two people familiar with the dynamic said this week that Perrin “stuck his neck out” and “pushed really hard” for Utah to select Mitchell.

“Walt believed in him, and he wasn’t afraid to make a push for him,” one person familiar with the matter said.

And Zanin:

Zanin has been a scout with the Thunder for the past four years. Like Utah, the Thunder are respected throughout the league for their scouting on the college and pro level under Sam Presti.

“If Presti hires you, it says something (about your ability),” one opposing scout said when asked about Zanin.

Prior to his stint with Oklahoma City, Zanin worked closely with Billy King in Brooklyn. Zanin was an assistant GM with the Nets and elevated to acting GM after King’s dismissal. He stepped down after the Nets hired Sean Marks as general manager.

Zanin, who began his career with King in Philadelphia, was described by one opposing scout as a hard worker who doesn’t seek the spotlight. During his tenure as acting GM, Zanin was in the spotlight for a brief time — but not from his own actions.

Kobe Bryant and Zanin played at rival high schools in the Philadelphia area. The late Bryant endorsed Zanin for the full-time Brooklyn job with a tweet:

From the talk, it sure seems like Perrin has the better rep, as Zanin’s rep seems to come down to, “Well, Presti hired him, so he must be good” and “Kobe Bryant thought he would be a good GM, which means nothing, but it is nice to hear, I guess.”

But hey, positive things are still nice to here overall, right? Let’s hope that they do a good job with this year’s draft.

So, what number do you think Cole Anthony will wear?