Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Perrin will be in charge of college scouting and Zanin will oversee pro personnel.
Here are notes on both executives...
A few people familiar with the landscape of scouts and executives said Perrin has a meticulous approach to scouting and a strong eye for talent. They also referenced the track record of Utah's drafts during Perrin's tenure.
"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 2007. 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.
The Knicks haven't signed a first-round pick to a second contract since they did so with Charlie Ward more than 20 years ago. Drafting well, building around that talent and keeping the players on your roster is one of the keys to building a franchise that can have sustained success in the NBA.
Obviously, Rose and the Knicks hope Perrin can help them improve their track record in that area. New York has a lottery pick in this year's draft and a late first-round pick courtesy of the Marcus Morris trade with the Clippers. The Knicks also have an early second-round pick. The order of lottery -- and the draft as a whole -- is yet to be determined.
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:
The Knicks' pro scouting under team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry was criticized by other teams in the aftermath of the Kristaps Porzingis trade. The criticism stemmed from their presumed evaluation of Dennis Smith Jr. -- the best player the Knicks received in the trade.
Smith Jr. has had an uneven tenure in New York. Some opposing teams saw the Smith acquisition as an example of the Knicks not having a good enough read on a player. Smith Jr. is still young and it would be foolish to dismiss the idea that he can thrive in New York. But his tenure hasn't played out the way the Knicks envisioned thus far.
Nonetheless, you'd think the Knicks hope to avoid the mistakes they made in evaluating Smith Jr. Maybe Zanin and those brought in under him can help the club avoid those errors.
In addition to Zanin and Perrin, Rose has hired Brock Aller as a chief strategist from the Cleveland Cavaliers and retained Perry as general manager for the 2020-21 season.
He continues to do his due diligence on others in the organization and has to make decisions on the rest of the front office/scouts brought in by Mills and Perry.
Allan Houston is one Knicks exec who has a strong chance to be retained. Houston has a good relationship with Rose, owner James Dolan and William 'World Wide Wes' Wesley, Rose's longtime business partner who will likely continue to advise Rose in an unofficial capacity during his tenure as Knicks president.