Sunday, September 30, 2012
Hoping to add a bit of Big Apple flavor to the Erie BayHawks, the Knicks' D-League affiliate hosted open tryouts at Baruch College in New York City on Saturday.
Over 60 participants packed the gym, each one aiming to prove their worth and earn a shot playing professional basketball. With the D-League representing the best chance for young prospects to reach The Association, each player had a simple long-term goal: make it to the NBA.
Knicks Assistant General Manager (and BayHawks G.M.) Allan Houston was present at the tryouts, and he too certainly had his own goals in mind.
The Knicks legend and current executive told KnicksJournal.com that he hoped to help the BayHawks embrace the Knicks' already present culture and mentality. What's more, in the interest of bridging the gap between the NBA squad and its D-League affiliate, Houston also said that newly hired BayHawks head coach Gene Cross had already met and talked with Knicks head coach Mike Woodson.
With the Knicks' roster growing older and older with each acquisition (presumedly for the better, of course), the BayHawks stand to play a vital role in helping the Knicks monitor, grow, and develop young talent.
The idea of the open tryouts is clearly to see if D-League staffs can spot a diamond in the rough or two. That said, when considering the roster in its entirety, Coach Cross said he anticipates having some talent, currently on the Knicks' training camp roster, joining Erie at some point as well.
With media day to take place Monday and training camp to officially start on Tuesday, the Knicks will bring 20 players into Westchester (should Rasheed Wallace sign by then, as expected). Six of those players will play on non-guaranteed contracts.
As a rule, an NBA team can "protect" up to three players, that they end up cutting from training camp, for their D-League affiliate to sign. Surely the Knicks and BayHawks already seem on the same page, with regard to utilizing such an opportunity.
Saturday, September 29, 2012
With their eyes on a championship trophy, the Knicks continue to get older, yet wiser as well. The team appears set to sign NBA veteran and champion Rasheed Wallace in the days to come.
The forward is reportedly ready to come out of retirement and join the Knicks after taking his physical this week. What's more, he's been working out at New York's training facility as of late.
Because of this, Wallace's forthcoming signing should not come as a complete shock. After targeting Kenyon Martin a bit earlier in the offseason, it was clear that the Knicks felt as though they had a void to fill at the backup power forward position. They seem to have done so with the new addition.
Wallace's personality and past public remarks make him a total public relations firecracker in the heart of the Big Apple. His signing is a bit surprising in that regard, but the Knicks obviously believe he can still contribute enough on the hardwood to be worth the risk.
Many fans are referring to Wallace as the team's "fifteenth man" when praising New York's depth, but it's important to remember that although he is in fact a late addition, the veteran will in no way be the last man to get up off the bench each and every night.
In addition to bolstering the rotation, the acquisition of Wallace will also knock a couple of players (like Kurt Thomas, for instance) down in the depth chart. What's more, after being depended on heavily in smaller lineups, Steve Novak will likely share minutes with the newest Knickerbocker. That said, at least the sharpshooter will no longer have to be exposed on the defensive end against taller competitors.
Besides splitting time with Novak, Wallace will surely spell Amar'e Stoudemire often too. Due to his explosive and physical style on the court, perhaps the 2004 NBA champ can help endure some of the bumps and bruises of the daily grind, taking some pressure off STAT.
What the addition of Wallace means is that the Knicks weren't feeling 100% confident in the ability of their roster as it stood. That recognized, from a basketball standout, signing the big man is still a no-brainer, regardless. The team has nothing to lose in giving him a shot, and could very well end up filling a necessary void in the process.
It will be interesting to see how much Wallace has left in the tank as the season goes on.
Friday, September 28, 2012
From Tracy McGrady to Kenyon Martin, and now, Rasheed Wallace, the rumors surrounding which veteran(s) (if any) will ultimately be joining the Knicks as the team heads into training camp next week are swirling.
Though they will bring 19 players to Westchester, only thirteen of those guys will hit the hardwood resting assured they have guaranteed contracts for the upcoming season. Thus, two roster spots are potentially up for grabs.
Many believe Allan Houston (the General Manager of the Erie BayHawks, the Knicks' D-League affiliate) is interested to taking time to develop talent in Erie that could potentially help the NBA squad down the road. As it stands, a couple of players from the Knicks' training camp roster may be cut, only to end up with the BayHawks in the coming weeks.
With their eyes apparently on a veteran player or two, it's not out of the question to suggest no one with a non-guaranteed contract makes the Knicks next month. An experienced player would likely only flock to the Big Apple under the assumption they'd be making an impact. The coaching staff would have to free up minutes in the rotation, seemingly leaving little opportunity for a young gun to squeeze through.
All this recognized, time to sign up an NBA vet for camp is indeed running out. Who's to say the Knicks haven't already found their fifteen man?
Though there are in fact two free roster spots, fans could be smart to envision Chris Copeland securing one of those. At 28 years old, the forward is not much of a project, rather a player with years of overseas experience.
He's taken the time to hone his skills, and it showed during his impressive showing with the Knicks in Las Vegas this past summer. The big man is very quick and agile around the rim, and can finish nicely under the basket. If his hard work this offseason has been any indication, Copeland has done plenty to warrant, at the very least, an opportunity.
Assuming Copeland makes the cut, the Knicks will still have a bevy of other players to choose from for their fifteen and final roster spot.
John Shurma has been widely heralded as "the next Steve Novak," Mychel Thompson displayed his skills for the BayHawks last season, and Chris Smith already has a good relationship with many members of the Knicks' team and coaching staff. They represent only three options, but there are various others where that came from.
Still, the decision on the fifteenth man will come down to how content the Knicks really are with their roster. Is the front office confident enough in the abilities of the current players? Can the last spot simply be taken by a filler?
Or does the team need an extra jolt? If team officials believe the depth chart needs some bolstering, a veteran player would be the type to call on in order to fill a deeper void.
The final choice remains to be seen, but with so many non-guaranteed contracts on the payroll, and so many other NBA free agent veterans taking their time, it may be smart to keep a young gun in the fold through January before making the formal decision to bring a veteran in midseason.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Call it the calm before the storm....
With training camp less than a week away, many from the New York Knicks' organization came together last night to support Tyson Chandler's first public photography exhibit in New York City.
Chandler made it well known throughout last season that he was constantly spending his free time simply walking around the Big Apple in an effort to take pictures and document his first season with the Knicks.
Last night, with the proceeds benefitting a bevy of charities and organizations, Chandler put many of these very photos up for display and sale.
And members of the Knicks came out in bunches to support the 2012 "Defensive Player of the Year." Many of Chandler's teammates showed up, including Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Marcus Camby, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Chris Smith, and Jason Kidd.
Knicks' Assistant General Manager Allan Houston was also in attendance, as were Knickerbocker legend Patrick Ewing and assistant coach Herb Williams.
But the support didn't stop there. Chandler also received support in the way of an appearance by Knicks owner James Dolan, and even Baron Davis (who will reportedly still have a role with the team through his lengthy rehab) came through as well.
See below for a small sample of photos from the event. You can view Chandler's Facebook page for even more of an inside look. The exhibit included original photos of former Knickerbockers like Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
With the Knicks' roster looking set (except for occasional Rasheed Wallace rumor) heading into training camp next week, the team is looking to put the finishing touches on its coaching staff.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported that the Knicks are hiring Dave Hopla to fill a vacant seat on the team's bench.
Hopla, a well-know shooting consultant, will reportedly play a role similar to that of Kenny Atkinson from last season. He'll focus on player development and conditioning drills.
The said hiring is an interesting one, given the fact it's been suggested that head coach Mike Woodson hire an offensive coordinator of sorts as an assistant. While Hopla certainly won't be depended on to run the offense, hiring a coach known for his shooting suggests the Knicks may want an advisor to work with players on offense.
With so many skilled offensive players already in place, is such a hiring really beneficial? Many of the team's players are steady shooters. Perhaps one guard who could potentially be aided by Hopla is Iman Shumpert.
Though Shumpert can score in bunches, he's able to do so because of his athleticism and agility around the basket. Being able to consistently knock down a mid-range jumper (let alone shots from downtown) would really open up his game and force opponents to treat him as a threat.
Hopla, himself, is the holder of an array of world shooting records. You can witness him achieve one for the books (literally) in the clip below. One would have to think he'll be asked to work with many of the Knicks younger players, a couple of whom may still be raw offensively.
Sources had told KnicksJournal.com that, before Hopla, the team was also considering a development coach with much closer ties to the Big Apple, to step in and fill a similar void.
ESPN New York is also reporting that although Hopla comes into the fold, the Knicks are also still considering expanding their coaching staff to include one more assistant. Former Bobcats coach LaSalle Thompson is a leading candidate for the position.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Though the Knicks will bring 19 players into training camp next week, only 13 players will hit the hardwood with guaranteed contracts. This means two roster spots will be up grabs, be it amongst the camp invitees or even outside players looking in.
Though they've worked out a few various young guns at the training facility in the recent weeks, the team also hosted veteran and former Knickerbocker Tracy McGrady in Westchester this month.
And according to ESPN's Ric Bucher, the Knicks most recently welcomed yet another notable NBA veteran to their facility.
Retired big man Rasheed Wallace has been working out in Westchester with fellow veterans Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas.
Though Bucher says New York is apparently "considering" signing Wallace, this should by no means come as a surprise to Knicks fans at all. The team has already surrounded their core with older veterans like Camby, Thomas, and Jason Kidd. What's more, they have also long-coveted veteran forward Kenyon Marin to backup Amar'e Stoudemire. Martin has since been hesitant, however, to sign a contract worth the veteran's minimum.
Wallace seems to fit right in with the team's current personnel, and his position fills what the team apparently considers to be a void at the backup power forward position. But is Wallace himself (and the personality he brings along with him) the best possible fit? Depending on what kind of shape he's in, perhaps he would be a decent backup plan to Martin.
Knicks head coach Mike Woodson was an assistant coach on the Pistons during the 2003-04 season, when Wallace joined Detroit midseason.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
What are two of the hottest topics around the Big Apple right now?
You guessed it! Iman Shumpert's knee injury rehab, and the release of Apple's IPhone 5. Our funny friends at "The NOC" give an inside look at both in their latest production.
In this spoof review, Shumpert examines the IPhone's features and abilities...as they relate to the physical game of basketball.
Take a look at the clip above to watch the Knickerbocker's comedic chops put to work. Ironically enough, his leaping ability looks pretty darn steady towards the end of the clip...
It goes without saying how crucial it is for the Knicks that Shump's rehab process goes according to schedule. Enjoy the clip!
Friday, September 21, 2012
Since taking over as Men's Basketball Coach at St. John's University, Steve Lavin has not only been a fan-favorite, but a key member in the Big Apple community.
For the second straight year, the Lavin-endorsed "Dribble For a Cure" event will make its way to the St. John's University campus, taking place this coming Saturday morning, September 22nd.
As if supporting the great cause and honoring those who suffer from and/or have conquered cancer in the past isn't enough, Knicks fans are receiving a bit of extra incentive this year.
Knickerbocker legend John Starks will indeed be on campus Saturday, joining a bevy of coaches and student-athletes as they all come together, doing their part to fight the horrific disease. Since putting an end to his playing days, Starks too has made an effort to remain a very present figure in the community when it comes to worthy causes. This weekend will be no different.
Interested in contributing and/or attending? Perhaps you'll have the opportunity to meet the Knicks fan-favorite in the process! You can venture off to this link here to find out more about how you can help and participate on Saturday.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
With media and fans alike buzzing for all the wrong reasons with the rumors that Isiah Thomas may be returning to New York, a former Knickerbocker is also chiming in.
Speaking at an Italian function, former fan-favorite Danilo Gallinari recognized last week's meeting between Thomas & Knicks' owner James Dolan, and his comment (said in Italian) can be loosely translated to "Isiah Thomas back to the Knicks? That's the reason New York will never win."
One has to wonder whether Gallo was specifically knocking the job Thomas did during his tenure in the Big Apple, or simply implying that even considering bringing him back signifies New York is not an organization with a winning mentality. Either way, the sentiment is clearly the same.
The former Knicks forward's comments are still a bit surprising, not necessarily because of what he said, but that he actually said it. Most players have publicly supported Thomas despite all the twists and turns during his unsuccessful tenure.
By the time his own career in an orange and blue uniform came to an end, Gallinari was showing signs of becoming a very special player. Diversifying his game in hopes of not being pigeonholed as a "one trick pony," Gallo worked on effectively driving to the basket, successfully getting fouled again and again.
Now a member of the Nuggets, Gallinari was limited to 43 games and averaged 14.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per contest last season Despite his underwhelming finishing numbers, the forward was in fact playing like a fringe NBA all-star before succumbing to an injury right before the league's midseason break.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Though the Knicks will now bring a total of six players to training camp on non-guaranteed contracts, the team certainly has a veteran-like mentality.
With so much at stake, and the team already boasting quite the impressive roster, the pressure is there to win. After going through the motions for the last two seasons, claiming players on the team needed more time to gel, the time is now. For the Knicks, there are no more excuses. An underwhelming season will clearly be unacceptable--- to the franchise, the media, and basketball fans alike.
28 year old NBA prospect Chris Copeland (one of those non-guaranteed invitees) is simply along for the ride. He spoke with my pal, Jared Zwerling from ESPN NY, about what he's been learning from the more experienced players since guys started to work out together last week at the team's training facility.
In addition to talking about his own individual progress, the big man has said he's already recognized the team's level of motivation as they head into training camp. Copeland added:
"This is a really motivated team -- even the guys that are coming back from injuries," Copeland said. "You look at Iman's work ethic, it's unbelievable. Ronnie's work ethic is unbelievable. We have what it takes to score and make stops. From a defensive standpoint, I think we have every piece of the puzzle. Marcus Camby and Tyson Chandler at the five spot -- I think that says it all in itself. We have pieces all around that can do amazing work."
And clearly, there should be some sense of urgency as the Knicks head into next season. After watching LeBron James & Dwyane Wade win an NBA title together this past June, the clock is ticking for Carmelo Anthony to prove that he too is a winner from his draft class. Coming off a down season filled with injuries and personal struggle, Amar'e Stoudemire needs to show he can bounce back effectively and further prove he and Anthony have what it takes to succeed as a pair in the Big Apple.
The list goes on. Mike Woodson has the made the effort to interact with his players all offseason long, doing what he can to help them improve upon last season's campaigns. After showing loyalty to him by not exploring other coaching options this summer, the Knicks are hoping Woodson continues to prove he's the right man for the job.
Though the careers of veterans like Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas are close to winding down, both players are still gunning for that coveted NBA championship trophy. A player like Raymond Felton is faced with proving the Knicks did the right thing by taking a chance on him, yet again, after a poor 2011-2012 campaign.
The list of motivated players and ones with something to prove goes on and on.
And it's Copeland who finds himself thrust into the madness. Looking to finally begin his NBA career, it appears as though he has plenty of veterans to help him finally stick this time. After averaging 14.3 points per game in Las Vegas Summer League in July, it seems like the forward would be the most likely of the invitees to actually make the team.
But it's safe to say, with that pressure already on him, Copeland fits right in with this ever so motivated bunch ready to hit the hardwood for the Knicks next month.
Monday, September 17, 2012
Though NBA training camp is slated to start for most teams in a matter of weeks, Iman Shumpert's return to the hardwood will be a bit more delayed as he continues to rehab his way back from a knee injury.
The Knicks' guard, who rose to massive popularity and fame as a rookie last season in the Big Apple, sat down with hip-hop/R&B station HOT 97 recently to talk about some hoops.
Check out the clip below to find out why Shumpert respects Celtics' swingman Paul Pierce and Skip Bayless. In addition, hear what the young gun thinks about NBA Finals rivals LeBron James and Kevin Durant working out together as we near closer to the start of the season.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Knicks star Carmelo Anthony and his charity traveled to Puerto Rico for the third time in as many years to unveil his third remodeled and rebuilt basketball court in the U.S. territory.
The two additional courts the forward has helped revamp in the past are currently used by minor league players and over 350 children, according to the New York Post.
With his charity calling this weekend "A Very Melo Weekend," Anthony also hosted a free-admission celebrity softball game.
A select few of his teammates also joined Anthony to play in the friendly competition on the sunny Saturday. Knicks' players Amar'e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, and Marcus Camby were all in attendance, as were Timberwolves guard J.J. Barea, Yankees' great Bernie Williams, and rapper/Knicks fan Fat Joe.
The rapper served as an inside source of sorts for fans, posting a couple of photos from the game on his Twitter account. Take a look below for more.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
The Knicks are scheduled to bring a total of 19 players into training camp with them next month, but as it turns out, only 13 of those contracts happen to be fully guaranteed.
So with two roster spots potentially up for grabs, the team has continued to work out various players this week, such as Tracy McGrady, Malcolm Thomas, and Tony Taylor Jr. But as New York aims to continue improving the roster, could all these said workouts simply be backup plans at most?
According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Knicks have been gunning for veteran power forward Kenyon Martin for quite a while, but have so far been unsuccessful at convincing him to join the team for the veteran's minimum.
In the case of players like Thomas, Taylor Jr., and some of the Knicks' other training camp invitees, giving them a shot can't hurt because they aren't going to be rotation players right away. If anything, fans may see a player like Chris Smith (among potential others) stashed in the D-League as he looks to unlock some of that untapped potential while playing with the Erie BayHawks.
But in the case of veterans like McGrady and Martin, where would the minutes in the rotation (that each player seems deserving of) come from?
Stein asserts that the Knicks apparently feel as though Martin would be a nice backup to Amar'e Stoudemire, but with the likes of Steve Novak and Marcus Camby able to be utilized in a variety of ways through different lineups, would Martin truly see enough minutes on the hardwood? It's difficult to say.
It would be make sense that the Knicks (from a personnel and market stand point) are a good fit for Martin. The forward has played on the same team with various Knickerbockers, such as Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, and Camby (on the Nuggets), as well as Jason Kidd (on the Nets), for multiple seasons each.
With Martin still standing as one of the few remaining notable free agents with just weeks to go until training camp, one would have to wonder what exactly he's waiting for. Though he may not be as inclined to sign for the veteran's minimum, it's likely that if a contract offer worth more money were to come, it would have been offered already.
With any and all offers to Martin likely to be worth the same amount financially, his decision may soon come down to where the best opportunity for him lies. When assessing things and considering the Knicks, however, the veteran may find he himself also beginning to wonder where the minutes would come from in New York.
Though the Knicks have passed on Patrick Ewing for numerous assistant coaching vacancies, and the legend most recently declined the chance to coach their D-League affiliate, it would still be oh but a dream for fans to watch the "Big Fella" even simply just mentor some of the team's players.
New York will certainly be taking advantage of "The Dream," but it's not quite the one fans had in mind.
Fresh off his summer training session with Amar'e Stoudemire, Hakeem Olajuwon will reportedly join the Knicks at their training facility next week to work with various Knickerbocker big men.
In addition to continuing to mentor STAT, Olajuwon also expects to work with the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Marcus Camby, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard.
After having worked with Stoudemire on offensive posts moves, "The Dream" apparently believes he can also get the big man and Anthony on that coveted same page. It's imperative to the Knicks' success that the pair display some strong chemistry, and having starred alongside talented players of different positions like Clyde Drexler, Olajuwon has faith he can help the Knicks' star duo make it work too.
Though Chandler was originally supposed to work out with the Rockets legend this past summer as well, a packed offseason schedule (highlighted by the Olympics) kept the Knicks' center busy instead. After leading all of the NBA in field goal percentage last season, however, surely Olajuwon knows a secret or two as to how unlock potentially dormant offensive skills that Chandler has just been waiting to unleash.
Bringing in a Hall of Famer of Olajuwon's caliber is certainly worth a try with so much to gain as the pressure to succeed next season weighs heavily on the team's shoulders. Based on his comments to ESPN alone, one can tell Olajuwon knows the ins and outs of his craft. What's more, he has a proven track record of helping an assortment of quality players elevate their games in recent years, such as Dwight Howard and LeBron James.
The decision to hire "The Dream" is likely much more a result of head coach Mike Woodson's relationship with his teammate of three seasons, than it is a potential snub on Ewing. As nice as it would be to see the Knickerbocker legend come home to help the organization in a different way, it's Olajuwon who has built a reputation for individually mentoring players. Coach Woodson surely has a lot of trust in a person he knows on that level.
Friday, September 14, 2012
Though former Knicks guard Trent Tucker became well known during his playing days for having an official NBA rule named after him, his post-retirement efforts now focus on helping less than fortunate children.
Tucker hosted his annual golf tournament earlier this week, following a Celebrity Gala the night before. The pair of charitable events fittingly benefited Tucker's "All 4 Kids Foundation," as well as the Max Cure Foundation too.
The former Knickerbocker was a trusted and well-liked teammate throughout his entire career, and he's certainly succeeded in carrying such relationships with him as the years pass. An array of notable NBA figures came out this week to show their support for Tucker and the worthy causes.
Among those in attendance included an abundance of Knicks legends, such as Patrick Ewing, John Starks, Charles Oakley, Johnny Newman, and Greg Anthony. Members of the team's current coaching staff appeared as well, including head coach Mike Woodson, and assistants Darrell Walker and fan-favorite Herb Williams. Take a look below for some photos.
As you can see, Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott was also present. He spoke with the New York Post about the impact his former player, Jason Kidd, will have on the Knicks this upcoming season.
For more on Tucker's "All 4 Kids Foundation" and the Max Cure Foundation, check out this article here.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
With a roster already filled with star power and quality role players, the Knicks have clearly done enough to get their fans buzzing with excitement for next season.
With training weeks now just weeks away, New York also decided to invite a few young guns to camp, perhaps hoping to stash one or two for the Erie BayHawks, their D-League affiliate. The team announced the signings of Mychel Thompson, Oscar Bellfield, Henry Sims, and John Shurma earlier this week.
But even with the roster appearing set and a couple of prospects already in place, the Knicks still may not be all done just yet.
In 2010, the Knicks worked the phones towards the trading deadline and acquired the expiring contract of Tracy McGrady. Of course, the team had its sights set on the coming summer's free agency period, but there was certainly curiosity surrounding T-Mac's abilities. Could he still hold his own as a starter in the NBA?
The answer at the time, was no. McGrady averaged 9.4 points, but only shot 39% as lingering injuries limited the amount of minutes he could play each game.
Since finishing up that season in New York, the seven-time NBA all-star has bounced around with teams like the Pistons and the Hawks, re-establishing himself as a somewhat dependable role player.
As he continues to age and fight through injuries (T-Mac played in only 52 games for Atlanta last season), McGrady remains a free agent here in mid-September. But just as the Knicks were willing to see how much he had left in the tank two years ago, they seem to want a second-look now.
According to Yahoo! Sports, the swingman worked out for the Spurs yesterday and will reportedly meet and work out for the Knicks today as well.
New York continues to look for various ways to improve the roster, but the question now becomes are there enough minutes to go around? With Iman Shumpert sidelined until 2013, the Knicks needed some depth to insure that J.R. Smith would continue to thrive off the bench, rather than be thrust into a starting role. By signing Ronnie Brewer, the team seemed to accomplish just that and more.
Thus, is bringing T-Mac in nothing more than a courtesy? It's difficult to say, but with the likes of Jason Kidd, Smith, Steve Novak, and Marcus Camby all poised to play off the pine next season, there seems to be little room for the former Knick.
The Knicks have continued to work out younger players this week (such as Malcolm Thomas and Tony Taylor Jr.), but eyeing players as potential projects certainly seems to make more sense. More on the T-Mac workout as it becomes available later on.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Though NBA teams don't formally start training camp until next month, Mike Woodson and the Knickerbockers are getting to work a bit earlier.
As ESPN New York reported, the Knicks came together as a collective group on Monday, logging hours at the team's training facility. While Tyson Chandler and Pablo Prigioni were reportedly not at the workout, Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony did in fact headline the players present.
What's more, both J.R. and Chris Smith (along with injured guards Iman Shumpert and Ronnie Brewer) were in New York City to help raise money for a charity recognizing the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorists attacks yesterday, so perhaps the Smith brothers participated in the session the day prior as well.
Extra time in the gym to help the team come together and build an on-the-court understanding is key at this point in time. After a season and a half of ups and downs, and claims that more time was necessary to gel, the pressure is on for STAT and Melo to lead the Knicks to the next level.
In addition, Stoudemire, Anthony, and Chandler will spearhead their first "full" training camp with the Knicks this season. Starting a couple of weeks early, the idea is certainly to make up for lost time.
But the players themselves don't make all the difference. After years and years of preaching a defensive presence that never emerged, the Knicks now have Woodson, a defensive specialist, running the show.
After leading New York to an 18-6 finish and helping elevate their defensive effort last season, Woodson proved he's the right man for the job. In addition to formally naming Woodson their head coach, the Knicks also made strides to surround their "Big Three" with proven veteran role players to help balance the team from A to Z. The experience players like Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, and Kurt Thomas bring will certainly come in handy come playoff time.
With a steady coach and even better talent throughout, there's no reason why the Knicks cannot or should not become a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference. With Derrick Rose expected to miss much of the season for the Bulls, a shakeup in the rankings is sure to occur.
This is New York's time. The team has made vast improvements--from the roster to the coaching staff--and now there are no excuses for failure. With fans all around the Big Apple craving success, the Knicks now boast the best team on paper they've had in just about a decade.
With so many positives surrounding the team, the time is now to put up or shut up for the Knicks. Frankly, there's nowhere else to go but up.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Every fan base has an opposing player they just love to hate---an arch nemesis of sorts who loves nothing more but to put a nail in the coffin and sink the hopes of the home team.
Though Knicks fans have watched tirelessly as the likes of Michael Jordan, Antoine Walker, and Hakeem Olajuwon led their respective teams to many huge victories over the Knicks, there's undoubtedly no nemesis greater than former Pacers guard Reggie Miller.
On the same weekend during which the New York Mets presented their own nemesis, soon-to-be retired Braves third baseman Larry "Chipper" Jones with a special gift "celebrating" his great (yet traumatizing for Mets fans all around) play against the rival, Miller was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
There's no doubt Miller was a dirty player who tormented the Knicks and their fans for years, squashing an uncountable number of chances for greater success in the Big Apple. The fan base loathed him with passion come every postseason, but Miller merely basked in and thrived amongst all the hatred, coming up in the clutch again and again over the years.
But at what point should fans simply exhale and tip their hats to Miller for being the fierce type of competitor he is? Should they even have to relent? Perhaps presenting such a rival with a gift (as the Mets did Jones) is taking it a bit to the extreme, but Knicks fans ultimately have to respect Miller for simply having the team's number on an array of occasions throughout his career.
Check out the video below for a look back at Miller's Hall of Fame career, including a glimpse at the number of different heartbreaking moments for his biggest rival.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Attempting to officially put last season's struggles behind him, Amar'e Stoudemire took to ESPN NY Radio yesterday to proclaim his hopes for a successful 2012-13 season.
The Knicks' star told Stephen A. Smith that he has his sights set on playing at a level similar to the one he played at in the 2010-11 season, during which he averaged 25.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
Helping spearhead a movement towards a winning culture, Stoudemire served as a pioneer of sorts when he joined the Knicks. Leading the team alongside Raymond Felton, STAT was voted to the Eastern Conference's starting lineup of its all-star team and even garnered M.V.P. consideration throughout the season.
What NBA squad wouldn't want one of their stars playing at an M.V.P. type level?
The fact is, times (and the roster) have changed. Though Felton will once again don orange and blue next season, Stoudemire also has much more support on the Knicks than he had when he first came to town. There have been ongoing questions as to whether or not he and Carmelo Anthony can co-exist on the hardwood and furthermore, which one of those said stars can call the Knickerbockers
It's great that Stoudemire is motivated to drastically improve next season, and by organizing his workouts this summer with Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon, Knicks coach Mike Woodson has seemingly helped put his power forward in the best position to do so.
To many Knicks fans, Anthony and STAT have represented "1A" and "1B" in regard to scoring options on offense (as opposed to a designated first and second). That said, would it be such a bad thing to call Stoudemire the number two option?
Though he too struggled to find consistency last season, Anthony proved in the season's final months that he is in fact the player who the Knicks will want to have the ball in his hands to close out games. Not only is Anthony clutch, he's a true closer. He clearly displays the ability to dominate games offensively.
Woodson's goal is to use utilize Stoudemire as a newly recognized focal point of the offense, but with Anthony's abilities at the team's disposal, it's important things are not forced for STAT.
In the midst of the Knicks' 18-6 record to finish off the season, Stoudemire unexpectedly settled calmly into a secondary role. Before shutting things down in April due to various injuries, the big man had a very efficient month of March, averaging 18 points while shooting an impressive 56% from the field.
In an attempt to help put an end to STAT's struggles, it has been suggested in the past that maybe he should pace the team's second unit as sixth man. Maybe such a new role would be taking it to the extreme, but depending on him just a little bit less on offense may help if it means subtracting some pressure.
Anthony and Stoudemire are often expected to score 25 points on a nightly basis, but perhaps such expectations are making things difficult. If the Knicks give Anthony the constant green light to dominate the game as the offense runs through him, Stoudemire could up thriving as he keeps the defense on its toes---all the while getting efficient buckets, completely in the flow of the offense.
Coach Woodson may want to embrace Stoudemire as a "focal point," but if Anthony rises up and consistently remains one of the league's top scorers (more so than he did last season), the power forward may realize success while instead embracing a secondary role.
Friday, September 7, 2012
To the pleasure of many Knicks fans, ESPN New York is reporting that the team will come together for an early training, beginning this coming Monday.
Seeing the players get together and work towards being on the same page in time for next season is all numerous fans have been asking for all summer long. It appears now they'll get their wish.
But make no mistake: these isn't just a "players only" workout. Whereas it's been suggested in the past that the team's leaders (such as Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and/or Amar'e Stoudemire) should be the ones to spearhead the said workouts, Coach Mike Woodson has been very involved all summer long in getting his team ready for next season.
Though there may have been more notable coaching candidates available when the Knicks looked to name an official head coach following Woodson's interim period, the man who led New York to an 18-6 finish to end the regular season continues to prove he's the right man for the job.
As KnicksJournal.com mentioned previously this month, Woodson made the effort to travel the globe this summer in order to see his players. He was in London to watch Anthony & Chandler compete in the Olympics. He was in Los Angeles, training with former Knickerbocker Landry Fields and following up with Jeremy Lin. Woodson and assistant coach Herb Williams also ventured down to Houston to watch Stoudemire's workouts with Hakeem Olajuwon (which Woodson himself suggested in the first place).
Not only does Woodson appear dedicated to helping his players improve on the hardwood, but he seems to take an interest off the court as well. Even during NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, the coach could always be seen talking to a player like STAT or Baron Davis on the sidelines. He also went on various golf outings with J.R. Smith, among others.
During last year's NBA lockout, players were obviously banned from keeping in touch with their coaching staff and other team officials. This certainly could have created a bit of a disconnect as time went on.
But with the ability to constantly stay in his players' ears, Woodson has been making that extra effort. Team chemistry is obviously important, and Woodson keeping the players' informed as to his vision for next season will only help that.
With so much talent currently on the Knicks roster, there's a lot of pressure with much riding on next season. Woodson understands that. The team showed faith and took a chance on him, and he certainly doesn't appear to take that lightly. The coach knows what's at stake and is doing what he can to make sure the team is in the best possible position to succeed---starting with this early training camp.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
While Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler took to the Big Apple earlier to model the Knicks' new jerseys for the 2012-13 season, there's a young point guard who still dreams about donning orange and blue in the distant future.
At the end of August, KnicksJournal.com reported exclusively that GWU standout Tony Taylor Jr. had worked out for the Knicks. After having worked out for the Celtics just last week, Taylor Jr. will be back in Westchester yet again.
The Sleepy Hollow native will work out once more for the Knicks next week. Though the team appears stacked at point guard with Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton, and Pablo Prigioni all joining the squad for next season, there's an added benefit of nevertheless still inviting Taylor Jr. to veterans's camp.
As previously mentioned in our report, if and when an NBA team invites a prospect to camp, they then exclusively reserve the said player for their own D-League affiliate. If the Knicks were to invite Taylor Jr. to camp, the Erie Bayhawks would be the only minor league squad able to sign him.
Even if the Knicks (or any NBA team, for that matter) cuts a prospect following camp, the D-League affiliate still owns the right to sign him. With three veteran point guards already on board, the most New York could be targeting Taylor Jr. for would be something down the road. Nevertheless, to keep the guard waiting in the wings, a camp invite is absolutely necessary.
Should no NBA team invite Taylor Jr. to camp, he would then be eligible for the D-League Draft, where any minor league squad can select him. Inviting him to camp is the only the way the Knicks would be able to shield the GWU alum from the draft, thus saving him for the Bayhawks.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
In 2011, Tyson Chandler played an important role for the Dallas Mavericks as the team took home the Larry O'Brien trophy, priding themselves on defense as they emerged as NBA champions.
Following his championship victory, Chandler took to the Big Apple and signed a multi-year contract with the Knicks. Fresh off being crowned an NBA champ, the big man continued to accomplish big things in 2012.
Rising above as the true anchor of the Knickerbocker defense as he helped change the defensive mentality and culture inside The Garden, Chandler became known as a force to be reckoned with. For his efforts, he received the 2012 "Defensive Player of the Year" award.
Not stopping there, the Knicks' center took advantage of his growing notoriety, representing his country as he helped the United States bring home the gold medal in the Olympics this summer.
Needless to say, accomplishing so many great things in such a short amount of time is certainly a special feat.
But perhaps fans don't necessarily realize just how special it really is. According to ESPN's Chris Palmer, this summer Chandler joined quite the elite club. The center is paired up with just Michael Jordan as the only two players in NBA history to have won an NBA ring, a "DPOY" award, and an Olympic gold medal by the age of 29. Standing alone with such company is very impressive.
This only further proves the Knicks made the right choice in waiving a player of Chauncey Billups' caliber and taking the risk in order to sign Chandler last winter. Many believe it will be stars like Carmelo Anthony and/or Amar'e Stoudemire who will truly help lead the team back to greatness, but the stone cold facts prove Chandler is simply a winner in just about every sense.
What will be Chandler's next huge accomplishment? With the momentum clearly in his favor, and Dwight Howard ready to don purple and gold for the Lakers in the West, could an All-Star nod be next for New York's big man? It will be interesting to see what next season holds for both Chandler and the Knicks.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
With training camp for the 2012-13 season now just about a month away, the NBA's official "offseason" is oh so close to coming to an end. Nevertheless, a number of notable names with ties to the Knicks still managed to keep busy this past Labor Day Weekend.
Though most quality players are simply gearing up for next season, there are still a handful of solid free agents looking to be picked up by new teams. Josh Harrellson (the big man who was waived by the Rockets following his involvement in the Knicks/Rockets sign & trade deal for Marcus Camby) is among them.
And it appears the Kentucky alum may very well be taking his talents to South Beach next season. Harrellson is reportedly heading to Miami for a one week tryout (his second workout with the Heat this offseason) as he tries to earn a roster spot on the defending NBA champions.
While the Heat target Harrellson, the Knicks are apparently targeting a forward of their own with training camp just weeks away. ESPN New York's Jared Zwerling reports New York is looking at Sean Williams to fill their void at back up big man. Click here to read TKB's own Tommy Dee's prospective on the potential pickup.
Not stopping there, Zwerling also provided Knickerbocker faithfuls with a bit of an exclusive, giving readers a glimpse at what Amar'e Stoudemire and Assistant G.M. Allan Houston were up to this weekend. Both the Knicks' star and the legend participated in a celebrity panel (hosted by NBA veteran Etan Thomas), discussing fatherhood and being positive role models, among other things.
All in all, a rather quiet weekend for the Knicks, but it nevertheless produced a couple of worthy and interesting reads. It's good to see some of the team's more known figures making a positive impact in the community. What's more, it'd be nice to see a skilled big man like Harrellson land somewhere after logging some solid minutes in New York last season.
Monday, September 3, 2012
In 1989, New York Knicks legend Patrick Ewing became the first professional basketball player to launch his own sneaker company, complete with an array of different model sneakers and sports apparel.
In 1990, the Knicks star enjoyed his best season as an NBA pro (averaging 28.8 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 blocks per game), all the while donning his first signature sneaker, the "33 HI."
Fast forward to 2012, and the world of social media (certainly paired with the nostalgia of many Knicks fans who can only hope another star player like Carmelo Anthony or Amar'e Stoudemire carries the team to similar success) has propelled the demand of a relaunch.
"Ewing Athletics" announced that it would be relaunching the entire company this season, with the 33 HI being the company's headlining attraction of re-releases. The "Big Fella" himself returned to New York City, this past Friday, to celebrate the occasion and interact with some of the very fans who demanded the relaunch.
Take a look below at a few pictures of Ewing meeting and greeting a bevy of Knickerbocker faithfuls just this past weekend. For more on the relaunch, make sure you follow @EwingAthletics on Twitter.
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Last month, KnicksJournal.com introduced readers to Brian Kortovich, an NBA hopeful who spent the 2010 preseason with the Knicks as he hoped to make an NBA roster.
Looking ahead to training camp as he aims to catch on with a team at the end of the month (like many others prospects), Kortovich has continued to put in the work this summer, even logging hours in the gym with fellow NBA hopeful and Queens native Scott Machado.
Take a look at the clip below for a look at what Kortovich has been up to this summer. The guard worked out with numerous NBA players in Las Vegas (such as Austin Daye and Omri Casspi) at the IMPACT basketball facilities in Las Vegas, and even participated in a group workout in front of Knicks' General Manager Glen Grunwald (in other addition to other NBA executives) at the end of July in New York City.