Wednesday, October 31, 2012
With Hurricane Sandy hitting Long Island hard this week, the "offices" of KnicksJournal.com were also clearly in its path. Please take this time to understand we will be posting as much and as often as possible as power and internet services become available throughout the week.
But in the aftermath of the horrific storm, the lasting effects don't appear to be over. Despite all the hype surrounding the newly revitalized Knicks-Nets rivalry, with the two teams set to meet on opening night Thursday, their first matchup in Brooklyn has reportedly been postponed.
And that's not all the aftermath of Sandy has done. In addition to forcing the Knicks to cancel practice on Monday, The New York Times' Nate Taylor also reported the team lost power completely at their training facility earlier, but have since gotten it back.
Though the Knicks and Nets won't be set to rumble just yet, LeBron James will still apparently be leading the defending NBA champion Miami Heat into the Big Apple for what will now be New York's inaugural game of the season.
Such changes for the Knickerbockers will mean that the team will instead practice tomorrow according to Newsday's Al Iannazone. The local beat writer also notes that the extra day of "rest" will give Marcus Camby another day to hit the hardwood tomorrow during drills. This could also mean that Camby may be ready to go against the Heat.
In addition, like most other Gotham City residents, some of the Knicks were almost sure to be personally affected by Sandy as well. Our buddy Seth of P&T gives us a look at how the hurricane wrecked havoc on Amar'e Stoudemire, or better yet, his car.
Of course, this isn't the worst of things to happen to STAT this week, as he also learned this week his knee injury will require surgery, according to the NYDN. The forward will likely be sidelined 6-8 weeks following the procedure.
That's all for now, Knicks fans! Thanks for sticking with us throughout the storm aftermath as other Knickerbocker updates become available.
Monday, October 29, 2012
With such a new group in place to start the season, the Knicks can use all the time they can get to make sure players are acclimated with one another.
Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy has foiled any plans of furthering that process today.
The Knicks' cancelled practice Monday morning, with just four days remaining until the regular season starts. Players like Carmelo Anthony and Jason Kidd (and not to mention, the inactive Amar'e Stoudemire), are among those who reside in New York City, making it difficult to venture out to Westchester.
Tyson Chandler and Marcus Camby were both hoping to hit the hardwood during practice. Each respective big man has been banged up as of late. While Chandler has reportedly been optimistic about being ready for Thursday's season opener, Coach Mike Woodson hasn't been able to yet confidently say the same about Camby.
Originally only expected to miss 7-10 days, Camby's strained calf has kept him sidelined since the fourth day of training camp. Such an injury can actually take weeks, or even months, to heal. The initial timeline was quite optimistic, if not a tad unrealistic. With Stoudemire expected to miss the first handful of games of the regular season, it's key Camby comes back, but perhaps even more crucial that the Knicks don't rush his return to the point where he re-aggravates the injury. The second-time Knickerbocker reportedly went through a light workout on Sunday.
J.R. Smith has also been practicing in recent days after missing five preseason contests, according to the New York Daily News. Though Coach Woodson has continuously reiterated his desire to bring Smith off the bench to receive that spark from the second unit, Stoudemire's injury could also mean a promotion of sorts for Smith. Granted, the swingman needs time to once again find a rhythm in his offense and with his teammates following his return.
As the Knicks play small ball and position Anthony at power forward, they will also have an abundance of different lineup options to go with in regard to the backcourt and small forward positions.
Most recently, the coaching staff has paired Kidd and Raymond Felton up in the backcourt, and thus, placed Ronnie Brewer at the small forward position.
Should New York ultimately prefer to bring Kidd off the bench to help run the show with the second unit, they could also slide Brewer back at shooting guard, creating an opening at small forward. In the interest of going with a smaller lineup, Smith could get thrust into the first unit as the three. Such a move would also solidify Coach Woodson's desire to run an isolation offense by pairing Smith and Anthony together even more.
Though he expressed excitement about playing alongside Kidd before, Smith also has experience running the floor with former Nuggets teammate Felton as well.
With a few key contributors returning, or at the very least, getting set to do so, the Knicks are beginning to see a couple more interesting doors open. Looking to overcome Stoudemire's injury, New York needs some more time to explore their various lineup possibilities.
Hopefully Hurricane Sandy doesn't take too much of the time they still have away.
Friday, October 26, 2012
With the preseason now over and the Knicks preparing to start their regular season in less than a week, the team must now trim their roster down to 15 players.
New York has 13 players under guaranteed contracts, which means two spots are up for grabs. Though the Knicks were able to bring Rasheed Wallace out of retirement, fellow invitee Chris Copeland made sure he wasn't overshadowed by the veteran's presence this month. The forward who played overseas last season averaged 15.5 points per game on 52% from the field in six contests.
Emerging as one of the best players on the entire squad this preseason, Copeland has undoubtedly done enough to deserve a roster spot, and a guaranteed one at that. That would leave Wallace, who failed to appear in a game all month, fighting with a bevy of younger yet inexperienced fellow hopefuls for the fifteen and final spot.
But is Wallace's veteran presence enough to warrant him such an opportunity? He reportedly emerged as a leader during training camp and preseason play, returning to his vocal ways as he began to mentor young guns like Copeland. In the Knicks' matchup with the Nets on Wednesday, Wallace appeared on the bench and was clearly animated all game long.
With Tyson Chandler joining an already banged up Knickerbocker front court that includes Amar'e Stoudemire and Marcus Camby, the team's need for depth up front is glaring. Copeland surely looks like he could help fill the void(s), but another big body to muscle and tussle his way inside would help bolster the team's frontline depth.
In need of filling such a void, can the Knicks count on Wallace to be ready to go by next week? The forward was originally recruited to the Big Apple to be nothing more than pure insurance when it came playoff time. But to actually make the postseason, New York needs to put a competitive squad on the court from the word "go."
To do so, the Knicks need contributors who are ready to hit the hardwood and make an impact right away. The array of injuries they are currently faced with make that a cold hard fact.
There are benefits to keeping Wallace in the fold, but if the Knicks are going to continue taking a chance on him, he'll have to pull his weight. He needs to be able to log minutes and provide the team with something they are unable to get from anyone else.
Former Georgetown big man Henry Sims may have been considered an outsider looking in when training camp began, he may very well be in position to squeeze right in by opening night. Assuming Copeland gets the spot he oh so deserves, expect the team's final spot to be reserved for Wallace or Sims.
Whereas Wallace brings championship winning experience, knowledge, and a loud bark feared by many around the league, Sims provides the Knicks with a ready and able body. He's proven to be a capable defender as someone who likes to crash the boards. As he fought for a spot over the last month, Sims further proved his hustle is tough to match.
If Wallace asserts he's ready to go by opening night, perhaps the Knicks will take one more chance on him. That said, should there be any doubts, the team is otherwise in quite the vulnerable position. With their top three big men potentially sidelined on opening night, any big body able to eat up some minutes is necessary. Skilled enough as it is, Sims may find himself making the cut with New York, simply because of the fact that he's healthy, more than anything else.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
The Knicks defeated the Nets at Nassau Coliseum in their preseason finale Wednesday night by a score of 97-95. As New York sealed the deal with a victory, it should have come to nobody's surprise who helped lead the way.
Pablo Prigioni and Chris Copeland have emerged as two worthy rotation players over the last couple of weeks, and nothing changed Wednesday night. At 35 years old, Prigioni may not be the quickest point guard in the world, but the guy simply has court vision that you just can't teach.
Whether it be their collective experience playing overseas or not, Prigioni and Copeland just seem to have a complete understanding of one another on the court. They've been excelling alongside each other all preseason long, and last night, they led the charge as the Knicks beat Brooklyn.
An array of Prigioni's 11 assists went Copeland's way as the pair paced the Knicks through the fourth quarter and overtime. The Argentinian is also someone who likes to chase loose balls, putting pressure on the opposing team's floor general. He came up with three steals in the contest.
Copeland's 16 points came in lieu of a team-high seven turnovers, but frankly, after a preseason full of pleasant surprises and stellar play, he's done far more than enough to snag a spot on this team. His aggressiveness under the basket helped him pour in the points last night, getting to the foul line six times.
With the game representing the Knicks' last preseason matchup before the regular season begins next week, Coach Mike Woodson opted to rest many of his key contributors late in the game.
Though Woodson managed each player's time on the court responsibly, it would have taken not playing Tyson Chandler at all to avoid an injury to the big man. Chandler banged knees with an opposing player 44 seconds in to the game, and did not return. He left the Knicks' locker room on crutches and is expected to get an MRI at some point today.
As for the rest of New York's starters, a couple seemed to struggle more than most. Carmelo Anthony couldn't hit a shot to save his life in the early goings, though he later finished with 15 points. Scoring aside, it was more interesting to see Anthony crash the boards as a power forward throughout the game. His ability to do so could really benefit the Knicks during Amar'e Stoudemire's absence.
Though he also struggled to knock down a consistent jumper, Ronnie Brewer scored 12 points as he went confidently towards the basket again and again. Such an action is a positive sign for the wingman, who is still finding a rhythm back from injury.
Aside from Prigioni and Copeland, Raymond Felton has been one of the more impressive players in preseason play. Clearly hungry to find a successful rhythm again in New York, Felton scored an efficient 15 points Wednesday and seems poised to step up to lead the Knicks with Anthony as they wait for STAT to return.
The Knicks' late game charge was highlighted by contributions from some of the non-guarantees. If this was their last game in orange and blue, Henry Sims and Mychel Thompson did themselves proud.
Sims played aggressive defense, displaying hustle as he swarmed the opponent. Not letting up for one second, he grabbed 5 rebounds and blocked 2 shots.
Thompson also strutted his stuff in the best way, spreading the floor on his way to pouring in 13 points and knocking down three daggers from deep.
The Knicks were hit with quite a lot of injuries this preseason, but with certain absences has come the emergence of other players ready to step in to fill the void. As they enter the regular season, it'll be interesting to see if New York can adjust well enough to come away with enough victories throughout the year.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
The Knicks will be shorthanded once again Wednesday night in their preseason finale against the Nets at Nassau Coliseum. Amar'e Stoudemire, Marcus Camby, J.R. Smith, and Rasheed Wallace will be among those who are out of commission for the team tonight.
Injuries to such key contributors will cause the Knicks to make adjustments (should they continue throughout the season), but luckily for them, Coach Mike Woodson seems to have a plan for now.
Just as they did last season throughout STAT's various absences, the Knicks will position Carmelo Anthony at power forward, going forth with a smaller lineup. Though Kurt Thomas started at the position earlier in the preseason, given his previous success, it appears likely that Anthony will start there when real competition begins.
Pushing Anthony to the four means also playing Ronnie Brewer (and/or Smith, when healthy), at the three. This creates a void at one of the guard positions, which Jason Kidd has been filling as of late next to Raymond Felton.
There's been talk of the two playing alongside each other all summer/offseason long, and now we're beginning to see the theory actually come to fruition. But what's interesting is that Kidd, the Hall of Fame bound floor general, is playing two guard in the hope that he'll help spread the floor.
Even considering the fact that Kidd is a strong shooter from down town, the positioning should undoubtedly be flip-flopped. The major benefits to putting the veteran on the floor stem from his court vision. A coach on the hardwood of sorts, Kidd is one of the best playmakers to ever play the game of basketball. With the Knicks' offense sometimes already in disarray (due to the miscommunications on the court), the team is certainly in need of someone of Kidd's caliber to clean up the offense and run the show.
And Felton has always been comfortable being called upon to score the basketball. His impressive first stint with the Knickerbockers aside, Felton has been one of the better players throughout preseason this fall. Besides building chemistry with his teammates as a playmaker, limiting turnovers, Felton reminded everyone what else he was capable of in the team's matchup with the 76ers.
Scoring 23 points and tying Anthony for the team lead, Felton displayed aggression and confidence that is needed to be a prominent scorer in the offense. Though he struggled early on, he found his touch late in the game, ending with five daggers from long range.
To completely balance and keep the flow of the offense, Felton should be looked to as a number two option in Stoudemire's offense. What's more, Kidd needs to be allowed to run the floor. Aside from Anthony and Felton, it can be Kidd who is bringing the most out of the rest of his Knicks teammates.
Let Anthony and Felton do what they do best, and allow Kidd to connect the rest of the dots. Success may end up following.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
The 76ers spoiled Carmelo Anthony's "homecoming" to Syracuse on Monday, defeating the Knicks 98-90 while delivering the team its third loss of the preseason.
As they've done throughout the preseason, the Knicks had major defensive letdowns and allowed their opponent to go on multiple runs to pull away. New York attempting to play catch-up late in the contest never seems to be enough.
But the preseason isn't about winning or losing. Perhaps the letdown on defense can be attributed to the team not playing at full strength with a lineup they'd normally put forth to compete. Despite not playing with Amar'e Stoudemire, who will be out two to three weeks nursing a knee injury, the Knicks received positive signs from a couple of players who will have to step up in his absence.
Anthony's return to Syracuse started off with a bang as he attacked the basket aggressively in the first quarter. He muscled his way inside against defenders, powering the ball in the hole as he got fouled. His hesitation to do so aside, the fact is Anthony thrives playing in the "power forward" position, able to dominate offensively. He finished with 23 points against Philly.
Though he originally wanted to embrace being more of a "team-player," Anthony will have to carry the Knicks in STAT's absence.
But at least this season, it doesn't appear as though he'll have to do it alone. After some great vision as a floor general of his new squad the last couple of contests, Raymond Felton's potential to lead and organize the Knicks' offense looked promising.
And after proving he can still run the offense effectively, Felton showed last night that he still has the ability to be a reliable option when it comes to scoring the ball as well. Though he struggled to knock down a consistent mid-range jumper early, the point guard charged back later in the game, scoring 23 total points while also knocking down a total of five daggers from long range. He'll certainly be able to handle being a number two option on offense behind Anthony, as he was to Stoudemire during his first Knickerbocker stint.
As depleted as the Knicks were last night due to injuries, Coach Mike Woodson distributed minutes last night to players worthy of logging time in the rotation. With the preseason coming to a close, players like James White, Pablo Prigioni, and Steve Novak ate up major minutes off the bench Monday night, rather than the training camp invitees.
Except for Chris Copeland, that is. Due to his stellar play and injuries to others on the Knicks' roster, Copeland appears the only invitee to be a lock to make the team. He continued impressing last night, pouring in 15 points of his own as Coach Woodson rewarded him with 26 minutes.
Despite the squad's many injuries this preseason, the Knicks are learning which lineups (filled with which contributors) will help them adjust during the upcoming season. It's good to see certain players emerging and proving they can handle being relied upon.
As a side note, Ronnie Brewer logged 15 minutes in his preseason debut for the Knickerbockers, who will close up their preseason with a matchup against the Nets on Wednesday night.
Monday, October 22, 2012
The Knicks have been praising their own depth for the upcoming season as a key to their potential success.
On one hand, strong depth allows a team to overcome injuries to crucial contributors. On the other hand, that same depth often helps a team put forth a balanced attack for all 48 minutes of a ball game, not losing a step no matter who checks in.
But to really benefit from that depth, a team needs to be able to put players in the best possible position to succeed. Players shouldn't asked to do too much.
And that's where things are about to get a little difficult for the Knicks. As unfortunate as the knee injury that will keep Amar'e Stoudemire out 2-3 weeks really is, New York wouldn't be in such a vulnerable position if their frontline wasn't already depleted.
Marcus Camby has been nursing a calf injury for nearly two weeks. Rasheed Wallace hasn't even hit the hardwood yet, and there's already talk of him potentially being waived by the guarantee/non-guarantee deadline for contracts in mid-January, should he not show more signs of revitalization.
With all three big men questionable and/or doubtful for opening night, who are the Knicks left with?
Kurt Thomas has been starting for the team during preseason, and seems like a likely (if not default) option to play with the first unit during the regular season too. The oldest player in the NBA, the 40 year old has clearly done well enough to maintain his body through his near two decades in the league.
Though he can still muscle it up in the low post on defense and a hit a mid-range jumper, Thomas is certainly best used if only in sporadic minutes. Asked to step in and help in a pinch, perhaps he could play 20 minutes per game...anything else may prove to be far too much.
Cue Chris Copeland. The forward has surprised NBA fans throughout the preseason with his smooth and efficient offensive abilities. What's more, his physical nature helps him attack the boards, going towards the hoop to lay in easy buckets. With so many injuries to the Knicks' front court, Copeland will have to play more minutes than expected.
And that's the kicker of it all. Originally entering the preseason fighting for a spot, Copeland's chances of making the roster took a hit when the Knicks brought in Wallace too. But due to his impressive play, coupled with the injuries to nearly every other big man, Copeland is not only being considered a part of the team, but will also be expected to eat up some quality rotation minutes.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Despite displaying explosiveness and scoring 18 points in the Knicks' loss to the Raptors just this past Friday, it was revealed that Amar'e Stoudemire will be sidelined a couple weeks, due to a ruptured syst in his left knee. He's returned to New York to have the injury re-evaluated.
Such a blow to this still adjusting Knicks squad is quite devastating. After struggling last season, Stoudemire was being looked upon and expected to begin bouncing back with a very efficient year, if not fully emerging as a star once again.
New York has a lot of depth, but all of those different weapons seem to have been put in place not only to off set the overall age of the team, but to make sure the squad's nightly attack is a balanced one.
But with Stoudemire not expected to be ready by opening night of the regular season, a wrench has certainly been thrown into the Knicks' initial plans to compete at a high level right off the bat. Carmelo Anthony was looking forward to embracing more a team-player role, creating opportunities for others rather than himself. As STAT sits out, however, Anthony will be looked upon to carry the scoring load as the seasons begins.
As 'Melo is forced be a dominant offensive option, who else will step up in Stoudemire's absence? I mentioned earlier that we here at KnicksJournal.com would be adding insight and taking a look at the Knicks' two losses this weekend, and now seems as good of a time as ever to perhaps seek out a couple of the offensive positives from the contests.
Obviously Chris Copeland excited many people with his 34 point explosion Saturday night against Boston. He's the real deal. It's not just about how many points the forward scores, but how he does it. Copeland plays with an aggressive nature and shows dexterity around the hoop. He's smooth and knows how to finish under the basket. As most recently proven, he has a bit of a jumper as well.
Though Copeland's stood out and emerged against certain odds, there's no doubt he's thrived by building chemistry with the Knicks' new floor generals too. After playing overseas and understanding the international game, the big man's chemistry with Argentine Pablo Prigioni has been off the charts.
As Copeland keeps surprising with his impressive play, another candidate to step up is one the Knicks are already familiar with. Last season, Steve Novak emerged as a top reserve with his sharpshooting from downtown. Whereas he was used last season as a bit of a stretch four, New York was aiming to use him more so at three this season. But with STAT sidelined, like Anthony, Novak will have to play a position a bit out of his comfort zone.
But don't think for a minute that'll prevent him from making it rain. The key to Novak's success this season will be his ability to keep moving on the court, spreading the floor efficiently. Should he stay in one or two different areas along the three-point line, teams will figure him out rather quickly. That said, a bit more agility will add some versatility to his game.
As the Knicks inch closer and closer to the regular season, they're now faced with replacing the production Stoudemire would have provided them with. It'll be interesting to see if the team truly has enough depth in house to soften the blow.
A recap of sorts, with thoughts on the Knicks' two first preseason losses (as well as insight on the potential positive takeaways) will pop up later this morning on KnicksJournal.com.
In the meantime, it's easy to assert that the team's first few games this month have been filled with ups and downs. Fans are still anxiously waiting for some of their favorites to hit the hardwood, though all the while they've watched certain players struggle early, and others thrive as they rise to the challenge at hand.
In addition to aiming to make a good impression, many Knickerbockers on the training camp roster are fighting tooth and nail for that coveted roster spot or two.
Should any combination of players like Rasheed Wallace, Chris Copeland, Henry Sims, Mychel Thompson, Oscar Bellfield, and/or John Shurma make the team, they'll join a talented, animated, and enthusiastic group that is quickly becoming affectionately known to make up a "Knickstape."
One of the most passionate players on the squad, Iman Shumpert recently explained to MSG Network what the "Knickstape" truly is, and what being a part of it really means.
Take a look above for his take on the subject.
Friday, October 19, 2012
Amar'e Stoudemire. Marcus Camby. J.R. Smith. James White. Henry Sims.
These are just a few of the names of Knicks players who have experienced injuries over the duration of training camp this month. As the official start to the NBA regular season nears, there is more talk about the age of the Knickerbockers than the talent they are set to display on the hardwood.
Prepared to boast the oldest roster in NBA history, the team's age is something difficult to ignore. Having said that, should the Knicks be able to back up their reasoning (with wins) for going with such an elder roster, all will be forgotten. A successful team trumps everything else.
But with so many NBA miles already on their bodies, it may prove difficult for some of New York's players to hold up throughout the season. The absences of key players in the Knicks' lineup may indeed prevent the team's ability to win games.
And that's exactly where the type of depth the team has assembled for the upcoming season will come in handy. Not simply depending on one sole player or even just their starters, the Knicks have solid contributors all throughout the rotation.
Rasheed Wallace has come to the Big Apple hoping to fill such a role for New York, though he too has his own agenda. Now two years removed from the league, the intimidating forward is returning to the NBA and aiming to prove he can still compete at the same level.
Having one of the most physical, animated, and gritty big men the NBA has seen in years at the end of your bench certainly can't hurt. Even so, Wallace's path to returning to full strength has already been a lengthy one. Limited in practice and scrimmages, the veteran has instead been using the last couple of weeks to work diligently on his conditioning, even going as far as using boxing to do so.
Wallace has come to New York on nothing more than a non-guaranteed contract. Hoping to find out he's got some NBA fuel left in his tank, the Knicks' early mentality around the forward is that if he's able to be efficient enough in limited minutes, Wallace is still worth it.
But just how much will the team be able to limit the big man's playing time? Wallace has been brought in merely as an insurance policy of sorts, but the early injuries members of the Knicks are already facing suggest ongoing injuries may ultimately end up becoming a continuous issue throughout the year.
If that turns out to be the case, where does Wallace's situation stand? His past skill set and veteran experience would undoubtedly be major positive factors for the Knicks to keep him on board. That said, he needs to be able to carry his weight for solid enough rotation minutes. As it stands, should players like Stoudemire and Camby experience any lingering injuries in the near future, the team will need a quality player to step in.
Everything Wallace displayed and stood for in the past suggests he's exactly the type of quality player the Knicks may be in need of. Whether or not he still has it, or rather, if he'll be able to maintain it, remains to be seen.
Should Wallace be able to rise to the challenge, his signing will end up paying dividends for his new team. If he in fact falters, however, Wallace will not only fail to fill a potential void, but will also occupy a roster spot that could have instead gone to a ready and able body.
Basketball fans in the Big Apple fans are certainly rooting for Wallace, but if he truly wants to don and orange blue this season, he'll have to be prepared to be more than just an insurance policy. The Knicks may end up needing his help more than anyone thinks.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Though Knicks fans haven't gotten an opportunity to watch Ronnie Brewer hit the hardwood just yet, perhaps the time is coming.
While Brewer has yet to start scrimmaging with the team, he will still in fact make the Knicks' upcoming three-game preseason road trip, which begins against the Raptors on Friday. However, not traveling with the team (according to Newsday) are Marcus Camby and J.R. Smith, who has recently been seen in a walking boot as he nurses an ankle injury
Camby has been sidelined over a week with a calf injury, but Smith's injury is something rather new. While he's reportedly sat out thus far simply to calm his "soreness" down, it's unknown how serious the injury is and/or will become.
Assuming Smith's injury doesn't keep him out anywhere close to opening night, the focus should certainly be more on Brewer than him. Should Smith be healthy and ready to go by the time the season starts, at least the Knicks don't have to be concerned with how he'll mesh with the team. Not only does the swingman have terrific camaraderie with his teammates on and off the court, New York obviously already has a sound understanding of exactly what he can (and can't) do, and furthermore, how he can help the team.
When it comes to Brewer, however, the earliest he can start building chemistry with his teammates on the court, the better. As a new addition, the defensive-minded guard needs time to adjust to his new basketball surroundings.
Brewer is almost certain to play an incredibly crucial role for the Knicks all season long. With Coach Mike Woodson much preferring Smith fill a sixth man role, it'll be Brewer who'll get the call to be New York's starting shooting guard.
The new Knickerbocker is no stranger to that type of role. In addition to starting most of the games during his tenure with the Jazz from 2006-10, Brewer also started 43 (out of 66) contests for the number one seeded Bulls just last season.
On paper, it appears Brewer will mesh well with the rest of his newest Knicks teammates. With a boatload of offensive firepower already on the team, Brewer's defensive prowess will surely prove to be valuable as he balances out the squad.
But as Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony have proven over the last season and a half, time together is crucial to any potential success. Any time Brewer can salvage on the court before the start of the regular season could ultimately put his team in a much better position to hit the ground running right away without any hesitations.
With Iman Shumpert likely out until the beginning of next year, it's unknown how long it will take him to get back to 100% once he finally hits the hardwood. Even if he's playing, it may take time for him to get up to full strengths. As "The Rook" makes his way back, Brewer may not only serve as the starting two-guard until he gets back, but throughout the entire season.
Brewer's possible contributions certainly show there's a lot of potential for him to make quite an impact all season long. The sooner he begins, the better.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Though the Knicks are charging ahead (and trying not to look back) with championship hopes for the near future, it's nearly impossible to overlook how frustrating the past few years of constant struggle have been for the fan base. If there's any success to be had any time soon, the fans certainly deserve every bit of it.
Nevertheless, there were also a couple of brights spots here and there over the past decade or so of turbulent times for the Knicks. Of course, one of the biggest stars to emerge right under the bright Big Apple lights was Jeremy Lin. The guard soared like no one has in quite a while for the team. He gave the city something new and hopeful to be excited about.
Another player who was a constant fan-pleaser during his Knickerbocker tenure was David Lee. Through a stint during which New York was rebuilding and/or simply trying to figure things out, Lee's gritty and dedicated efforts were highlighted by an all-star appearance over his five seasons with the Knicks.
As the team looks forward to what they hope to be better times, Lin and Lee both happened to speak out and reflect upon their time with the Knicks.
With the sting of Lin's departure apparently still fresh in the minds of Knicks fans all over the NBA stratosphere, the Harvard grad spoke to GQ about his Big Apple exit and return to the Rockets.
Though his former team has been rather tight-lipped about the situation (even now), Lin opens up about his mentality surrounding the whole free agent process. In addition to reading the guard's account of the days leading up to the Knicks' decision not to match Houston's offer, make sure to check out the rest of the great interview with Lin. Embedded in the piece includes some interesting details about a final dinner he had with Coach Mike Woodson and some Knicks teammates, and also a friendly encounter with Hillary Clinton!
A bit more further removed from his own time with the Knicks, Lee's Q&A with CBSSports.com proves the forward is growing tired of losing, be it with New York or the Warriors. In addition to sharring his hopes for the upcoming season, the former Knick addresses things like playing out of position with the team, and being drafted/coached by Isiah Thomas. Perhaps the content isn't as revealing as Lin's interview, but an entertaining read nevertheless.
Enjoy the reflections, but after that, prepare to only look ahead to what could be great things for the Knicks this season.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
For over a season and a half, Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire have been subjects of quite the heated ongoing debate. The Knicks opened up their checkbooks to bring such a talented duo to the Big Apple, but the question still remains, can the two succeed alongside one another?
After fending off the critics for quite some time, the 2012-13 NBA season is officially one of no excuses for the Knicks. Ahead lies a full season, following a full training camp, and thus, the team will be as prepared as they'll ever possibly be.
But this season clearly isn't just about STAT and Melo. Set to boast the oldest roster in NBA history, the Knicks will have many players with something to prove as they hit the hardwood this season. The pressure is on, but collectively, the team has one common goal. What could be easier than that?
Despite the questions still surrounding Anthony and Stoudemire's chemistry, the Knicks have actually put together a team with seemingly excellent camaraderie from top to bottom.
Aside from putting a group of guys together with the very same objective(s) in mind, New York actually grouped together players who have been with one another before. The familiarity is there.
Everyone is talking about the success Stoudemire and Raymond Felton will have once again, being paired up in the Big Apple for the second time. But the fact is, Felton returns to New York having played with a number of his "new" teammates before. Over the course of his career, the point guard has also played alongside J.R. Smith (Nuggets), Tyson Chandler (Bobcats), and Kurt Thomas & Marcus Camby (Blazers). As a true floor general running the show, it's safe to say Felton will have an understanding of most of his teammates right off the bat.
Aside from Felton and Thomas, Camby also called Smith and Anthony his teammates for multiple seasons on the Nuggets. Thomas too called one of his fellow Knickerbockers a teammate elsewhere, having played with Stoudemire for a season in Phoenix.
The list of former teammates goes on, but perhaps no two former teammates shared something more special than Kidd and Chandler, in an NBA championship with the Mavericks in 2011. The pair will certainly be in all of their teammates heads as they all charge ahead towards an NBA title.
And the team will undoubtedly have fun doing so. Every player participating in Monday night's "Knicks Tip-Off" was all smiles, and the camaraderie between them was evident. The potential for great chemistry continues as you go down the roster. The players seem to be rooting for Ronnie Brewer as they anxiously wait for him to return to practice. Steve Novak and J.R. Smith also have that oh so unusual but special friendship.
But the special chemistry doesn't just show up on paper, it's already beginning to pay dividends on the court too. In the team's win against the Celtics on Saturday, Pablo Prigioni and Chris Copeland seemed to be on board with one another throughout the late goings of the contest. Having both played overseas for quite some time, the pair obviously have a solid understanding of each other's international flavor.
The Knicks' roster has the potential for outstanding chemistry from A to Z. In a team full of experienced players with something to prove, that same understanding of one another will prove to be crucial throughout the year. Each one's veteran mentality is surely to help right the team's ship (should anything go wrong). Needless to say, despite their elder age, the years each player on the Knicks has amassed over his basketball career will help them all stay focused, pulling together as they gun towards that ultimate goal.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
The NBA preseason isn't about wins or losses, but a victory here or there always helps pad team confidence.
The Knicks can't help but feel good after their second preseason victory, defeating the division rival Celtics 98-95 in overtime. Looking ahead to the regular season, it's important to examine exactly how New York is coming away with its victories. So far, both have been in positive fashion.
Whereas the Knicks beat the Wizards on Thursday thanks to their sweet shooting stroke from downtown, the long-ball was not the team's friend vs. the Celtics. Carmelo Anthony, Jason Kidd, Pablo Prigioni, and Chris Copeland all combined for 3 for 20 behind the arc, and the team as an entire group didn't fare much better, only shooting 10.3% from deep.
Unable to make it rain, the Knicks went back to basics. With the loss of Jeremy Lin, the team's new point guards will be scrutinized all season long when pondering if letting Lin go was the right decision. Saturday night, the team's new floor generals did not disappoint.
Raymond Felton displayed precision passing for the second straight contest, dishing 7 dimes, all the while only finishing with one turnover. He was able to find Anthony (23 points) and Tyson Chandler (16 points) underneath the basket again and again.
The media and fans alike are anticipating the return of Amar'e Stoudemire to benefit Felton, largely in part due to the chemistry the pair displayed in their first Big Apple stint together. But what about the returning guard's fluidity with the rest of the offense? Despite Felton's connection with STAT, the fact is, he controls the flow of the offense. He's going to be the one controlling the tempo, and thus, has the ability to help each member of the team up their game on that end of the floor. Much as it was the case in 2010-11, if Felton is rolling, so will his squad.
Prigioni came off the bench, only to display some impressive court vision of his own. Though he did dish out 5 assists, such a number doesn't even do his playmaking ability justice. Playing alongside Kidd in the Knicks backcourt, the Argentine helped his team surge late in the game.
The 35 year old led the charge as his team gunned for the victory, finding roster hopeful Chris Copeland in the right spots all throughout the second half. Not only did the forward cash in on Prigioni's sweet passes, he aggressively attacked the basket and got to the line effectively, finishing with 21 points. The big man also hit two free throws and swatted away a key shot down the stretch to help the Knicks seal the deal.
If Copeland continues to make the most out of the opportunities he's given, perhaps he'll make the Knicks' roster for the regular season. Already coming off a strong showing in Las Vegas this summer, minutes could be had for him should the Knicks' frontline continue to face injuries throughout the year.
All in all, many positives to take away from such a victory. There's certainly a lot to be optimistic as the Knicks charge ahead towards November.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
The Knicks will play their second preseason contest later tonight when they take on the Boston Celtics.
Still looking to develop that rhythm on both sides of the floor as they inch closer to the regular season, New York showed a lot of promise on Thursday against the Wizards. Though they were weren't at full strength, the Knicks were led by some pin-point passing by Raymond Felton, and the sweet shooting stroke of Steve Novak. In my opinion, their offense looked very strong, and more time on the court together will only help this team better their communication with one another, and thus, improve the fluidity even more.
That was one of the key takeaways for me during the team's first preseason victory, but what is everyone thinking heading into game two? Let's go around the web to find out.
Focusing on the matchup at hand, my pal Tommy Dee offers readers a look at what he believes are three keys to the Knicks playing well against the Celtics. For more Knicks talk from Tommy, check out what he and his NBA band of brothers had to say in the first edition of this new podcast.
Fans tuning in to tonight's game may have to wait just a bit longer to see Amar'e Stoudemire hit the hardwood for the first time this preseason, as the Knicks are still cautiously monitoring his bruised knee. He's listed as "questionable" against Boston.
As far as players ready and raring to go for game two, it's a no-brainer that Novak will look to build upon his strong first outing. Following his first game back in orange and blue, the forward spoke with the New York Post about losing Jeremy Lin as a teammate and how he ultimately chose the Knicks over his hometown Milwaukee Bucks this summer. Very interesting read.
In case you're looking to take a quick break from the X's and O's before tonight's game, head on over to Posting & Toasting. My friend Seth has a clip from Stoudemire and Baron Davis' funny appearance on the new Fox comedy, The Mindy Project.
And we all knew the Knicks had a couple of fashionistas sprinkled along the roster, but it looks like their kids are starting early as well. The children of Knickerbockers like Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Jason Kidd, and Tyson Chandler all modeled in a recent fashion show, and of course, their NBA parents were there to support. Check out coverage from the event here.
Lastly, with all the buzz surrounding a potential Knicks/Nets rivalry in the Big Apple, my buddy Jared Zwerling recently talked with rapper Lupe Fiasco about what he thought about friend Jay-Z's new team in Brooklyn. Check out the interesting Q&A to see what Lupe had to say about growing up a Bulls fan, his unique sports passion, and more.
That's all for now, Knicks fans. Enjoy the reads as the team heads into their matchup with the Celtics tonight!
Friday, October 12, 2012
The Knicks made their way into Washington D.C. Thursday night, trotting into the Verizon Center to face the Wizards in their first 2012 preseason matchup.
There's a ton of excitement surrounding the team with expectations as high as ever, but the group hitting the hardwood against Washington wasn't exactly the full group New York's expects to have competing for a title.
There was no Amar'e Stoudemire, and no Marcus Camby. Even Rasheed Wallace sat out the matchup, as did a couple of other Knickerbockers coping with injuries. Despite a shorthanded roster and a 22-0 second quarter run by the Wizards, New York held on for a 108-101 victory.
Of course, while it may make the team feel good to start things off right by adding one to the win column, this game wasn't about winning or losing. These preseason matchups are about making sure guys get back into game shape as they hit the ground running, and seeing which of those very players made improvements over the offseason.
With those things in mind, there were certainly a bevy of positives to take away from this one. For starters, Raymond Felton looked like a true playmaker out there. The returning Knickerbocker came back with a vengeance, zip-lining passes to his teammates again and again. He finished with 8 assists and just one turnover.
Following Felton's lead, the Knicks played efficiency, though they didn't put the ball on the floor too often. Adopting a "catch and shoot" mentality into the flow of their offense, Carmelo Anthony, Steve Novak, and J.R. Smith were among those who capitalized from Felton's sweet dimes by throwing up shots right after the pass.
Though a bit more fluidity with regard to ball movement (perhaps looking to make the extra pass) often benefits a team, the Knicks were able to excel Thursday simply by firing away on all cylinders. The team shot over 54% from downtown, with Novak leading the way, scoring 21 points as he connected on seven long-range bombs. Anthony knocked down three shots from deep on his way to scoring 17 points of his own, and even Pablo Prigioni joined the fun. The Argentine floor general added 13 points and hit four shots from beyond the arc. Smith also poured in 20 points in the victory.
Former BayHawks' guard and current Knicks' training camp invitee Mychel Thompson was granted the start at shooting guard with Smith coming off the bench, and Iman Shumpert & Ronnie Brewer sidelined. The 24 year old moved well and was able to get open as he spread the floor, but unfortunately wasn't able to capitalize on the opportunities at hand. He shot 0-5 from the field.
The strong fundaments seem to be in place for Thompson, and if he's only able to start knocking down that consistent jumper, could soon be garnering further consideration from the Knicks for a spot on the team.
Tyson Chandler looked a bit more aggressive on offense, not only powering home a couple of dunks, but laying in agile layups too as he looked to attack the basket. Such an offensive mentality could really give the Knicks a boost throughout the season as they look to diversify their offensive attack. On the other side on the ball, Chandler's front court mate, Kurt Thomas, looked strong and in shape, as he played the physical and gritty basketball that made him a fan favorite over a decade ago. His return will undoubtedly be embraced.
The Knicks collapsed on defense quite a bit, and a couple of players struggled in their first game back. That said, there were plenty of positives to take away from the win, as the team showed quite a bit of promise to get excited about in the weeks to come. It'll be an interesting month ahead to monitor New York's forthcoming progress.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
With many veteran players, including Amar'e Stoudemire and Rasheed Wallace, expected to sit out the Knicks' first preseason game vs. the Wizards later tonight, the matchup will be a great opportunity for players like Mychel Thompson and Chris Copeland to strut their stuff. Both still on non-guaranteed contracts, each one is still fighting for a coveted roster spot.
After being signed earlier this summer, it appeared as though Copeland would have a leg up on all the other non-guarantees looking to make the team in training camp. On a Summer League squad in Las Vegas filled with former players' sons, coaches' sons, failed journeymen, and more, the 28 year old forward looked most like a capable professional basketball player Averaging 13.8 points and 4 rebounds per game, Copeland showed agility and good hands underneath the basket. He has the skills to help an NBA team.
But intrigue surrounding Wallace may end up snatching a spot from Copeland in favor of the returning veteran. By formally adding Wallace, the Knicks would have the likes of him, Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas, and Steve Novak (who played a bit of stretch forward last season), all coming off the bench. With so many deserving big men deserving of minutes already on the team, it will be difficult enough to distribute playing time.
So where does that leave Copeland?
Assuming Wallace occupies the 14th roster spot, the Knicks will have one fifteenth and final spot to award one of their non-guarantees, should they so choose. Though Copeland has shown the most promise, it's unknown whether the team really feels as though there's a need for him, given the other players already with secured spots.
Chris Smith, J.R.'s brother, could have been given the spot out of plain courtesy, but surgery that will sideline him up to 3-6 months may put that in doubt as well.
Perhaps a better shooter will end up securing the spot as a way of diversifying the roster just a bit more. Copeland has been working hard, has shown the most promise, and after paying his due for years overseas, is perhaps the most deserving. But a veteran forward seeking a second chance in Wallace may squeeze him out due to his position.
Though the Knicks can ultimately bring up to three players they cut from training camp into the fold with the Erie BayHawks, it's unclear whether or not Copeland will opt to go that route. An older NBA prospect, the forward's time to break into the NBA may be running out. It's possible he prefers returning overseas to cash in on a more lucrative contract than the D-League can provide.
As Thompson and Copeland gun for that final spot, there are pros and cons to adding either player. After being a part of the Knickerbockers all summer, however, perhaps the team will be motivated enough to give Copeland that chance. Grant him a spot on the NBA squad with a big league salary, and then go ahead and assign him to the BayHawks if the playing time simply isn't there at the moment. If they don't opt to give the forward a guarantee, the Knicks may end up losing out on his upside completely, in favor of a one-year run by Wallace.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
By bringing in the slew of veterans that they did this past summer, the Knicks not only added some major depth, but also wisdom, experience, and intense hunger for that ultimate prize.
The likes of Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas, Pablo Prigioni, and Rasheed Wallace will help New York boast the oldest roster in the NBA history this season. With all the criticism that the Knicks' roster won't be able to keep up with the competition enough to maintain a serious run, each of these veterans have something serious to prove.
But which of them has the best chance at doing so? The fact is, which each vet in their upper thirties, a downhill decline has (however quickly or slowly) began as they enter the twilight of their careers. Though Prigioni himself is technically an NBA rookie, the difficulty of making mass adjustments to the stateside game may outweigh his eagerness to embark on a new journey.
For the returning four veterans, however, it's all about proving to all the doubters and naysayers that you have enough left in the tank to make a positive contribution.
Coming off the weakest season of his career, Kidd shot just 36% from the field last season, and what's more, only appeared in 48 (out of a possible 66) contests. The guard had previously played in at least 80 games in each of the last few seasons since 2005-06.
But it will be his court vision that will warrant him some key minutes on the court. The Hall of Fame floor general will be tasked with running the show for the Knicks' second unit. After averaging 28.7 minutes per game as a starter last season, Kidd will be expected to play even a little bit less coming off the bench. Hopefully the extra rest and less pressure will aid him in making legitimate contributions, but the decline has already began.
Kurt Thomas is no longer a major contributor, and may even lose out on some rotations minutes in favor of other big men on the roster. That said, the recently turned 40 year old still knows how to endure a few of the bumps and bruises down low for a few minutes per game. Able to still provide a team with 10-15 minutes per contest, an elder NBA player's shot is always the last thing to go, and as of now, Thomas can still knock that mid-range shot down on a consistent basis. He knows his role, and understands how to play within his means.
Two of the more unknown outcomes on the bench belong to Wallace and Prigioni. Whereas Wallace returns to the NBA after previously trotting off into retirement, Prigioni will hit the ground running as he embraces a new challenge. Still slowly making his way back, Wallace is yet to scrimmage with the Knicks players in training camp. Currently on a non-guaranteed contract, taking a risk on the veteran big man was a low-risk, high-reward type move for the Knickerbockers. It'll be interesting to see how this one pans out, but if Wallace is able to embrace his role similarly to Thomas, a 10-15 minute per game jolt of intensity could be just what the doctor ordered for the Knicks each and every night.
In the case of Prigioni, he's also a player who won't be expected to do too much. That said, with Kidd on the decline and susceptible to injuries in his older age, it's crucial Prigioni remain fresh and prepared to step in if and whenever necessary.
And then there's Camby. One of the more physical and dominating defensive big men of the last decade, the returning Knickerbocker averaged 9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 59 contests last season. The plus side? He did so while only playing 23 minutes per game. The center in fact started 53 of these contests, and still was able to make a major impact even in his older age. Camby, perhaps more than anyone else, is able to compete at the same intense level on a nightly basis.
By moving the big man into a reserve role, the Knicks are taking less pressure off of him, all the while hoping the very transition will makes things easier for him. The idea in playing him off the bench is to prolong his contributions and more important, his effectiveness. It's all about making life easier.
And that's the mentality the Knicks have when it comes to each and every veteran joining their seasoned roster. By taking the pressure off, and putting each player in the best possible position to succeed, New York is hoping to bring out the best in each one. If the play their cards right, the team will be key contributions from a group, who is collectively hungry for one last chance, all season long.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
While J.R. Smith's role as sixth man of the Knicks is all but defined as he plays with the reserves in scrimmages during training camp, there are still plenty of players fighting for potential playing time as they look to break into the rotation.
One of those players, of course, is Argentine guard Pablo Prigioni. After emerging as an international star in Europe, the 35 year old will officially become the oldest rookie in NBA history this season when he looks to embark on a new journey.
After signing with New York for the league's minimum contract, it's safe to say Prigioni is willing to make sacrifices to play in the league. With Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd already in the fold, the Argentinian stands as the Knicks' third string point guard on paper.
But with so much depth on the roster, comes an endless amount of different lineup opportunities for the coaching staff to roll out. Though Ronnie Brewer is expected to be ready to go by opening night, it's unknown how conditioned he'll be coming off of a knee injury. Iman Shumpert is also still expected to be sidelined until January.
Two injuries to a couple of shooting guards may in fact open up more minutes for Prigioni. Ranking amongst the more notable three-point shooters of all-time, floor general Jason Kidd is expected to log some time minutes at the two-guard position this season. After averaging over 17 points per game during his first stint in a Knicks uniform, Felton is another point guard who still likes to score.
But Prigioni is the more pure floor general. He has tremendous court vision and thrives when finding his teammates and distributing the ball. Shifting other point guards to the shooting guard position will create a spot for Prigioni, and a crucial one at that.
Of course, the 35 year old will have to take some to formally adjust to the tempo of NBA competition, but what better way to do so than actually playing alongside a fellow point guard? What's more, as Prigioni learns the NBA game, the game will also need some time to familiarize with him too. Throwing him into the fray right off the bat, the guard may be able to catch many opponents by surprise.
The overall versatility of this Knickerbocker squad from A to Z will lead to a bevy of different units hitting the hardwood for the team. With so many possibilities, Prigioni certainly stands a chance to make a certain impact off the pine for his new squad.
Monday, October 8, 2012
Though it's well noted Rasheed Wallace has joined the Knicks on a non-guaranteed contract, Coach Mike Woodson and company obviously talk about him with the thought in mind that he'll be around the team for the duration of the season.
Wallace has been mentioned as an insurance policy of sorts as New York gears up for a playoff run later in the year. With it unknown how much (or how little) the forward is capable of contributing, it's probably best for the coaching staff to keep their expectations for him at bay (which they clearly have).
But when looking at the Knicks' roster, it's easy to see where Wallace fits in. Aside from the obvious (his older age matches the personnel of the overall group), the 38 year old can potentially fill a necessary void on the bench.
When acquiring Wallace, New York was in search of a backup power forward for Amar'e Stoudemire. While the mentality surrounding Wallace's presence in the Big Apple has been described as a "just in case" scenario, the big man could end up seeing decent minutes the season. The Knicks may need them from him.
It all depends on the different match-ups with opponents. As Seth from P&T has noted throughout the week, the Knicks have played small-ball when it comes to forming different lineups for scrimmages. Of course, practice is practice and it's perhaps a more informal version of competition. The team wants to see what the non-guarantees have to offer, and other more notable players are sitting out as they cautiously monitor early soreness and other injuries.
But what New York's situation boils down to is this: they don't have many "big men" off the bench. Aside from Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas, Steve Novak would be the next guy in.
Novak has reportedly been playing power forward in practice, a slot he filled in lineups throughout last season. But the Marquette alum, who acknowledged at media day last week that it will ultimately be his defense that keeps him on the court, is not the type to bark back at opponents and endure bumps and bruises.
It remains to be seen how much we'll see Kurt Thomas contribute, though he's proven over the past two seasons in Portland and and Chicago that he can hold his own as a reserve. Should Camby be sidelined with an injury (like he is now) over the course of the season, it'll be interesting to see who the Knicks opt to go with to eat up some minutes off the pine.
It could be Wallace, in which case he really needs to stay ready. Labeling him as "insurance," with such a seasoned roster, is going to get old rather quickly (no pun intended). If the Knicks ultimately opt to award him a roster spot over promising young talent like Chris Copeland, John Shurma, and Mychel Thompson, Wallace will have to prove his worth from day one.
He may not be needed in the opening minutes of opening night, but an injury or two could land Wallace on the hardwood relatively quickly. It's important he is able to bring that same intensity (if not same abilities) to the floor that he's been known for throughout his career. The Knicks need to be able to not a miss a beat for 48 minutes per game each and every night if they plan on making a serious run. Solid depth and talented reserves go a long way towards helping them do that.
Friday, October 5, 2012
The last time Marcus Camby was a full-time backup center, his team made it to the NBA Finals.
That was the 1998-99 season, and to this day, still stands as the closest Camby has gotten to winning that oh so coveted NBA title.
Four NBA "All-Defensive" teams and a respectable decade-plus career later, Camby has returned to the Big Apple in hopes of finally winning that trophy once and for all.
Just like in 1999, when Camby backed up one of the greatest big men of all-time in Patrick Ewing, he will again don orange and blue while backing up quite the skilled center in 2012 DPOY Tyson Chandler.
How much easier could life get, for the returning Knickerbocker? Backing up a player of Chandler's caliber, the pressure is all but off of Camby. Though the big man is 38 years old, he proved last season what the Knicks will set out to prove all year: age is just a number.
Last season, Camby started 53 out of 59 games for the Blazers and Rockets, still managing to grab 9 rebounds and swat 1.4 blocks in just 23 minutes per contest. His averages stayed relatively steady through stints with both teams as the big man proved he can still be a key contributor in an NBA rotation.
Hoping to avoid any type of major decline as he enters the twilight of his career, Camby has put himself in the best position to play well while preserving his skills. Only being faced with serving as the anchor of the Knicks' second unit seems like it will allow him to do that.
And there's no denying that Camby hopes returning to a familiar place will bring him even the more familiar type of success. Speaking earlier this week at the Knicks' training facility, the big man said, I think in life, things often come full circle. This is where I wanted to end my career. I'm around a lot of friends and family, because I grew up near the area. So it feels good to be back."
While star power has become what has recently propelled many NBA squads to the promise land, Camby praised the depth the Knicks have. By choosing to don orange and blue once more, the center reunited himself with a number of teammates he's played with before throughout his career, including Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Raymond Felton, and of course, Kurt Thomas.
Recognizing the benefits to joining a Knicks team so poised to compete, Camby added, "The last couple years, the Knicks have been putting a good product out on the basketball court. They've put good players out there. I felt like this is a group that I could come in and help."
The big man asserted that it was his belief that the Knicks have the best front court in all of the NBA following the signing of Rasheed Wallace. That said, with so many older veterans forced to play key minutes for New York this coming season, questions surrounding whether or not each one will be able to hold up now swirl. Camby, for one, however, is not worried.
"There's no restrictions on me," he said. "No restrictions on anybody. I think us older guys, we all want to play. We all feel good to play. I think the organization feels good about us, and that's why they brought us back here. I see a lot of similarities between this team and the one we had in 1999 when we made it to The Finals. We had a lot of older veterans....so there's a lot of similarities and a lot of the same makeup."
Having experienced such success in the Big Apple before, Camby can surely understand the type of winning culture the Knicks are looking to embrace. There's a certain defensive mentality and competitive intensity to be carried out, and the returning Knickerbocker seems to already recall exactly what that was like. His decision to return to New York, rather than play for the Heat, had much to do with his pride in the rivalry the two squads have had over the years.
With such a talented roster, but such a narrow window for success, the pressure for the Knicks to win the ultimate prize is on. For Camby, however, this season was about putting himself in the best possible position. The pressure is in fact minimized by being able to backup Tyson Chandler. Playing alongside former teammates, in front of friends and family (and not to mention passionate fans), there's no reason why Camby won't thrive in his role, even in his older age.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
With training camp now officially underway, the NBA offseason can be considered complete. Many teams worked diligently this summer to retool, adding depth to their rosters to further cement a successful run into the playoffs this coming season.
The Knicks were certainly among those teams, adding notable veterans like Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas, and even Raymond Felton to their already existent impressive core.
But as New York looks ahead with hopes to make some noise, who do some of the team's returning players consider the biggest pickup of all?
Many players, including Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert, and even Felton, have already given credit where it's due to Kidd. The Hall of Fame bound floor general has quickly embraced a leadership role on this Knicks squad, making quite the impression on his new teammates thus far. It's impossible to recognize the value he brings as an experienced veteran and NBA champion. Kidd is truly one of the best point guards to ever hit the hardwood, and Felton looks forward to being mentored by his one-time idol.
The returning Knickerbocker called Kidd's influence almost immediate, saying the veteran has even acted more like "a father-figure" as he continues as he leads the group through the early goings of informal workouts and now, training camp.
While the benefits to bringing a player of Kidd's caliber are undeniable, it was Carmelo Anthony who boldly stated who else he believed represented one of the Knicks' better acquisitions of the summer.
While praising the team's significant improvements, Anthony added, "I love the additions, but somebody who I think is a really underrated pickup is Ronnie Brewer."
"He's really going to be able to help this team out a lot," the star said. "[Ronnie] will definitely help us out on the defensive end, especially when we're trying to get stops. I'm very excited."
Anthony's teammates certainly seem to share the same sentiment. Believing the team will be welcoming Brewer with open arms, Iman Shumpert beamed about his new teammate, saying "Ronnie's the kind of guy you don't like if he's not on your team, which is exactly like me. He's a go-getter, and I think he'll fit right in."
Towards the end of last season, Shumpert appeared to have stolen a spot in the starting lineup from Landry Fields. "Rook," as Coach Mike Woodson calls him, balances out the first unit well with his defensive prowess and athleticism.
But a horrific knee injury against the Heat in last season's postseason is likely to keep Shumpert out until approximately January. Until then, it will be Brewer who steps in to fill that void of a defensive two-guard.
The former Bulls and Jazz guard has enough experience and knows what it takes to defend some of the league's better offensive players. Should Brewer himself be at full health on opening night as expected, the Knicks won't miss a beat while waiting on Shumpert to return. His addition even allows the sophomore guard to take a slow and steady approach towards his rehabilitation. The Knicks don't want to rush the process, and Brewer helps take nearly all the pressure off to do so.
This summer, the Knicks added some of the more notable veteran players in all of the NBA. But as players like Anthony and Shumpert acknowledge, it will be the late acquisition of Brewer that will help pace things defensively for this already balanced roster.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Basketball season is officially around the corner. Following an offseason filled with its own share of twists and turns, players and staffers alike from the Knicks packed the team’s training facility on Monday for Media Day 2012.
General Manager Glen Grunwald and Coach Mike Woodson finally faced the music with regard to questions about the departure of Jeremy Lin.
As players spoke with us in groups of two, each pair was asked to address a number of different topics, including team chemistry and realistic goals for the upcoming season. As expected, there was a general feeling and attitude of optimism all around.
That said, the age of the team became an ongoing theme as the session progressed. As elder statesmen like Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, and Kurt Thomas appeared, many members of the media pondered whether or not the Knicks would collectively have enough gas in the tank to power through a strong enough playoff run.
All questions and concerns aside, Coach Woodson wouldn’t have it any other way.
“When you look at the core of our team in Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Amar’e Stoudemire, we all felt as though we needed veteran pieces around those guys,” the coach asserted.
“It’s not young teams that are winning NBA titles, guys,” Woodson continued. “I went that route some years ago in Atlanta. It was a good run, taking young players as we tried to build a championship team.”
“This go around for me,” he added, “to be able to take a veteran team with guys like Jason, Marcus, and Kurt, and assemble this group from the start of camp is important for me from a coaching standpoint. I have guys who think they can play, and it’s up to me as a coach to push all the right buttons.”
Coach Woodson appeared more interested in the team’s overall depth than anything else, comparing it to some of the deeper and more successful teams in all of the NBA. Addressing concerns about the team’s overall chemistry, the coach said it would be up to him to help his players find the right rhythm on the court.
And it certainly will be. After a summer of some major acquisitions, Woodson’s fingerprints are all over this roster. Praising the experience and maturity all the way down to a fringe rotation player like the returning Thomas, the coach is clearly more than content with the makeup of this squad.
But the Knicks aren’t done making additions just yet.
Though veteran forward Rasheed Wallace was expected to have already signed with the team after announcing he’d be coming out of retirement to join the Knicks, Grunwald and Woodson both said they hoped he would finally don his orange and blue jersey for the first time on Tuesday instead.
The coach went on to talk about his familiarity with the big man, saying, “I had great success with Rasheed in Detroit. Obviously we won the NBA title in 2004 under Larry Brown. He’s a great teammate who knows how to win, and he’s great from a defensive standpoint. Rasheed makes players around him better.”
Balancing out the team’s core with proven veterans is clearly Woodson’s formula for success. The front office is certainly behind him full-heartedly, sacrificing some of the team’s youth for that same incoming maturity and experience.
Taking kind of the “been there, done that,” attitude with regard to the youth movement, the Knicks’ coach will enter his first full season with the team with quite the ideal roster for his tastes.
One could argue that given the years remaining on the contracts of some of the team’s core players, the Knicks are simply doing what they feel is best to better embrace the window for success they’ve been dealt.
Even recognizing that, however, there’s no denying that Coach Woodson has major influence on the makeup of this roster, convincing the front office to put all their eggs in a veteran-type squad basket.
This season will begin to prove whether or not the Knicks are ultimately going to win big before time runs out. But for Woodson and company, there are no more excuses. The squad at hand is the one they’ll be moving forward with, for better or worse. At least the coach wouldn’t have it any other way.