As they continue to ready their roster for the 2013-14 season, the Knicks still have a handful of spots to fill. With Kenyon Martin currently unsigned and an injection of youth surely needed, New York set their sights on the likes of Jeremy Tyler and one-time Knickerbocker Jerome Jordan heading into NBA Summer League this past week.
While Tyler thrived in Las Vegas and did in fact prove why he deserves a further look this coming fall, the door was still left open for a bevy of various young guns who attempted to impress this week.
Though he wasn't the beneficiary of too many minutes in Las Vegas, Liam McMorrow still proved what kind of role he could fill in the NBA if given a chance. The 7'2" 270 pounder clearly has a big body and knows how to use it to his advantage. Able to assert himself defensively, McMorrow is the type of guy who flies under the radar until it's time to crash the boards, overwhelm opponents on defense, etc.
Speaking to KnicksJournal.com, the big man explained how he emerged as a candidate to represent those who donned orange and blue in Las Vegas at the last minute.
"I've been here in Las Vegas training for the last three months or so," said McMorrow. "I was just hoping that I could get on to a Summer League team. It came really late, but Allan Houston was talking to my agent and I got a chance to practice with the guys. From the moment I was added to the roster, I've taken every opportunity to interact with all the fans and sign every autograph. It's been great."
In the interest of attempting to convey to the Knicks what kind of player he can be, McMorrow has been chewing on the ear of a former player similarly known to get down and dirty on the court.
"The team had a little mandatory meeting that we all went to, and I was actually talking to Jerome Williams. You know, JYD! We were broken up into little smaller groups, and Jerome was just telling me I should stop for every fan, take every picture, those type of things," McMorrow added.
"Jerome made a name for himself on the Knicks simply by doing things like grabbing rebounds and setting screens for Allan Houston all day. He told me I could do the same exact thing. He even said I'm bigger and stronger than he is," he concluded.
NBA Summer League often comes with the intense pressure of having to impress NBA executives in hopes of earning an invite to training camp. Such pressure is undoubtedly still there for McMorrow, but perhaps the big man has been able to relax a bit due to some familiar factors playing into last week's run.
The big man went on to say, "I'm comfortable with things, because I've been able to sleep in my own bed since I've been out here. I actually played with Terrence Jennings a bit last year too."
Having trained with renowned IMPACT head man Joe Abunassar over the last few months, McMorrow asserts he's in good shape and ready for an opportunity to show the Knicks (or any NBA team, for that matter) what he's made of.
Though he said the Knicks' coaching staff tried to run plays for him during the team's 90-81 Summer League finale victory over the Clippers on Friday, McMorrow's first priority is hustling and asserting himself defensively. He admitted, however, he'll need to be aggressive offensively at times to show New York brass he's that of a more versatile talent.
Still, McMorrow believes his physical nature (and perhaps the fact that he doesn't have a pressing need to command and/or score the basketball) in fact sets him apart from the other big men who are candidates to impress the Knicks during training camp in just a couple months.
He added, "I'm going to be biggest and most aggressive guy on the court. I want to assert myself physically. If the ball's on the floor, I'm going to go dive for it. I'm going to grab every rebound I can and make sure my teammates feel safe out there. I'm going to have their backs. That's what I want to do."
The Knicks undeniably need a player that fits a mold like that and does the things he'll aim to do. Though Knicks' brass has already gotten a taste of McMorrow this week, the big man opted to conclude our conversation by offering even more insight as to who he may resemble.
"Probably like a 7'2" version of Reggie Evans. That's basically what I'm trying to do," he said. With competition continuing to mount in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks could benefit from a player like that.
Heck, if Camby can occupy a roster spot last year surely this guy can be a useful reserve on the bench. McMorrow isn't going to dazzle you with his skills, but he's 7-2 and full of muscles. That can be useful in the NBA, even tho it's hard to see in the SL games. Jeremy Tyler is so talented that you can see it easily in the SL style of games. Same goes for Jennings and Vargas. They all have offensive skills and agility that tends to shine in a fast moving SL game. McMorrow would show his worth in the NBA against Hibbert and other strong bigs.