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Expectations Grow As Galinari Joins First Unit In Training Camp, Day 1

 

It appears that Coach D’Antoni could not be more excited with the prospects of his 2008 draft pick, Danilo Galinari who opened training camp with an offensive flourish as he played with the “first unit.”  Howard Beck, of the New York Times reported, that Galinari played with the projected starting lineup of Chris Duhon, David Lee, Al Harrington and Wilson Chandler, as he showed off his ball handling and finesse in scoring and passing.

However, Seth at Posting and Toasting was a bit more measured about Galinari’s play during the scrimmage, reflecting points I made before Galinari was drafted about him being Jamal Crawford’s replacement.

Gallo kept moving well in the full-court scrimmages, and continued to show off his offensive repertoire. He wasn’t all that active off the ball, but after a catch he wasn’t just settling for jumpers. There were a couple nice fakes and dribbles for short jumpers, a spinning lefty layup (that rimmed out), and a couple vicious dunks, including one complete facial on Jordan Hill (prompting David Lee to put his thumb to his forehead and yell "The Rooster!"). As for the jump shot, Gallo wasn’t quite as automatic as he’d been in practice. He missed a few early, and angrily ripped the bandage off his right hand following one brick. It’s not like he was shooting poorly, though. Anything less than perfection from the field surprises me when it comes to Gallinari. I did get a chance to see the cut on his hand up close and it ain’t no scratch.

Even more notable from the first day of training camp is D’Antoni’s admission that he underemphasized defense last year.  This year he opened training camp with a defensive exercise and promised more focus on defensive goals, if not schemes.   "They think they can outscore people, we score so easy,” D’Antoni said. "They have to take it more personal. We’re going to keep banging that drum. I hope they get to a point where they’re not thinking, ‘I hope I’m hot tonight’ but, ‘I hope I guard my man.’ We got to get that mentality. If we get there, it will translate into a lot of wins.”

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September 30, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

9 Comments »

  1. http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/knicks/2009/09/30/2009-09-30_lebron_james.html

    interesting, but watch out for those Nets.They can offer a piece.Yippeee, we’re gonna play defense, we’re gonna play defense!This is looking better!Free Plax/lgk!

    Comment by Tman | September 30, 2009 | Reply

  2. more from the Post/

    “In the latest interview, James was asked about his Cleveland loyalty.

    “My loyalty is to Akron,” James told ESPN. “I’m looking forward to this upcoming season, but I’m looking forward to the summer of 2010, too, to see what may happen. I love this city and I’ll always give back to this city no matter what my profession — if it takes me somewhere else.”

    Now for my coffee, free Plax/lgk!!!!!

    Comment by Tman | September 30, 2009 | Reply

  3. Here comes lil Angelo to save the day!

    Comment by O&B's Ghost | September 30, 2009 | Reply

  4. Gallo the Savior! Hear that Boston?

    Comment by Peaceman | September 30, 2009 | Reply

  5. Whatsup Gents. Lives alive and accounted for. Kinda, sorta busy the last few days. Hope all is well or at least better for you than they are for Curry who will miss training camp with a calf injury. Surprised? I know you couldn’t possibly be. Curry is becoming Jerome James’ substitute.

    Comment by livesinnewjersey | September 30, 2009 | Reply

  6. Curry hurt again………what else is new.Wake me up July 1,2010……….or if we are able to trade Curry sooner.

    Comment by DLTKnicks | September 30, 2009 | Reply

  7. Knicks balance present with future

    GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Larry Hughes, Al Harrington, Chris Duhon.

    David Lee, Nate Robinson, Darko Milicic.

    The names of six potential starters? Maybe. But in New York, those names also represent something different: six players who are in the final year of their contracts.

    The worst-kept secret in the NBA is that the Knicks are cleaning house in an effort to get under the salary cap for the summer of 2010, when stars such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can become free agents. The Knicks have brazenly traded veterans like Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph while caring little about what they got in return — as long as the newcomers had fewer years remaining on his contract. Entering this season, only four veterans — Eddy Curry, Jared Jeffries, Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler — have contracts that extend beyond 2009-10.

    “They have a plan,” Lee said. “Obviously they don’t want to take on any more salary and they are going to do whatever it takes to get as far under the cap as they can.”

    Before the Knicks can go on a spending spree in 2010, however, they must get through this season. And with the team’s core players thinking about their next contracts, that won’t be easy.

    “I’m not sure how it’s going to work,” Knicks president Donnie Walsh said. “I’ve never been part of a season like this before. I know this: We have to play with a team concept. That’s a must.”

    Said Lee: “It can be a situation where everyone pulls together and says, ‘We don’t know what our future is going to be but let’s play it out and see what we can do as a team.’ Or everyone says, ‘I’m going to go for mine, do my own thing and make sure I’m taken care of.’ ”

    Selfish play doesn’t fit into Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni’s offense, which is predicated on ball movement.

    “You have to be unselfish to play in this system,” Lee said. “You have to move the ball. And since we don’t have a guy who is going to average 30 points per game, that’s something I think we are going to have to realize from the get-go.”

    While the future of the team is uncertain, Lee believes this Knicks team has enough talent to make a serious run at the playoffs this season.

    “There are a couple of teams in both leagues, like Boston and the Lakers, that probably have more talent than the teams they play against,” Lee said. “But for the most part, teams 4-12 have similar talent. We had 18 games [last season] that were decided by five points or less. We win half of those games and we might be in the playoffs. I think a lot of those close games are going to come down to how well we play together — buckling down, getting stops and grinding out baskets. That comes when everyone is on the same page. We need to have a good training camp and preseason to establish that.

    “We were getting used to the coach last year and he was getting used to us. Our roles weren’t as defined last year. This year we know who the main characters are going to be. I could be completely wrong and we could win zero games this year. But I like the vibe going into the season. I know we can play together.”

    Three Observations
    1. After a nightmare ’08-09 in which he dealt with personal problems and saw his weight balloon to 365 pounds, Curry reported to camp 40 pounds lighter. The Knicks’ biggest worry with Curry is his ability to participate fully in training camp — and the 6-foot-11 center already suffered a setback when he strained his calf during a scrimmage Tuesday night.

    “He’s going to have to do a lot of work,” Walsh said. “He has to be committed to getting back to where he was.”

    One of Walsh’s and D’Antoni’s chief objectives with Curry is to ensure that he doesn’t start to doubt himself at the first sign of trouble.

    “We have to make sure to tell him that all is not lost with the first minor setback,” Walsh said. “Don’t give up on yourself.”

    Walsh has been particularly impressed with Curry’s willingness to listen to advice from the coaching staff and team management.

    “Last year he might not listen to you,” Walsh said. “But he’s more upbeat. I know how devastating a lot of things were for him [last year]. It was a very difficult year for the guy to go through. But I really believe he’s turning the corner.”

    A healthy Curry not only would be a boon to the Knicks’ offense, but a strong early performance could persuade a team to take the remaining two years and $21.8 million left on his contract, clearing even more cap space for next summer.

    2. After experiencing back pain as a rookie that led to a surgical procedure designed to relieve pressure on the lower spine, Gallinari says he is pain-free. Gallinari has been working out since July and showed up in New York in early September to participate in scrimmages. That’s good news for the Knicks, who have big plans for their 21-year-old forward. While Gallinari believes he is better suited for the small forward spot, Walsh and D’Antoni see him as a hybrid capable of creating mismatches at both forward spots.

    “The things I think he will improve on [this season] are his strength and his ability to impose his will on the game,” Walsh said. “The guy is a great driver and that’s what he did when I saw him play in Italy. Actually, I used to wonder if he had the confidence in his jump shot. I don’t anymore.”

    3. Count New York as the latest team to believe it can tap into the natural (though largely undiscovered) talent of Darko Milicic. To do that, the Knicks plan on taking a page out of the Magic’s playbook. When Milicic played alongside Dwight Howard for a season and a half in Orlando, most of his touches came when he was facing up rather than with his back to the basket. The Knicks feel Milicic can be a dangerous scorer when put in that position (Walsh pointed to the 12.3 points he averaged in the ’07 playoffs) and plan on utilizing him frequently that way in D’Antoni’s offense.

    “He has the skill to be good in this system,” Walsh said. “That year in Orlando was probably his best season, and we’re going to put him in a lot of the same positions.”

    Rookie report
    Jordan Hill, the No. 8 pick in June, will get most of the headlines during training camp, but it’s Toney Douglas, acquired in a draft-night deal with the Lakers, whose role may be the most important. After striking out in trying to acquire Jason Kidd, Ramon Sessions and Ricky Rubio in the offseason, the Knicks are desperately hoping someone can take some of the load off starting point guard Chris Duhon, who, after an All-Star-quality start last season (13.3 points, 8.9 assists in December), faded badly down the stretch (8.1 points, 5.4 assists in March). Walsh says Douglas, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year at Florida State, will get first crack at backing up Duhon.

    Comment by DLTKnicks | September 30, 2009 | Reply

  8. BAD and Unexpected outcomes Cooley MD. Next time bring Barney Frank along to seal the deal. You’d think that having a Police Unit dedicated to “folks in the family” would be prima facia evidence for the merit of our bid. Maybe Barry gets a Better Bounce in Copenhagen.

    Why does it look to Steady like []’Anfony is up to politrics again with fictitious injuries to ECurry? Fortunarely EZ-E it’s not Plantar Fasciatis. Note to E-City–call your agent (Mr. Rose) or log in to WWW–he knows what’s good about 2010 and wacth what happens to your “hammy” and role on the squad.

    Steady as IToo Love This Game.

    OKFL

    Comment by Steady | September 30, 2009 | Reply

  9. Wassssup Fanatics! I hope this missive finds all of you well. To my Fanatical Brother Steady As It Goes, thanks for the shout out…Our presentation was A+ and it was ours for the taking, but the other city produced a 3 Mil check behind the scenes compared to our 1.5 Mil. I’ve said it before, “If It Don’t Make Dollars It Don’t Make Sense.” That’s not how I LIVE, but it is the Nature of the beast in which I LIVE… (BTW, STEADY up unitl that point I was batting 1000% for the past 18 years in the Art of Making the Deal…So it was bound to happen. But Hold Up, my Bat Phone is ringing so we may still have a legitimate shot. They’ve got to survive the audit; produce the paper; then sign on the dotted line…I’m hearing whispers and my Bat Phone keeps ringing…I won’t answer it for a few days and let the Playas stew for few…on to European Football 2018/2022

    Regarding OUR BELOVED KNICKS! TD Douglas is a comer fellas, and I suspect his Defense will pay dividends before his scoring capabilities take shape, but he is a relentless MOFO and tough as nails, and I have said it here on many occasions…Just keep PEEPING through the Back Door…

    And, I agree with the TMAN, if this TEAM plays DEFENSE they’ve got a legitimate shot to make a run at the playoffs…MAN AM I LIVIN MY DREAM…LOL

    But, right now I’m DOING SOME CALIFORNIA DREAMIN, Like
    La Jolla in the B & B taking on my own version of the 69 questions… And trust me, I’LL BE SURE TO COME UP FOR AIR WITH THE RIGHT ANSWERS…HOLLA!

    ONE LOVE PEEPS!

    Keep it CRACKIN!

    Comment by Cooleyhigh | October 1, 2009 | Reply


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