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Knicks Links 10/12/09

 

For a little mainstream media insight on the Knicks, you may want to read the LBE discussion with Mike Kurylo (KnickerBlogger.Net/True Hoop Network) and Chis Sheridan of ESPN. There was nothing earth shattering stated in the discussion, but I had to laugh at the opening by Chris Sheridan:

Good afternoon, Knicks fans, and it is a good afternoon because y’all are one day closer to the end of this miserable decade.

Perhaps the most interesting thing Sheridan said was that the Knicks were going after LeBron and Bosh and that they were competing against Miami for the assets.

I see them trying to get LeBron and Bosh, one through a sign-and-trade and the other in a straight up signing. That would be the expanded Plan A. I think Miami has sights on making a play for both those [g]uys too, maybe Boozer instead of Bosh if he stays in Toronto, and   [p]utting both of them alongside Beasley, Wade and Chalmers. a pipe dream, maybe, cuz they’d have to accept less than the max, but the Heat think they have a puncher’s shot at pulling it off.

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According to Marc Berman, “Darko Milicic would not return Mike D’Antoni‘s calls all summer. Milicic and D’Antoni did not speak until the 7-foot-2 center arrived in New York two days before the start of training camp.” 

Despite the belief that Milicic has strengthened the Knicks defensively, what he has done thus far is not very impressive.  He lacks consistency in terms of defensive effort.  D’Antoni thinks that Milici is simply not ready to play at his speed yet. "He’ll get his shot down when he gets comfortable," D’Antoni said. "He’s only been playing this style for two weeks. He knows how to play. That’s a key. We’ve sped the game for him. Everything’s going 100 miles an hour for him."

In Berman’s Milicic story, he also noted that D’Antoni said the Knicks did not miss Quentin Richardson’s leadership.

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The Knicks are selling Duhon and Lee as the Pick and Roll Dynamic Duo. In addition, check out their twitter on the second sidebar:

You’re Invited – Knicks Open Practice! This Saturday, Oct. 17 @ The Rose Hill Gym @ Fordham Univ. Admission is free. Doors open @ 11:15. 2 hours ago

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Jared Jeffries is going to be in the starting line-up instead of Danilo Galinari.  Chris Duhon, Wilson Chandler, Al Harrington and David Lee will also be in the starting unit. D’Antoni thinks Gallo is just in a minor funk.

Barbara Barker, of Newsday which is owned by Cablevision which owns the Knicks, stated that “Last year’s Knicks team was fun to watch, except when they were attempting to play defense.” 

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October 12, 2009 Posted by | Chris Duhon, Danilo Gallinari, Darko Milicic, David Lee, Jared Jeffries | , , , , | 3 Comments

Training Camp Round-Up

Good morning folks. This afternoon is the last training camp session and tomorrow is the beginning of pre-season with the Knicks’ first game against the Wanna Be Brooklyn Nets in Albany. (Talk about your geographic confusion). There have been plenty of eyes, some behind amateur but useful video-camera shots, in Saratoga watching the Knicks try to come together as a T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More) to borrow a oft used acronym from Mr. Cooleyhigh.  Perhaps the best way to sum it all up is “the Knicks are a work in process.”

Of course the process is the “How Do We Get To 2010 Without Looking Like Absolute Fools Process”  and that is a difficult assignment which Donnie Walsh has handed off to Mike D’Antoni this preseason.  D’Antoni has taken the task with the same positive energy he usually brings to the job, but we perceive that Mike has changed a little bit – he is no longer verbally rigid about sticking to his “offense is defense” philosophy which he (and Newsday) kept trying to sell us last season.  Now he has embraced bringing a defensive set to the minds of the players; the next step is to bring the players a defensive mind-set, but this is a process.

This year D’Antoni has made defensive pressure a part of the training camp drills, although it is hard to see the impact of those drills in the available film footage (Check out Alan Hahn’s valiant camera phone effort).  The defensive pressure is also not one of the elements noted much by the blogging eyes in Saratoga.

One of the things most Fanatics understand is that you can’t tell much about the upcoming season from training camp, but you are given some tidbits to help your analysis. It is particularly hard to determine how good players or different combinations of players are because they are all training against players who formed one of the worst teams in the NBA last year.  At this time last year we were concerned whether Jamal Crawford would find his shot which seemed to vanish until the end of pre-season and whether Zach Randolph would be able to adapt to the D’Antoni philosophy of ball movement from player to player not from Zach to Black Hole. (At the beginning of the season both Randolph and Crawford were able to adapt as the Knicks got off to a strong start before the leading scorers were caught in a salary dump, to the dump, to the dump.)

The Eyes Have It

Knicks Fans have a number of eyes at Training Camp this year including Tommy Dee of  The Knicks Blog, Alan Hahn of Newsday, Mark Berman of The Post, Seth at Posting and Toasting, and Frank Isola of the Daily News (he really offered very little observation and insight in the on-line version of the Daily News). 

According to most of these gentlemen, Friday night, the 4th night of training camp, was the most impressive as the players came out and played with considerable intensity. “The energy was awesome and regardless of what people think about this being a lost season I’m here to say that these guys are ready to compete and ready to win,” wrote Tommy Dee.  Dee’s enthusiasm is always nice, but not everyone there associated the evenings effort with the Knicks’ state of readiness for the NBA season.

Earlier, we provided you some video from T&P.  The Knicks Blog also has been providing nice multi-media coverage through the SNY-TV network. The following is their Training Camp Day 4 Video.

 

 

Regarding the intense Day 4 scrimmage according to Dee, “The best five, offensively, in terms of flow was Darko, Lee, Will, Hughes and C-Du. I’m very interested to see if that continues. They have obvious synergy, but it could be just tonight.”  Alan Hahn was more impressed with a different combination. He wrote, “The best lineup for the blues included a huge group of Gallinari, Jeffries, Lee and Milicic. That group moved the ball beautifully and seemed to have great chemistry at both ends of the floor. Milicic ran the floor well and, along with Lee, dominated the boards.” Seth at T&P added that Duhon came to life after Robinson’s squad of youngsters, including Toney Douglas, experienced some success in both trash talking and b-balling.

It’s a process.

Playa, Playa, Play On

Jared Jeffries – Jeffries remains one of the most consistent players on the Knicks.  He is a hard worker and a valuable tool. Unfortunately, Jeffries is often the poster child for offensive disabilities and his contract is one of those in the way of cap space security for fans afraid we won’t be financially prepared for the free agent shopping spree this upcoming summer.

According to Hahn, on the third night of training camp most of the players looked like their legs were dead and their shots were flat, but the “most fittest players such as Nate Robinson, David Lee and Jared Jeffries didn’t show it as much, but everyone else was clearly feeling it.”  I know, I know: Jeffries shot didn’t look as bad because it is almost always flat or a knuckleball, but I like Jeffries because he is a hard working T.E.A.M  player. By Friday night Hahn wrote, “Jeffries has looked very good in camp. He is even finding some consistency and confidence in his previously wayward shot. Not to say he’s a legit scorer, but Jeffries is trying hard to show he won’t be a liability on offense.”

Toasting and Posting wrote, “Brace yourself. Jared Jeffries has been one of the best players on the floor throughout camp. I’m serious. It was cute at first, but Jared made it clear tonight that he’s determined to be a factor. His outside shots continued to fall, and he put the ball on the floor for difficult finishes with either hand. On the other end, Jeffries hounded guards in the backcourt, then raced back to legitimately swat a few people under the basket. My friend (a Celtics fan, I’m afraid, but he appreciates the Knicks) said, without a hint of sarcasm, "he looks like Kevin Garnett out there". It was a sight to be seen.”

It’s too bad that almost every year Jeffries starts the pre-season like a gangbuster and gets injured or so it seems.  Let’s see if he makes it into the rotation on October 28th against the Heat.

Darko Milicic –Milicic, 24, is already in his seventh season. My question is not “How did he become a bust?” It’s “how many rookies has coach Larry Brown destroyed or misused in his career?”    By Friday night, Milicic dominated the boards and ran the floor well, according to Hahn, although he seemed to get hurt a couple of times, once when Toney Douglas landed on his head. Milicic understands that he can help the Knicks improve by rebounding and blocking shots.  "There’s a lot of scorers on this team, scoring is not a problem here," he said. "So I will try to help in other ways; try to rebound, try to block shots. All of this stuff is going to make this team better and get a couple of more wins, maybe for a playoff spot.”

Eddie Curry – Maybe he really is hurt.  Sometimes I regress to my conspiracy theorist days in college and I feel like Eddie Curry is not really hurt, but his conditioning is so bad that the coach does not want the rest of the world to see him practice publicly before he puts a big for sale sign on his Knick-neck.  But, he did practice the first day and he was wearing a boot while working out in the pool by the third day.  This brother is just a mess right now.  Put him on your prayer list please.

Danilo Galinari – Since he was drafted, I have been comparing his game to Jamal Crawford’s which is what I saw in the Euro-tapes.  I was not at all surprised that D’Antoni tried Gallo at the 2 spot which is a slightly better place for him, but according to Berman, “[e]ven D’Antoni admits – for all of Danilo Gallinari’s shooting grace – he still can’t create his own shot.”  That takes a chunk out of my Crawford comparison because Jamal can create his own shot with ease although the shots are not always easy to look at.

Seth at T&P was not impressed with Galinari’s speed on defense. “I think I buy the idea of Danilo Gallinari acting as a shooting guard on offense, but I’m not so down with his matching up that way on D. Gallo matched up with Nate Robinson and Marcus Landry (the latter of which isn’t nearly as ridiculous, but still) at times, and had trouble keeping up when he got screened or lost on the break. At one point, a frustrated Gallo objected to some physical positioning by Landry, and simply shoved him out of bounds with two hands. The guy’s got fire, but I wonder if throwing him out there against guards maximizes his talents.”

Toney Douglas – One of the most significant developments is that D’Antoni has already penciled Douglas in as Duhon’s back up. (Berman). This is not a surprise.  What was a surprise is that D’Antoni had practically written the rookie off as unprepared for the NBA after the Summer League.  "He didn’t have a good summer league, and it was a quick judgment and maybe made a mistake on," D’Antoni said. "He’s a lot better than I thought. He might have ran out of steam at the end of the week, and I judged him on that not being ready. Give him credit though. I showed him things he had to work on and he did."

Toasting and Posting noted, “Toney Douglas continues to impress me on defense. As an athlete, he’s unspectacular, but he’s determined to bust his ass to stay with his assignment. It’s especially refreshing to see someone get over a screen now and then.”

As I mentioned earlier, you are likely to see Douglas and Robinson on the floor together often, especially to improve the tempo of the game.  I would also not be surprised to see Douglas, Robinson and Duhon on the floor at the same time with perhaps Gallo, Jeffries or Chandler.  This combination puts Duhon in the best position offensively as he can pop the tre and play for the drive instead of concentrating on being the distributor.  It’s a small group, but until Milicic is ready, the Knicks’ best units will be smallish.

Al Harrington – Harrington is reportedly looking pretty active and aggressive, particularly on offense where he is also passing the ball around and driving to the rim which is when he is most effective.  Seth wrote, “Al Harrington, who continued to abuse every defender in his path (and a ref or two as well). I believe the word that Al’s added muscle over the summer, because he’s willing and able to bully his way to the basket and finish strong. The outside shots are falling, too.”  Solid play from Harrington will make it tough for D’Antoni to settle on a definite 8-10 player rotation.

We will get a better understanding of what all of this means when the pre-season starts tomorrow. I understand that O&B is going to try to pull together an LBE for tomorrow afternoon.  Stay tuned.

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DON’T FORGET TO ENJOY O&B’s INSIGHTFUL AND LONG LAP ON KNICK REVIVALISM

ALSO, DON’T FORGET TO ROCK THE VOTE FOR THE DANCE-SPIRIT TEAM

October 3, 2009 Posted by | Al Harrington, Chris Duhon, Danilo Gallinari, Darko Milicic, David Lee, Donnie Walsh, Eddie Curry, Jamal Crawford, Jared Jeffries, New York Knicks, Toney Douglas, Zach Randolph | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments