Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
A few notes and observations from Knicks training camp on Thursday:
RJ Barrett spent some time talking to Hall of Famer Bernard King on Thursday.
King didn't want to reveal too much about the conversation, but he seems impressed by the Knicks' No. 3 overall pick.
"It's obvious to me he wants to be an outstanding player. Anytime you have an opportunity to talk to someone who has had tremendous success in basketball or in life, you try glean some thoughts from them. I shared with him the key is hard work," said King, who visited Knicks camp with fellow Hall of Famer Bill Bradley on Thursday. ".... He's a obviously a tremendous talent. He's going to have a great career. He'll continue to grow as any young player would."
Here's Kevin Knox impression of Barrett thus far: "He's very confident in himself. Just the way he plays, he knows that he can really get to the basket. He's a really underrated passer. I talk to him here and there. He's a guy who knows he can bounce back. You've got 82 games so I mean one tough game is not going to discourage you the rest of the season. You've got to be able to bounce back in this league because there's so many games. You play four games a week. One tough game is not going to affect you through the whole season."
No one questions Barrett's work ethic and motor, but some scouts wonder about his perimeter shot and ability to beat defenders off the dribble. As noted above, he'll have ups and downs as a rookie. But his long-term development is a key for the organization.
Fiz likes Portis: Bobby Portis will likely come off the bench in New York this season, and head coach David Fizdale believes he'll bring versatility to his role. "The fact that he shot almost 40 percent from three last year, he's a guy that's really good at rolling into the pocket and plays out of the pocket. He's an under-rated passer, you can run offense through him in the low-post and elbow areas," Fizdale said. "And defensively, I think he's gotten a bad rap. I've watched him on film, he does a lot of good things helping his teammates and rebounding the basketball."
Players like Portis, Marcus Morris and Elfrid Payton may take minutes away from the Knicks' young core. But Fizdale says that, if that scenario plays out, those young players should still be able to develop in a reduced role.
"Absolutely. You're fighting for your minutes in practice against talented players, we're still going to need those guys to win games," Fizdale said. "They're going to have to play well to help us win games. Their minutes will be determined on performance."
When asked if Kevin Knox or Mitchell Robinson's minutes could be reduced this season, Fizdale said what you'd expect: "That's going to be dependent on them."
Payton a pest: Elfrid Payton will be competing with Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr. for minutes at point guard during training camp. Here, in part, is Fizdale's assessment of Payton thus far:
"Intensity. He is a tough cookie," Fizdale said. ".... He's an irritant. And I love the fact that he rebounds the ball. He goes and gets the ball. You saw last year, he had like three triple-doubles in a row. The guy is just always engaged. He's always trying to help his team win. And like I said, he's got an edge to him that I like." Fizdale said he can see Payton sharing the backcourt with Ntilikina and Smith Jr. at times.
King thinks Melo still has a place in the game: Carmelo Anthony and Bernard King developed a friendship when Anthony was in New York. Anthony said King was one of his favorite players growing up. King was asked on Thursday what he thought of Anthony being out of the league at this point. "Melo is one of the greatest players to ever play the game. I've always maintained that," he said. "I'm honored he patterned a large part of his game after mine. It's a little surprise for everyone the league changes and shifts and sometimes you have to adjust your game accordingly. He's a great great talent and always will be."
King, a Brooklyn native, coincidentally grew up in the same building as new Knick Taj Gibson.
"We grew up in the same projects, Fort Greene. Went to the same elementary school. PS 67. I was told that's why he wears 67 for our old elementary school. It's great to see him here. I told him welcome to New York, you're going to love it."
King huddled with the Knicks before practice on Thursday. Fellow alumni Herb Williams and John Starks - a Garden employee - visited with the club on Wednesday night.
Offensive philosophy: Fizdale has said that the Knicks offense is going to look different this year. He says he didn't want to overload the young Knicks last year with too many complexities, but it will be different this season with a more veteran group.
Fizdale isn't diagramming plays for reporters when he's asked about the offense. Coaches rarely want to reveal too much about their game plan.
But here's some of what Fizdale said about the offense on Thursday: "I know I want to get the ball over half court quickly. I want to get the ball moving. I want a lot of guys involved in the game with the understanding of whoever's got it going that night we've got to keep that guy going. We're going to be an attacking team, a team that gets into the paint. We want to be a team that gets to the foul line."