Following his acquisition last summer, Jose Calderon was expected to play a big role in New York's transition to the triangle offense. But he struggled throughout, boasting a career-low in field-goal percentage. His numbers across the board were well lower than expected.
Speaking to reporters at Monday's media day, Calderon said nagging injuries plagued him, even when he managed to get back on the court. "There was always something going on, and I couldn't be out there at 100 percent," he admitted.
Calderon is one of the few returning Knicks from last season. Much like Anthony, the guard said he was simply "trying to forget what happened" as a new training camp begins. "I have to work on being healthy this season," the veteran who turned 34 on Monday added.
But perhaps such an effort will be too little, too late. The Knicks can't afford to struggle out of the gate, or at the very least, as much as they did early on last season.
Calderon was healthy in the beginning of the season and the team still couldn't find a rhythm. If such struggles are any indication as to what Calderon is capable of in the triangle, New York may be smart to have a shorter leash on him as a starter.
Should that be the case, the Knicks appear ready to rely upon incoming rookie Jerian Grant, if not also to count on him as a starter in the near future. Speaking to the media last Friday, Jackson praised the youngster and said that he specially scouted Grant, who is the nephew of former Bulls NBA champion Horace Grant, heading into the draft. The Notre Dame product said his role had not yet been outlined, but he was open to starting.
Having success in such a system is in Grant's blood. The challenge of being a floor general is something he believes he can take on successfully.
"I think I'm more comfortable with [the triangle]. There's a lot of movement. I was able to pick it up pretty quickly," Grant said about playing during Summer League. "As a point guard, you can help teach other guys."
Should he truly excel, playing Grant more often would add to the fresh start the Knicks are hoping to have. Grant can seemingly play a more uptempo style than Calderon can. Still, the veteran was hesitant to take blame for his individual shortcomings on Friday, instead opting to discuss how New York struggled as a team. And though organization and offensive flow often starts with the point guard, Calderon believes they'll have more success.
"100 percent," Calderon said. "We have guys who are experienced in the system now. It'll be much easier than it was last season. Just knowing that all of the guys that were here before know what we're trying to do. That'll make it easier."
With Grant looking like a promising option, it'll be interesting to see how much longer Calderon gets to start as the youngster transitions into the NBA.