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 (Dennis Wierzbicki)
(Dennis Wierzbicki)

Joakim Noah skipped the Knicks' team dinner at West Point Military Academy on Thursday night because he's anti-war, he told reporters Friday.

The dinner featured cadets and a speech by a former colonel, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.

Noah said he had mixed feelings about missing the dinner.

"It's hard for me a little bit," Noah said. "I have a lot of respect for the kids who are out here fighting. But it's hard for me to understand why we have to go to war, why kids have to kill kids around the world. So I have mixed feelings about being here. I'm very proud of this country. I love America but I just don't understand kids killing kids around the world."

Noah clarified that he's anti-war, not anti-troops.

"At the end of the day, I'm not anti-troops," he said. "It's just not comfortable for me to see kids going out to war and coming back having seen what they've seen, having done what they've done. It's sad for me."

Knicks head coach Jeff Hornaceck said it was Noah's "right" to not attend the dinner, adding that the team would never pressure him to attend.


 (Robert Mayer)
(Robert Mayer)

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

One of the big-time quotes in my mind from the past few days was from Kristaps Porzingis when asked about the importance of Lance Thomas, who has the chance to be the Shane Battier-type glue for the Knicks this season.

"I told him at the end of the season don't leave us," Porzingis said. "That's the type of guy who you want [to win]. He's not the guy that everybody adores but he's the guy who is going to do the work every night. He's a warrior."

The Knicks drew ire from fans for keeping the surprisingly efficient Thomas, who they acquired as part for the three-way trade that saw them send J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to Cleveland.

Many thought Thomas was a throw-in and that Phil Jackson literally gave Smith and Shumpert away, but in Thomas, the Knicks have a do-everything player who has earned respect of his teammates, including Porzingis, which speaks volumes to me.

"I'm ready. I'm very ready." Thomas said at training camp. "It was a long summer for me personally since I missed the last month of the season so I'm very anxious to get back out there. I love the moves that we made. The tenacity and energy we're bringing in practice. I'm ready to get this thing going."

Very often you can find out the true value of players through the words of their coaches and teammates, especially if what they bring to the table isn't that visible on the surface. The only question I have regarding the Brooklyn-born Thomas is durability.

Thomas was in the midst of his best professional career last season, one that saw him shoot an efficient 40 percent from three-point range in 1.8 attempts per game before succumbing to a non-contact knee injury in warmups in early March.

If Thomas can continue the success he had last year, particularly playing with Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony, who assisted on 20 of his 169 made field goals, then the Knicks have another efficient perimeter "3 and D" player along with Courtney Lee. Playing the duo together and moving Anthony to the 4 and Porzingis to the 5 could result in an efficient offensive unit for the Knicks.

The only other real concern I have is will Thomas and Brandon Jennings have the same connection that he had with Langston Galloway and Jerian Grant on the Knicks' second unit. Both combined to assist on 38 of his 169 field goals made from the guard position. One good sign was Jennings' connection in Detroit with another Duke star, Kyle Singler. In 2013-14, the year before his Achilles injury, Jennings assisted on 75 of Singler's 269 field goals made and the duo were first and second respectively on the team in three pointers made.

In Thomas, the Knicks have a guy that should excite fans. You may not notice all the things he can do, but his teammates and coaches sure do. Unfortunately, like some of his teammates, he's going to have to answer the durability question this year.

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis , Lance Thomas

New York Knicks forward Lance Thomas drives to the basket past Portland Trail Blazers center Ed Davis during the second half at Madison Square Garden. (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Knicks forward Lance Thomas drives to the basket past Portland Trail Blazers center Ed Davis during the second half at Madison Square Garden. (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

Lance Thomas was a revelation off the New York Knicks' bench last season. Previously known for his endless hustle on defense, Thomas showed versatility. Shooting 40 percent from deep on his way to averaging 8.2 points, the NBA journeyman proved he could be someone on which the team depended on both ends of the floor.

There was just one problem. Playing in 59 games, Thomas was forced to battle the injury bug as the season progressed. After fighting for so long to earn his keep and prove his worth, this was the first time in Thomas' career that he was regularly relied upon as a key rotation player over the course of a campaign.

Last summer, Thomas saw an opportunity to improve his offense and work on his consistency with each corner 3-pointer. Obviously, that hard work and effort paid off. This time around, Thomas put an extra focus on strength and conditioning as he enters his third year with the Knicks.

"My job was to help him focus on direction. We worked on prehabilitation stuff and movement analysis. We [focused on] anything that was limited in range of motion, like his ankles, hips, or knees," personal trainer Gabriel Blanco said. "We wanted to put him in the best position to have an injury free season."

Blanco, the owner of NSI Fitness in New York, stepped in to work with Thomas and spend considerable time with him while a Knicks trainer was out of town. Boasting a client base that includes high school and D-I collegiate athletes, as well as baseball players preparing for the draft, Blanco said it was refreshing to work with Thomas, who still has a similar hunger to get better.

"The difference in hunger between Lance, and someone who has even more to prove, is non-existent," he said. "On one hand, you expect that level of professionalism and intensity from an athlete. On the other hand, it'd be easy for someone like Lance to get comfortable after signing that contract.

"That speaks to how hard he works. There are no pre-conceived notions. When he trains, he's there to listen, learn, and to work," Blanco added, saying that working with him was easy and enjoyable. Thomas trusted the process and was open to new ideas that would help him improve.

Further discussing the type of shape Thomas is in, the trainer said, "He's a pretty lean guy. He doesn't really have to worry about weight gain because he's always training. Even before we got together, he came in and was already training 4-7 times a week."

But make no mistake: remaining as injury free as possible is one priority, but Thomas still sees room to improve the other facets of his game. Continuing to elevate his offensive abilities is an ongoing priority. 

"His conditioning is up there," Blanco said. "He's taking steps forward with his shooting touch. At this point in his career, it's tough to make those changes and make strides. But he's been getting a better stroke on the ball."

Thomas is dedicated and hard working. As evidenced last season, he's well on his way to proving himself reliable and versatile on both ends of the floor. As camp continues, there's plenty of focus on whether or not Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Brandon Jennings will remain healthy. But along with Jennings, Thomas is now part of the first line of defense for a relatively unproven bench. The Knicks need him.

As Blanco notes, focusing on the intangible aspects of his game, like how he moves, works out, etc., could go a long way toward ensuring Thomas allows himself to be a durable performer this season.

Tags: Lance Thomas , Keith Schlosser

New York Knicks point guard Derrick Rose addresses the media during the New York Knicks Media Day at Ritz-Carlton. (Andy Marlin)
New York Knicks point guard Derrick Rose addresses the media during the New York Knicks Media Day at Ritz-Carlton. (Andy Marlin)

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A judge on Thursday ordered lawyers handling a rape lawsuit against Knicks guard Derrick Rose to temporarily stop talking to reporters, faulting attorneys for actions that have raised pretrial publicity about one of the NBA's stars.

U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald said Thursday he was inclined to issue a longer gag order in light of pretrial publicity about the case, which has included interviews with Rose's accuser and her attorneys allowing a letter confirming a police investigation of her rape allegations to become public.

Fitzgerald told the woman's attorney, Waukeen McCoy, that his team's filing of the letter in the public court docket was "borderline unethical." He also said legal filings from Rose's attorney, Mark Baute, were tailored for the press and not to secure favorable rulings for Rose.

Rose is being sued by a 30-year-old woman who accuses him and two of his friends of gang raping her in her apartment in 2013. The woman, identified in court filings only as Jane Doe, dated Rose for two years before the alleged rape.

Rose and his friends contend they had consensual sex with the woman, who has said she was unconscious after a night of drinking.

She is seeking millions from Rose, who is beginning his first year with the Knicks after playing seven seasons for his hometown Chicago Bulls. 

Read the full version of this story at SNY.tv.

 


 (Trevor Ruszkowski)
(Trevor Ruszkowski)

Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek said the Knicks wouldn't hesitate to cut a player who has a guaranteed contract if the situation calls for it, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.

Begley noted that the Knicks have 15 players on guaranteed deals, meaning one player would have to be cut if the team wanted to keep a player on a partially-guaranteed deal.

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings are about as strong of a one-two punch at point guard as there is in the league, but the Knicks can't win on talent alone. Chemistry and stamina will come into play as well.

Obviously the aforementioned pair has had their fair share of injuries in recent seasons. New York can hope for the best, but some added depth wouldn't hurt. As camp continues, it should be considered a crucial need.

Hornacek suggesting the Knicks aren't afraid to shed a guaranteed contract confirms he's well aware (and in agreement) of this void at the one. The team's final roster spot should be up for grabs. With that in mind, Ron Baker and Chasson Randle are coming for it. It's either young gun's spot to win. Depending on how things shake out as camp progresses, it should be Marshall Plumlee or Maurice Ndour's to lose.

Each of the above big men may boast more intrigue and arguably even pure talent than a guy like Lou Amundson. However, Amundson's veteran contract costs more to let go, and the team appears to value veteran leadership and continuity on this roster. His tenure and seniority provides him with an advantage.

As far as Baker and Randle are concerned, Randle is more of a pure point guard. Similarly to Rose and Jennings, he ikes to penetrate, which can open things up for those around him on the floor. Potentially subbing him in, if need be, would allow the Knicks to execute the same style of play. It'd be nice to see him play well in camp and the preseason and really make a run at this final spot.

A higher level of competition this time of year is very healthy, because it makes guys hungrier. Randle would obviously fit a more pressing need. Knowing that in itself could light the fire under guys like Plumlee and Ndour and force them to show everyone what they're made of. No one toward the end of the roster is safe, but that's how it should be.

Tags: Lou Amundson , Keith Schlosser

 (John Geliebter)
(John Geliebter)

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

I remember watching a Bulls playoff game a few years back and listening to Mike Breen completely describe all the positive characteristics of Joakim Noah. The one that stood out to me the most was his "spirit." Apparently to Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, that spirit wasn't worth keeping around anymore.

Reinsdorf made a comment about Noah while addressing the media at his Hall of Fame induction earlier this month in Springfield, Mass. Reinsdorf, never one to shy away from controversy or his feelings, may have been especially proud of himself that night and who could blame him? 

His explanation of the trade, which saw the Knicks part with Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant for Derrick Rose, revealed the Bulls' need for a starting center in Reinsdorf's estimation. He was referring to Lopez, not Noah, who did not have a fan in Fred Hoiberg and would sign with the Knicks weeks later.

It's not like Noah lacks for motivation, either, but when the chairman of his ex-team -- one that Noah gave every ounce of effort for over the course of his nine NBA seasons -- makes a statement that he's on the other side of the hill in terms of best basketball, you better believe Noah was listening. It's something he has taken to heart and admittedly the jab caught him off guard.

"It's alright. He's entitled to his opinion," Noah said Wednesday while meeting reporters after training camp at West Point.

"I feel like I have no regrets about my time in Chicago. I gave it everything I had. To me, that's all that matters. I know that I did everything I could for that organization. I thought it was a little bit of a low blow, you know? But at the end of the day, I have nothing but respect for that organization. I'm just excited for this new chapter in my career."

That new chapter includes Rose as well as Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, who played with Lopez last year.

The question of durability is one that will surround Noah for the rest of his career until he can prove he can play in 82 games, like Lopez did for the Knicks last year. What Noah lacks in total games played, however, is made up with intensity and overall leadership on and off the court that Lopez didn't bring. It's a role that Noah's teammates, including Porzingis and Anthony, are blown away by. The one thing that is clear about Noah thus far in training camp is his voice. Oh, and you're not going to outwork him. Ever.

"Joakim is a real leader, he always talks when he's playing defensively." Porzingis said. "He's telling me to talk and be vocal and help teammates. If us two are in the back of the defense and talking and yelling out things that's going to help out the whole team because we're the ones that see what's going on on the floor."

Anthony, who has taken heat here during his time with the Knicks for not being the vocal leader, is already hearing Noah on the floor and it's only been a few practices.

"He pushes you to go out there and compete every play. If not, you're going to hear about it. I think that's something we've been missing, this team needed, this organization needed and I like it. We like it."

The Knicks' defense has been the biggest component of the team to improve over the past two years, finishing 18th overall last year in defensive rating according to basketball-reference.com.

For the Knicks to go where they feel they can, Anthony is going to have to step forward defensively on every possession, whether he's playing the small or big forward spots in the lineup. He needs to continue to elevate his defensive game, which can be slow at times, in order for the Knicks to be a complete team unit defensively.

In the past, Melo has relied on teammates to help him and has taken that for granted. The addition of Noah should assist in Melo becoming a better individual defender as long as he listens to Noah, Porzingis and other help defenders. Those factors should lift the Knicks into the top half, and maybe the top 10 in the league overall.

It's clear Noah's motor is running the back-end of the defense, and judging from his response to Reinsdorf's comments, has added more fuel into it.

That's good news for Knicks fans.


 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek was running a lightning-quick version of the triangle during practice Wednesday, reports Marc Berman of the NY Post.

Meanwhile, Phil Jackson watched from the sidelines "in silence," according to Berman.

"It's just easier buckets,'' Hornacek said, according to Berman. "If you have to grind it out all the time … it's great if you can do that, and we want to be a team that can do that at the end of games, execute plays. But if you get six easy buckets pushing the ball, it's a big advantage.''

According to Hornacek, there will be options when running the system.

"It's still reads, you pass it here,'' Hornacek said. "Talking to our guys about it, they like that. If you're a talented guy and like basketball, you'd like to have those options. You don't want to be a robot. I think maybe the previous teams were trying to learn it, run it and trying to do it right. Phil always stressed to me you got to let them be creative."

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

This is aligned with what we've said here about Phil Jackson giving Hornacek creative licence to run Modern Triangle. The Knicks were absolutely atrocious last year in transition on both sides of the ball and this is a big step in the right direction.

Success there lies first and foremost with the duo of Kristaps Porzingis, who Derrick Rose plans on making run, and Carmelo Anthony, who was the target of run-outs all season long. If Anthony and Porzingis can speed up and get easy baskets, the Knicks will safely win at least 10 more games (depending on health) because of it.

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

To say Jackson "watched from the sidelines in silence" could potentially be misinterpreted. Perhaps the executive observed without interfering. Such a laid back mannerism likely stems from the communication already flowing between he and Hornacek.

Hornacek gained familiarity with the triangle as a young player, but as a coach, he obviously prefers a more run-and-gun style. He's used to playing an uptempo pace. Some believe Jackson is opposed to such a mentality, but perhaps all that is needed is continued communication.

If Jackson and Hornacek are on the same page, they can put forth a united front. While they may collaborate (through agreements and disagreements alike), it's not worth either one stepping on the toes of the other in front of the team in a public setting.

If Jackson has thoughts as to how to improve things, he can approach his coach privately. In turn, Hornacek is likely to be more receptive. As he takes Jackson's feedback to heart, he'll continue to have more freedom as well. This is surely a two-sided relationship. Jackson isn't likely to pressure Hornacek as the dictator so many make him out to be. Communication is key, however. As a result, the Knicks have the opportunity to capitalize on an especially blended offense.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Kristaps Porzingis , Keith Schlosser

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) sits on the bench during the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the United Center. (Mike Dinovo)
Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) sits on the bench during the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the United Center. (Mike Dinovo)

Newly acquired Joakim Noah said he and his Knicks teammates now have a singular goal this season -- beat LeBron James and the Cavaliers. 

Noah, who signed a four-year contract with the Knicks this summer, is looking to get New York back into the postseason for the first time since the 2012-13 season. Noah and teammates Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose have never beaten James in a postseason series. 

"That's definitely the goal," Noah said of beating James, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News "It's definitely not an easy task but that has to be the mindset. We all know what it is. Right now it goes through him. It goes through that guy. For us to get to where we want to get to we have to beat that guy."

As for Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who said Noah is not a premier center anymore, Noah said he is looking forward to moving on with the Knicks. 

"He's entitled to his opinion,'' Noah told reporters. "I feel I have no regrets about my time in Chicago. I gave it everything I had. To me that's all that matters. I did everything I could for that organization. I thought it was a little bit of a low blow, but at the end of the day I have nothing but respect for that organization. I'm just excited for this new chapter of my career."

 


New York Knicks point guard Derrick Rose addresses the media during the New York Knicks Media Day at Ritz-Carlton. (Andy Marlin)
New York Knicks point guard Derrick Rose addresses the media during the New York Knicks Media Day at Ritz-Carlton. (Andy Marlin)

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

With all that's going on off the court as a result of his personal life, Derrick Rose can escape onto it and in talking to reporters after yesterday's first practice, it's pretty clear that he's a big fan of what he sees from his teammates, particularly Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony.

Assuming Rose plays this year for the New York Knicks, the former Bulls point guard is looking forward to the new style and system that he's playing in already. Rose was astutely asked by The Wall Street Journal's Chris Herring about similarities between the two offenses and more specifically the commonalities of Pau Gasol and Porzingis. Rose believes there should be more chances for touches for Porzingis, especially if he runs the floor.

"It should be a lot more," Rose told reporters. "With KP and how young he is, I'm going to make him run. What is he 18?"

We've talked about how Rose and Pau Gasol clicked in an impressive way last year mainly running pick and pop leading to many wide open Gasol shots from mid range. Gasol found himself the main target of Rose's early offensive decisions as Joakim Noah was relegated to the bench and then shut down due to injury. Rose assisted on 100 of Gasol's made field goals (22%) and Rose thinks that can be more with the younger Porzingis.

"He's going to have to run. I'm going to always find a way to get him the ball. I'm not selfish at all. With the Bulls I had to learn how to score in so many crazy ways because I had to adapt to the league. Coming here I have so many options. With KP he can pop, he can post, he can pass. He's very talented, I can play with him in many ways."

It seems that Rose, the Knicks quarterback as we speak, is already embracing the "Modern Triangle" that Jeff Hornacek is building. He sees so many different chances to score, not just with Porzingis, but with Anthony as well - a player who he wants to win for

"You think of Melo on the other side of the court we can run 1-3 pick and roll, 3-1 pick and roll then give it to him in the post. There are so many options with just those two players it's kind of scary when we get everything clicking." 

Those not familiar with "3-1" pick and roll can revert to this past summer with the Team USA. Think about Melo's two-man game with Kyrie Irving and the game plan of trying to get Melo transition, early shot clock three point attempts that the Knicks captain embraced in a big way.

Knicks fans are certainly anxious to see how the team comes together and judging from Rose, the key to maximizing production of the Knicks offense, it would appear as if he's liking what he sees thus far. 

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony addresses the media as point guard Derrick Rose looks on during the New York Knicks Media Day at Ritz-Carlton. (Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony addresses the media as point guard Derrick Rose looks on during the New York Knicks Media Day at Ritz-Carlton. (Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports Images)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

Carmelo Anthony recognized the newly-acquired Derrick Rose's explosiveness and ability to open things up for those around him at Monday's Media Day.

"I've never played alongside a guy like Derrick," Anthony emphatically said.

And Rose undoubtedly has the ability to make things easier for Anthony.

On Tuesday, talk of how Rose could complement Anthony on the court continued.

"This is his team," Rose said, according to the New York Post. "In practice I'll push him and be on him when he's being lazy and vice versa. There's no bad blood. I'm just here to help him win."

Perhaps an even more pressing goal, more than the one of putting a strong product on the court, is making such optimism last as long as possible. In past years, certain things have bursted the Knicks' collective bubble relatively quickly. Injuries to players like Jose Calderon and Arron Afflalo proved to hit the Knicks hard early on in camp. This made playing well right off the bat a difficult thing to do. Rose and Brandon Jennings are undoubtedly injury prone, and the team doesn't boast much depth beyond the pair at point guard as it is. Joakim Noah, who has missed time due to a personal manner, is also coming off an injury-plagued campaign.

As Oct. 4 looms, so does Rose's forthcoming trial on rape charges. While Phil Jackson was cavalier about the matter on riday, Rose said he's prepared to miss time if necessary on Monday. Having a player associated with such a situation is not good for the Knicks' attempt to create a positive culture and winning mentality.

However, there's optimism in the air, and with good reason. The Knicks not only boast a much improved team, but their most talented and capable coach in three seasons. It's up to Anthony and head coach Jeff Hornacek to keep this team afloat early on. That may sound easy to do, but things happen very quickly. It's not hard to succumb to early injuries, letting them linger and effect the team's ability to get into an early rhythm. The Knicks have had that happen before. 

Should Rose miss time due to the trial following a strong training camp, New York will need to learn how to overcome such an absence with ease. It's up to Hornacek to assure the team maintains a certain quality of play and isn't dependent on Rose's contributions so early on. This is where versatility and resilience comes in. The upcoming trial won't be a shock, so New York can plan ahead and learn how to rely upon others. 

During the Olympics, Anthony's strength centered around his ability to motivate, relate and bring big personalities together around a common goal. His teammates loved him. In New York, he'll have to get guys to trust each other, all the while staying positive no matter what hurdles may come. If the team must jump over them, Anthony needs to guide the group in doing it together. 

There may be optimism in the air, but Anthony will play a big role in uniting this team and seeing to it that the honeymoon phase lasts as long as possible. 

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Keith Schlosser

New York Knicks guard Courtney Lee addresses the media during the New York Knicks Media Day at Ritz-Carlton. (Andy Marlin)
New York Knicks guard Courtney Lee addresses the media during the New York Knicks Media Day at Ritz-Carlton. (Andy Marlin)

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

In the third part of the series, which has seen us take a look at Kristaps Porzingis and Joakim Noah, it's time to take a look at a player we've talked about a bit here and who promises to be a key factor in the Knicks success this year, Courtney Lee.

With the addition of Lee, combined with the resigning of Lance Thomas, the Knicks feel very confident that they have two, perimeter "glue" guys who can stretch the defense out to the perimeter creating space for their most explosive offensive players. While Lee isn't overly explosive, he may just be the most important offensive player for the team.

I guarantee there will be times this year when you're watching the Knicks thinking "something's missing" if they are giving up guard penetration on defense or they go a few minutes without scoring a basket. We'll call this The Lee Efffect.

Lee is a terrific perimeter defender, especially at the two guard spot (just ask Dwyane Wade), and he's a player adept at stopping the ball from being driven into the paint. Lee is very adept in closing out on three point attempts as 5.3 of 8.8 (60% frequency) field goals attempted against him last year were two-pointers per NBA Stats. That tells me he understands how to contest and force the defender to put the ball on the ground to take a harder shot on the move. Of those 5.3 two-point attempts opponents shot 45.9%, a difference of -1.5% than their average field goal percentage from two.

Impressive stuff.

The Knicks were improved at defending the three point line last year and figure to be better with Lee in the fold off the ball. The Knicks, who leapt 10 spots in overall defensive rating finishing 18th last year ranked dead-last in defending the 3-point line in 2014-15. Last year they were 7th overall in the league at 34% per basketball-reference.com. The Knicks as a team have made great strides in improving defensively and, in adding Lee, should only improve if (stop me if you've heard this before) he can stay healthy.  

Lee, 30, played 79 regular season games last season and in his career has played in a total of 50 playoff games so he's battle-tested. In 2014-15 Lee played in 77 games for Memphis starting 74. Overall, Lee has played in 600 NBA games and has logged 16,396 minutes. During that time, Lee has managed to turn himself into one of the game's most efficient and effective 3-point shooters, particularly off the catch. 

 

Lee isn't a high-volume shooter and hopefully won't have to be, which should make him a better fit here than Arron Afflalo was last year. Afflalo at times was absolutely terrific for the Knicks and they will miss him, but what they get from Lee is less volume but solid production. If Lee is asked, due to injury or any other personnel issues, to do more then that means the Knicks roster is depleted. Lee is the perfect 4th or 5th option, but there will be moments where he'll have to carry more of a load, which will negatively impact his efficiency while increasing his points per game. He's a big shot maker and a player who will be arguably the most important player that needs to consistently remain in the lineup on both sides of the ball.


New York Knicks guard Courtney Lee addresses the media during the New York Knicks Media Day at Ritz-Carlton. (Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Knicks guard Courtney Lee addresses the media during the New York Knicks Media Day at Ritz-Carlton. (Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports Images)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

With Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah garnering the most attention and respective headlines, Courtney Lee has flown relatively under the radar as a promising new acquisition for the New York Knicks.

But with all this talk surrounding an overall elevated effort on the defensive end (spearheaded by Noah), Lee is still key. He provides that depth, and certainly stands tall as someone who has never shied away from guarding an opposing team's best player. The acquisition of Rose (and his larger expiring contract) channeled plenty of money into the point guard position. This shifted the team's roster needs rather quickly heading into the offseason. Instead of a dynamic scorer like Arron Afflalo, Lee is a much better fit for the new-look Knicks as a more versatile 3-and-D guy,.

Carmelo Anthony had some high praise for New York's new shooting guard.

"A guy who nobody is really speaking about is Courtney Lee. I think he's going to be a great addition to this team," he said during Monday's media day availability. "He's a guy who can come in and do all of the little things, do multiple things out there on the basketball court that a lot of people don't talk about."

As far as Lee is concerned, he already has some lofty goals for himself and the team. He knows the expectations should be high, but doesn't appear intimidated to embrace them.

"I think that can be a goal we can set for ourselves," he said of the Knicks standing as a top 10-15 defensive team in the league. "I think we have the potential to be a good defensive team.

"I just think with the talent on our team, we rank amongst the best in the NBA," he added. "It's on us to build that chemistry."

The guard appears to have a good handle on what his role will be.

"Just going out there and competing on both ends of the floor, especially defense," he said. "If you go out there and get a stop and a steal, that leads to a fast break and excitement on the other end."

Lee has worked more on his long-range shooting this offseason. Now a part of the Knicks' fast-pace offense, he believes his touches and respective utilization on the offensive end will increase. And he's ready for such a challenge.

"One thing Coach (Jeff) Hornacek told me during the offseason was that we're going to run. I've been trying to get my wind up to the next level," Lee said.

The Knicks have been known to shy away from outlining specific expectations during Phil Jackson's tenure. Lee, however, has been brought here to fill a void and do a respective job. As he aims to ensure his contributions are felt, he appears to know what the most important end goal is as well.

"Hopefully," he said, "the outcome is making the playoffs, and then we'll go from there."

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Keith Schlosser

GEICO SportsNite: NY Knicks 00:01:56
Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony discusses the process of getting to know new teammates at Knicks media day.

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony discusses the process of getting to know new teammates at Knicks media day.


New York Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis addresses the media during the New York Knicks Media Day at Ritz-Carlton. (Andy Marlin)
New York Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis addresses the media during the New York Knicks Media Day at Ritz-Carlton. (Andy Marlin)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

Despite all of the considerable upgrades the Knicks made this offseason, Kristaps Porzingis arguably remains as their most valuable asset.

His continued ascension and some added maturity are two things that suggest his sophomore season will be a special one. But even more so than his physical attributes, an increased awareness around the NBA lifestyle will help him become an even more grounded and balanced player overall. 

"[I know] what to expect now. This season is long at 82 games. I know how it feels --- the back to backs and four games in so many nights," he said during media day on Monday. 

Porzingis talked about adjusting to the rigorous NBA schedule and the daily expectations and commitments that come with being a player in The Association. After moving to Spain at the age of 15, the young gun said moving to America wasn't as difficult at this stage in his life. Still, despite all that he heard from others while attempting to prepare for the demands of the NBA, it hit Porzingis hard rather quickly. "When you experience it in your own skin, that's when you know it's real," he added.

Just as he is ready for another season, opposing defenses will sure be ready for him this time around. Porzingis lamented that the second half of his rookie year was more difficult for him as opponents became more aware of his abilities. Recognizing that teams tried to make him "uncomfortable," Porzingis declared, "I'm ready for tougher defense and to make stuff happen (on offense)."

Along with an increased on court intelligence, Porzingis has also gained a better idea of the necessary training regiments of an NBA player as well. "Last season, I made a little mistake. All I did was work on my upper body and try to get bigger. This offseason, I focused on my lower strength, my legs, and my core," he revealed. "I made sure that was strong because that'll give me the strength to hold my own defensively and offensively as well."

With new coach Jeff Hornacek looking to push the pace a bit more, Porzingis is not only ready to run, but potentially play the five a bit more than last season. "I worked on my post game a lot. I'm not sure how much we're going to use me as a post player. My ball-handling has gotten a lot better."

"It will benefit my game, playing the five," the big man asserted.

Of course, such minutes at center will presumedly only come in bunches when Joakim Noah is off the floor. The two are already getting along and Porzingis looks forward to playing with him. "[Joakim] wants me to talk more too," the sophomore big man said of his new teammate's expectations. The two can be vocal together.

His rookie campaign was undoubtedly a learning experience, but it's up to Porzingis to put all of this knowledge and exposure together and channel into a positive direction. The Knicks are depending on him to do so, and it's vital to their success. 

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis

New York Knicks point guard Derrick Rose addresses the media during the New York Knicks Media Day at Ritz-Carlton. (Andy Marlin)
New York Knicks point guard Derrick Rose addresses the media during the New York Knicks Media Day at Ritz-Carlton. (Andy Marlin)

Latest Update

Derrick Rose could miss time on the court due to the civil case, which is set to begin in Los Angeles on October 4, the point guard told reporters on Monday.

The Knicks are scheduled to play their first preseason game on the same day in Houston.

"I'm not worried about it, but if I do have to miss time, that's a part of it," Rose said. "Of course, I don't want to be in this position, and I'm going to let my lawyers and let my team handle it."

Previous Reports

The Knicks will let "the due process of the justice system" play out regarding Derrick Rose's upcoming civil trial, team president Phil Jackson said Friday.

Jackson said the team was hopeful the trial wouldn't impact Rose's season.

When asked whether the team investigated the rape allegations before trading for Rose, Jackson wouldn't comment.

Earlier this month, a federal judge again refused to dismiss the suit, which claims that Rose and two friends drugged and gang-raped a woman after breaking in to her home.

Rose has denied the allegations.


 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

The Knicks held their Media Day on Monday. Here are the highlights...

  • Carmelo Anthony said there hasn't been this kind of excitement around the Knicks since he's been here.
  • Anthony noted he had "no idea" what kind of offense the team was going to run.
  • Courtney Lee said with the talent the Knicks have, they could be among the best teams in the NBA.
  • Lee added that Derrick Rose looked like the MVP-caliber Rose during their summer workouts.
  • Kristaps Porzingis said he developed his ball-handling skills during the offseason.
Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Kristaps Porzingis

 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

This past offseason, one of the Knicks' primary goals was clear: find support for Carmelo Anthony. As fate would have it, in their opening press conference on Friday, Phil Jackson, Steve Mills, and Jeff Hornacek all talked about something else as well.

New York has certainly surrounded Anthony with more talent, but it's up to the star forward to elevate his game that much more. The front office doesn't appear to be taking that for granted.

"We talked a little bit with Carmelo about things that haven't changed in his career; the number of foul shots he's getting when he goes to the basket, his ability to complete around the basket, finish in the lane, etc. He hasn't received the same amount of respect as to what's going on around the rim," Jackson pointed out.

Anthony has never been one to benefit from "star calls" from NBA officials over the course of a given contest. As such, he attempts to fight through the contact. When he fails to overcome such an obstacle, Anthony gets visibly frustrated, and understandably so.

"Much of it is said that he creates the contact, so he's not getting the call. So what's going to happen there?" Jackson pondered.

Jackson talked about ensuring Anthony makes an effort to take higher percentage shots. Hornacek added that attempting to get shots up quicker may also contribute to the solution. The head coach also regarded his new star as a "great passer," asserting that it'll come down to Anthony trusting those around him. The Knicks made upgrades for a reason.

"Once these guys learn to play with each other, trust each other, and make extra passes, that way they'll share the ball and there will be shots for everyone," Hornacek said.

With strong guard play from Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings, there will be less pressure on Anthony to bring up the ball. Instead, he can attempt to fill the lane a bit more, and that's what team brass prefers.

Change is sometimes an intimidating thing, but as far as the Knicks are concerned, they're in a good place with Anthony. He's kept an open mind.

"He's a very receptive guy, especially if he thinks it'll help him improve," Mills said.

The Knicks can only hope this translates into a successful season, with Anthony leading the charge and setting a strong example for others.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Keith Schlosser

All eyes will be on Derrick Rose when the Knicks open camp Tuesday. (Mary Altaffer/AP)
All eyes will be on Derrick Rose when the Knicks open camp Tuesday. (Mary Altaffer/AP)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

 

With training camp primed to get underway Tuesday here are five of the more pressing questions facing the Knicks entering this season.

What impact will Derrick Rose have?

As splashy as New York's acquisition of Rose was, that's how big the question mark surrounding his contributions truly is at this point. His health is a concern, but following a 66-game campaign last season, perhaps his ability to stay on the court is trending in the right direction.

More uncertainty looms over his level of play. As Rose regains his health, can he inch closer to the more dominant player he once was? If not, will last season's numbers (16.4 points on 43 percent from the field and 4.7 assists) be enough to help the Knicks? Competing at a high level will be key, but it also remains to be seen how his forthcoming trial play into the team's schedule. That's not the type of dark cloud they want looming over their season, especially so early on as they embrace a more positive culture.

Will Joakim Noah remain healthy?

If things go south with Rose, the Knicks can cut their losses and escape without too many bruises. His contract expires next summer, so they won't be on the hook.

That's not the case with Noah, however. The decision to sign him to a lucrative $70 million, four-year contract has already been met with criticism. Following a 29 game season, many wonder if Noah's body (and his level of play, for that matter) will hold up over the course of his contract. Reeling him in for this long, and for that much, is a risk.

His signing, however, is further proof that the Knicks are committed to winning sooner than later. If healthy enough, Noah's acquisition will pay big dividends. He's a physical player who does all of the dirty work down low. A seemingly perfect complement (and mentor) to Kristaps Porzingis, Noah's court-vision should open things up for New York on offense as well.

Is there enough point guard depth? 

Health and off the court issues aside, Rose is a massive upgrade from what the Knicks have had at point guard over the last two seasons. Pairing him up with Brandon Jennings (who has started 416 out of 460 career games with a 15.5 point per game average) makes the position a newfound strength for the team.

Despite a skillful 1-2 punch, the rigorous NBA season typically demands three floor generals in a team's depth chart. This should bode especially true for the Knicks, given the pair's injury history.

Following a strong Summer League, Chasson Randle could certainly be the answer. There's an outside chance he makes the roster out of camp, but more possibilities could arise when January (and the ability to sign players to 10-day contracts) arrives. If need be, New York could always make a move and sign a veteran guard midway through the season as well.

If Phil Jackson fails again, then what?

So far into his tenure as Knicks president, Jackson boasts two losing seasons, one of which stands as the worst in franchise history. This summer was met with a variety of moves, featuring upgrades at multiple positions and an experienced head coach. On paper, one would be hard pressed to deny the Knicks look ready and able to end their three year playoff drought.

Should this season result in yet another failure, where will Jackson go from there? Will he resign from his post and leave the Knicks hanging? If Jackson decides to see things through, he'll be met with decisions surrounding contracts the team has committed to, including Noah, Carmelo Anthony, Courtney Lee, Lance Thomas, etc. If things don't work out, Jackson will have a hole to crawl out of. That's even further proof that the time to win is now. The pressure is on.

How high is the ceiling for Kristaps Porzingis?

At just 21 years old, some have been quick to declare Jackson's initial first-round draft selection as a budding superstar. Following some awing individual performances, a strong freshman campaign, and a runner-up finish to Karl-Anthony Towns for the NBA's "Rookie of the Year" award, there's no doubt the future is bright for this shooting star. How high can he go, is the question.

In addition to high, how soon will Porzingis fly is another question to ponder. Should he make significant strides this coming season, will it be enough to dub the youngster Anthony's true right hand man and sidekick, over the likes of Rose and others? Porzingis' continued ascension will play a big role in what the Knicks do, both in the near future (competitively speaking) and the somewhat distant future (seeking improvements during next summer's free agency period).

The Knicks know Porzingis has the ability. This season is about building up a greater level of consistency and versatility while proving to be all the more dependable as a central piece of the team.

Bonus: How will Jeff Hornacek's tenure begin? 

 There's no denying that Hornacek was a surprise selection for the Knicks' coaching vacancy, given Jackson's track record and past preferences. Nevertheless, it's tough to ignore Hornacek's experience as both a player and coach and his past success. There should be optimism surrounding the possibilities, especially when taking into account Derek Fisher and Kurt Rambis were the team's previous coaches. This is an upgrade.

 

Motivating the players and getting them to buy into his vision for success will be key. Resonating with Anthony, the team's resident superstar, and Noah, a newly arriving defensive anchor, will be most important. What's more, observing the continued growth of Hornacek's relationship with Jackson will be interesting. The two will need to get along smoothly.

Tags: Keith Schlosser

 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

While a hot topic during Phil Jackson and Co.'s press conference Friday was Derrick Rose's forthcoming trial, Jackson did manage to discuss the Knicks' overall potential.

The team made major improvements this past summer. They filled key voids. This offseason's recruitment period was different than in years past during Jackson's tenure. That's because instead of just playing the waiting game or attempting to fill holes with stopgap players, he had clear-cut goals and subsequent targets.

As he discussed them further, it makes sense New York had a solid offseason. Jackson outlined the aspects of his squad that needed upgrades, starting with "support for our stars," naming Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis.

Penetration: Going into the offseason, a much improved and quicker point guard was needed: someone who could attack the basket and open up opportunities for others. Looking at the summer's free agent crop, the options were slim to none. Jose Calderon's contract weighed the team down. But Jackson created his own avenue, executing the surprising trade for Rose (exactly the type of talent this team needs) and trading Calderon's contract in the process. Mission accomplished.

"[Carmelo] understands Derrick's explosiveness," Jackson said. "I think he's going to feel most comfortable allowing [Rose and Brandon Jennings] to do what they're best at."

That, of course, includes bringing the ball up and commanding an offense.

Rebounding and Defense:  Jackson rattled these two things off together as well. Robin Lopez was a revelation last season, anchoring the team's defense in all 82 games. With three years remaining on his ever-reasonable contract, Lopez seemed like the answer down low. But trading him for Rose shifted a void that needed to be filled, and in came Joakim Noah. Say what you will about his contract, but his instincts, intensity and physicality are all deniable on the defensive end.

Jackson praised Noah's vocal leadership, adding that his familiarity with Rose as a former teammate was something New York valued. An increased comfort level with one another was something the Knicks wanted their players to have. Jackson alluded to Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez being former teammates as well.

All in all, the summer's end goal was obvious, and on paper, it appears as though the Knicks accomplished what they set out to do.

"The level of talent on this team will lead to [Carmelo] thinking, 'I don't have to do everything,'" head coach Jeff Hornacek concluded.


 (Mike Dinovo)
(Mike Dinovo)

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

As Jose Reyes raced around the bases after hitting a game-tying, two run, home run for the Mets last night at Citi Field I received a great tweet from a loyal Knicks fan putting the moment into perfect perspective.

 

 

Energy is infectious to good teams and many times it can make all the difference when it matters most. When Reyes came back to the Mets, fans were skeptical of his issues off the field, but most were sure that he was finished on it. Boy, were they wrong.

Reyes, 33, has been nothing short of terrific for the Mets on the field and in the clubhouse -- where teammates are raving about him. It's his energy that gets the Mets going when they are down, and that's something that can't be quantified by sabermetrics.

So as the Knicks enter the 2016-17 campaign they also do so with a fiery, energetic player in Joakim Noah -- a player who has as strong a "motor" as the league has seen since Dennis Rodman. Ask any NBA scout and they will tell you when evaluating young players coming into the league that "motor" is a huge factor when drafting a big player, and their immediate comparisons are to Rodman and Noah. That says it all.

Noah is relentless and that effort can send positive shockwaves throughout the entire team. It can lead players to new levels and it made Noah the fan favorite in Chicago for nine very successful years.

Yes, Noah has his own version of "The Dunk" in Chicago.

In terms of expectations I know what you're thinking: He's not the same player at 31 years old that he was at 28, and you're right. But the reality is for the Knicks to be as good as they can be, Noah doesn't have to be an MVP candidate. What he needs to do is pace himself and listen to his body to ensure he plays around 2,000 minutes this year plus playoffs.

I believe in large sample sizes and if you factor the average number of total regular season minutes Noah played in the eight prior years (2,026), the expectation for 2,000 minutes is very reasonable. In those eight seasons, Noah averaged 68 regular season games.

While it's easy to be worried about last season's production in terms of on-court statistics, there's no need to deviate far from the projected 2,000 minutes and 68 games played. Noah was never the focal point of the Bulls' offense under Tom Thibodeau and, to be fair, it was clear he wasn't Fred Hoiberg's type of player. That happens when coaches change jobs in basketball. Noah should fit in very well with Derrick Rose, as the duo had some incredible moments in Chicago.

Let's start on the defensive end because the Knicks saw their most positive step last year there, going from 28th to 18th in defensive rating per basketball-reference.com. A big reason for this was the leap in rebounding going from 29th to 10th overall.

A realistic expectation for Noah from a defensive rebounding perspective based off 2,000 regular season minutes is 414 total rebounds, which would amount to 6.1 defensive rebounds per game. In total, Noah has averaged 641 total rebounds per season, which would amount to 9.4 in those 68 regular season games. Robin Lopez averaged 7.3 rebounds per game while playing in all of the Knicks' 82 games last season.

Adding a player of Noah's caliber to a team that already has a strong rebounding core led by a now dedicated Carmelo Anthony (7.7) and Kristaps Porzingis (7.3) on the glass allows for Noah to do his job, and that's bring energy and effort. The Knicks have capable offensive players, and Noah and Courtney Lee will be asked to do all the little things to help the team win games.

Noah's biggest weakness, besides being injury prone, is that he struggles to finish shots around the basket. I expect that to be a given and it will pose a real problem when playing against teams that want to push pace and get out in transition.

The Knicks were an atrocious transition team last year and Porzingis and Anthony together are a slow duo. A banged-up Noah missing baskets at the rim can really put the Knicks at a disadvantage in transition, and I expect the league to figure that out pretty quickly.

As far as his contract, let's put this into perspective. Noah is currently the 35th highest-paid player in the NBA. Let's face it, by the end of his contract, he may not even be in the top-75 based on the growth trends in the NBA. Teams pay for rebounding because, like motor, it's a commodity.

It won't take long for Noah to make new fans, and in many respects he already has. But he also has his doubters who want to marry him to a long-term, big money deal.

Some things are hard to put a price tag on and in my opinion, motor and energy are definitely two of them. If Noah can have a pretty manageable "average" year, the Knicks will be a much better team for it.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Kristaps Porzingis

The Knicks certainly paid a pretty penny (four-year, $72 million) to acquire Joakim Noah this past offseason. His health is a cause for concern, which puts the contract he signed (and New York's decision to offer it) into question.

However, as far as actual basketball is concerned, it's tough to deny his potential to help his new team, if he can stay on the court.



"It's an expensive price, but I like his tenacity and defensive communication skills, coupled with his passing ability," former Knicks coach and current ESPN commentator Jeff Van Gundy said on Anthony Donahue's 33rd and 7th podcast for the Stashed.com

"When you have a front-court of [Carmelo] Anthony, [Kristaps] Porzingis, and Noah, I think the fit will be there because Noah sacrifices offense," Van Gundy said, continuing to sing Noah's praises. "He tries to free people for shots with the pass and with screens."

It's refreshing to see such an educated and insightful basketball mind focus on the positives with regard to Noah, who is a versatile player with the potential to help the Knicks on both ends of the court. New York had a desperate need for someone to serve as their defensive anchor. Robin Lopez was a solid player, but even he isn't as intense and/or vocal on the court as someone like Tyson Chandler was, the last time the Knicks made the playoffs. Noah can step up in a similar way and his presence will undoubtedly be felt.

Because he's such a physical presence on defense, his contributions on the offensive end are underrated. Noah is a very skilled passer. He's an unselfish player with good vision, which will create opportunities for his other talented teammates.

In the midst of a summer where the climate of the NBA economy changed drastically, no one would have thought twice about the contract Noah received if this were following the 2014-15 season instead. Through the first eight seasons of his career, the big man played less than 64 games just once. Obviously appearing in 82 games is the goal, but players aren't as durable as they used to be. Furthermore, the expectation to play every game is no longer there with rest days and modern strategies to keep star players fresh towards the postseason.

For reference purposes, from 2007-2015, Noah appeared in an average of 67.9 games per season. Anthony, the team's resident star, appeared in a lesser average of 66 games per season during the same span. Because Noah is a defensive minded player who asserts himself rather physically down low, one could argue that his body takes even more of a hit over the course of a given campaign than Anthony's. Even so, that's still somewhat difficult to judge.



The main thing to remember here is that not as many people shown concern over Anthony's health. That same concern wasn't as prevalent with Noah before this past season. That's because with the changing NBA landscape, playing 65+ games is acceptable.

As Van Gundy alluded to, the Knicks paid an expensive price for someone coming off a 29 game season. They did not, however, overpay for someone with Noah's credentials over the course of a career. A number of big men signed surprising contracts this summer.

Where else was that money going to go? The Knicks could've made a more serious run at Dwyane Wade, taking money from Noah's contract (as well as Courtney Lee). But, even if they did, New York would've still been thin when attempting to sign a competent center. This team needed a defensive anchor much more than another scorer.

Phil Jackson and his staff made it work. They have good balance on paper. The Knicks could have saved money and waited until next offseason. Thankfully, they want to win sooner than later. And, if healthy enough - if he can play in roughly 60-65 games - Noah will help them do that.

Tags: Keith Schlosser

 (Mark D. Smith)
(Mark D. Smith)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

Every season, NBA fans quickly become infatuated with their team's respective bench warmers. This comes from the enjoyment of rooting for an underdog and seeing someone whose story resonates with even the more casual fans succeed.

There's a certain intrigue around the 15th or even 16th man (a player who just narrowly misses out on making the roster) because there's still plenty of potential to uncover.

Knicks fans especially have truly had a special interest in players who serve as the cherry on top of the roster. Unfamiliarity with said players is exciting, because it creates an opportunity to learn more about them. In a market like this, such passion could be double-sided.

Everyone remembers the "We want Herb!" chants for Herb Williams at the end of games during the '90s. Nevertheless, the hatred surrounding Chris Smith's spot on the team, and the confusion around the over-utilization of wings like James White and Sasha Vujacic in recent years, has been very real.

As the Knicks enter another training camp, such passion could once again be channeled in a more positive direction this time around. Though his contract is guaranteed, Maurice Ndour will still need to fight for his spot on the team with plenty of intriguing prospects around. 24 years old, the forward first came onto New York's radar following a very positive Summer League showing in 2015.

Ndour undoubtedly needs to develop a greater level of consistency in his game. When he gets going, however, there's plenty to like.

He can put the ball on the floor quite impressively for a big man. He reads the defense well and knows when to attack the basket or fade away for a jump shot. He's not the most polished player, but the instincts are there. This means once his skills get even further along, he'll understand how to use his talents to his advantage.

This all may take some time, which is why Ndour could ultimately be edged out for another youngster in the weeks to come.

Still, after the Knicks failed to offer him the necessary money for a deal last summer, he signed with the Mavericks. An injury derailed his hopes of making the opening night roster. Subsequently playing in Spain wasn't exactly what he thought it would be. The playing time wasn't there, and Ndour wasn't able to shine.

The season may have gotten away from him, but there's little denying that he is the one that got away from New York last offseason. This campaign is a chance at redemption for both parties.

This is an opportunity to see his development through the right way. Can he ultimately help the Knicks? Will he show more flashes of that 2015 Summer League greatness? That remains to be seen.

But after a securing a guaranteed contract, Ndour could be more motivated to to play out the year in the D-League (with the Westchester Knicks), should New York still pass on him for the opening night roster. Either way, he'll be an easy guy to root for.

Tags: Keith Schlosser

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As training camp approaches and the ensuring preseason games commence, all eyes from critics will be on a narrative that depicts an overbearing and obsessive Phil Jackson peering over the shoulder of new coach Jeff Hornacek to make sure he's running The Triangle, something he's already implemented in his own philosophy.

We got the chance to speak to Coach Nick Hauselman of BBallBreakdown.com, who did an amazing breakdown of Hornacek's offense in Phoenix two years ago on The Mid Range Theory Podcast. We talked about the trend in the NBA of the dribble-drive-attack style in spread form and how Hornacek and Portland's Terry Stotts, one of the game's underrated basketball minds, may just be creating the perfect offensive system for today's game (listen at 30:25). 

"There is a flow there and there is a lot of triangle-ish stuff already built in and that's the key. It's the same with Coach Stotts in Portland where there's a flow and options to keep moving," Hauselman said. "The thing I'm interested more about with Hornacek is that he dealt with a team (in Phoenix) in the end it became very difficult to manage. He had to treat them like a hight school team."

Hornacek, who blew Jackson away at their first meeting as Jackson inched towards hiring Steve Mills' former teammate David Blatt, comes to New York with a plan in place that fits the system and roster Jackson put together this summer. Jackson's obsession over The Triangle is an idea driven by critics as he has repeatedly referred to a preferred "system of basketball" that Hornacek shared. Hornacek seemingly has the perfect offensive system for today's game.

Their connection is what solidified the job for the ex-Jazz great, who enters his first year in New York following a roller coaster two and a half years in Phoenix. His tenure there was full of some overachieving highs and underachieving lows that ended with a locker room so disconnected that a change had to be made during the season last year.

From a pure basketball standpoint, the Knicks won't run much "traditional" triangle. Considering it's a fixture of most-all solid NBA offenses, which supplants Jackson and more directly Tex Winter's place in NBA history as it is, there will be some characteristics. There will be early entry passes to the high pinch post from guards with an emphasis on cutting, space and movement off the ball. You'll see the occasional quick-hitter.

There will be end of shot clock isolations for Carmelo Anthony and there will be mid range actions to isolate Kristaps Porzingis mid clock so he can expose mismatches. But the reality is that the "Modern Triangle" Hornacek brings is a combination of today's pick-and-roll game with Derrick Rose triggering the offense from the top of the key in a 1-4 spread early in the clock with the safety of Anthony and Porzingis post isolations on the back end of the shot clock if early action is foiled. It will be dribble-drive based at times, especially in transition, with kick-out potential to Courtney Lee, Lance Thomas, Anthony, Porzingis and Mindaugas Kuzminskas, something that was literally non-existent last season.

But this will not be the slow, plotting offense that has plagued the Knicks, especially in transition, during the Jackson era. There's a trust factor that's already building as the team currently works out together and it all begins with their new head coach. 

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Kristaps Porzingis , Lance Thomas

All eyes will be on Derrick Rose when the Knicks open camp Tuesday. (Mary Altaffer/AP)
All eyes will be on Derrick Rose when the Knicks open camp Tuesday. (Mary Altaffer/AP)

Derrick Rose is optimistic about the Knicks' chances this season. In an interview with the NBPA's Jared Zwerling, the guard called his new employer "the most talented team I've played on."

The season hasn't even begun yet, so surely that's a rather bold statement. Still, on paper, things look promising. Rose is a former NBA MVP, and he comes to the Big Apple once again teaming up with a former Bulls teammate in two-time All-Star Joakim Noah. Add in an already established star in Carmelo Anthony, a budding one in Kristaps Porzingis, a "3 and D" guy in Courtney Lee, some scoring pop off the bench in Brandon Jennings and a solid glue guy in Lance Thomas (among others), and this is a very talented group at first glance.

Things obviously have to come together, and that takes time. New York has to account for chemistry, be prepared to overcome potential injuries and hope that everyone buys into new coach Jeff Hornacek's vision. Though Rose's Bulls stood atop of the Eastern Conference twice over the course of his tenure, they reached the Conference Finals just once in eight seasons. There are many factors that play into potential success, and sometimes they don't all work out for the best.

Rose said he worked with trainer Rob McClanaghan to adjust to the triangle system, and in their workouts together, worked on drills off the pinch post and pin-down screens. McClanaghan, according to Zwerling, envisions the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Rose as more of a ball handler to get more touches in the post.

There's no doubt Rose and others were acquired to help provide Anthony with the ample support he's needed for years. Rose still firmly believes playing with the Knicks' resident star will make him better as well.

"I think [Anthony]'s going to make the game way easy for the entire team," he said. "And that leaves everybody open on the other side, the weak side. You add shooters to that, you add just other threats on the floor, and you're going to be a dangerous team. And my job is to just come in and just be a point guard.

"So my job is to come in and get everybody going, then have my spot where I can try to dominate the game."

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Kristaps Porzingis , Lance Thomas , Keith Schlosser

Stanford Cardinal guard Chasson Randle (5) dribbles the ball up the court during the second half of the game against the South Dakota Coyotes at Maples Pavilion. (Ed Szczepanski)
Stanford Cardinal guard Chasson Randle (5) dribbles the ball up the court during the second half of the game against the South Dakota Coyotes at Maples Pavilion. (Ed Szczepanski)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

The signing of Lou Amundson brings the Knicks' roster to fifteen guaranteed contracts, giving the team a complete group of players. With that in mind, youngsters like Chasson Randle, Ron Baker, and JP Tokoto all stand even less of a chance at making the squad out of training camp. Their partially-guaranteed contracts are paid out as motivation for each one to stick around in the D-League for a lesser salary than they could net by going overseas. The exposure and experience they receive in NBA camp, coupled with the unofficial signing bonus, serves as an incentive to head to the minor league soon after.

Topping off the roster with Amundson, rather than leaving the spot open for one of the prospects to earn instead, indicates that New York is content with the roster as is. But that still doesn't mean it's absolutely impossible for a youngster to swoop in and impress team brass beyond belief. Should someone like Randle, Baker, and/or Tokoto make so much noise and a glowingly positive impression in camp and pre-season, it'll be difficult to ignore. As it is, all three players had relatively respectable showings for the Knicks in Orlando Summer League. They've all shown potential.

They might be on the outside looking in, but there's no doubt they could very well nip at the heels of both Maurice Ndour and Marshall Plumlee. Each big man was signed to a guaranteed league minimum contract of $543, 171. The plan is to have them both on board. Still, should either one struggle enough, biting the bullet on that contract is much more sensible to do than it would be on Amundson, a seasoned veteran with a higher minimum rate. What's more, it'd be much easier to convince Ndour and/or Plumlee to play in the D-League, whereas New York would lose out on Amundson completely. He wasn't signed to potentially be waived following camp. The Knicks can assume the risk of doing so with Ndour/Plumlee. After all, playing in the minor league after receiving a $543, 171 payday wouldn't be a bad gig.

Nevertheless, New York will cross that bridge when/if they get to it. Randle, Baker, and Tokoto all have to play extremely well to garner the type of consideration that would force the Knicks to lose money on another player. Still, it's a good debate to have. Competition is healthy, especially during camp.


New York Knicks forward Lou Amundson (21) in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. (Bill Streicher)
New York Knicks forward Lou Amundson (21) in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. (Bill Streicher)

The Knicks have agreed to a contract with F Lou Amundson, the team announced on Monday.

While terms of the deal were not disclosed, sources say it is a one-year, fully guaranteed contract, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.

Amundson has appeared in 70 games over the past two seasons for the Knicks, averaging 4.3 points and 4.2 rebounds in 15.2 minutes per game.

Amundson was originally acquired by the Knicks from Cleveland on Jan. 5, 2015 as part of a three-team trade. 

 

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

This type of move is to be expected. With fourteen guaranteed contracts, the Knicks obviously had room for one more player to assume a spot on their roster. It makes sense to see a veteran like Amundson be awarded this final guaranteed spot, rather than giving a young prospect an opportunity to make the roster instead.

Camp invitees like Chasson Randle, Ron Baker, and JP Tokoto could all develop just as well in the D-League with more playing time and dedicated attention. What's more, giving one of these three players a shot to make the big league club would have also left the team's minor league ranks a bit thin.

Amundson is a high energy guy with plenty of hustle. More importantly in the case, he's a well respected locker room guy who fits right in and doesn't complain. His return not only adds to the continued elevated team culture, but roster continuity as well.

That said, the team now has a plethora of fringe big men making up the end of its bench. Despite being on guaranteed contracts, it wouldn't hurt so much to bite the bullet and waive one, if someone else comes in and impresses team brass instead.

Tags: Lou Amundson

 (Anthony Gruppuso)
(Anthony Gruppuso)

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

Let's rewind back 12 months ago, when basketball fans and people alike wondered what the Knicks had in a 7'3 rookie named Kristaps Porzingis. We saw the videos and we heard from the experts, but we really couldn't get a handle on Porzingis until he stepped foot onto an NBA floor.

I set very modest expectations heading into last season. I felt if Porzingis could play in 60 or more games while averaging around 15 minutes per game that would be a great introduction and one that would assure his skinny frame would hold up to the rigors of the NBA marathon.

I felt in those minutes he'd score some points and make a few threes and he'd average around 6.5 points per game and a handful of rebounds. The results from Porzingis and the confidence shown in him by the organization blew me away. With more and more responsibilities given to him as the season progressed, he proved to be more than up to the test. It was amazing to watch on a nightly basis and a star was born.

So as we head into his encore campaign, you will hear the standard narrative of a potential "sophomore slump" and other "typical Knicks" things put out by critics. I'm expecting Porzingis to step forward in his rebounding and overall shooting efficiency, as he won't settle for as many shots this year.

With the additions of Derrick Rose and Courtney Lee offensively, Porzingis will still be a focal point and will be urged to exploit mismatches and take shots in single coverage, but he won't have to force shots when double teamed. Porzingis and his young legs were at their collective best at the back end of back-to-back games (think at Atlanta and at Miami in early January) where he had a net rating of 8.8.

Looking at Porzingis' shooting stats, there are some really telling signs of superstardom and amazing things to come. How much better he is this year all depends on where he's getting his shots from and who he is directly playing off of.

Last year, Carmelo Anthony assisted on 60 of Porzingis' 373 made field goals, second only to Jose Calderon's 67. In comparison, Rose assisted on 100 of Pau Gasol's 467 made fields goals last year. Expect Porzingis and Rose to combine in a lot of pick-and-pop situations that should create easier looks for Porzingis, who projects to make well over 400 field goals if healthy with a player of Rose's caliber helping.

In terms of unassisted field goals, or what I like to call the shots that separate good from great offensive players, Porzingis tallied 122 unassisted field goals made. Of his 886 field goal attempts, 278 came in the mid-range. And when you consider that 46 percent of his attempts came between 15-7 seconds on the shot clock that tells you Porzingis had a fair amount of one-on-one isolation opportunities where he was comfortable in his matchup and able to convert the shot.

Judging from his shot chart, he's already a very accomplished catch-and-shoot maker who can also isolate mid-to-late in the shot clock. That's an incredibly valuable asset in a player of Porzingis' size. His high-release point, great footwork, and range make him almost impossible to guard one-on-one.

In total, 36 precent of Porzingis' field goal attempts last year occurred when his defender was "tight" on him within 2-4 feet and he was able to convert 41 percent of the time. With a bit more space, that shooting percentage bumped up to 43.5 percent.

Having a more efficient shooter, Lee, on the perimeter, will help boost Porzingis' assist numbers slightly as well. While the offense last year wasn't predicated on Porzingis to facilitate, he did build some chemistry with Anthony, as he assisted on 26 of Melo's 567 field goals made.

Porzingis can also can be sneaky in the Triangle. He is at his best when isolated or popping off screens in catch-and-shoot situations, which aren't conducive to piling up assists. That said, having Lee, Lance Thomas and Mindaugas Kuzminskas should create skip-pass opportunities should Porzingis draw more double teams if the Knicks decide to put him in more low block post up situations.



Another stat that jumps out a me when analyzing his shooting and scoring efforts last year was Porzingis' overall number of dunks, bank shots and hook shots and how he already has such an amazing arsenal that comfortably stretches past the three-point line.

We know about the put-backs, but he only attempted ten of those all season -- converting six. And his 52 dunks on the year were not within the top 50 in the entire league. That's a direct indication that he needed to get stronger closer to the basket, as he's more of a pick-and-pop player without much pick-and-lob to his game. Expect those numbers to increase as his leg strength does.

He made 22 of 49 hook shots (45 percent) and shot a ridiculous 61 percent when using the glass, making 36. It's not a stretch to say he may be the best bank-shooting big man since Tim Duncan, who tortured the NBA (and the Knicks in the 1999 Finals) during his time in the league.

In the end, and assuming he stays healthy, Porzingis figures to moderately increase his production in his second season, while increasing his overall efficiency significantly. He should pair well with Rose in his comfort zone, which is catch-and-shoot off pick-and-roll as well as continue to exploit matchups mid-range and closer in isolation situations. He'll also extend himself with more consistency to the three-point arc with the help of Rose's elite driving ability.

I expect his PER to be in the 18-20 range and his impact estimate (PIE) to be near 15. If he can reduce the number of settled shots, while taking 15-to-18 quality shots per game, Porzingis can inch his way toward a 20 point, 10 rebound average, making him an All-Star for the first time in just his second year.

However, if he continues to settle and get pushed out to mid-range at a similar frequency to last year, he won't progress to that level, but will still project to take a solid step forward in his sophomore season.

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis

Future Knicks teammates Willy Hernangomez, left, and Carmelo Anthony, middle, got to know each other during the Olympics when Spain played the U.S.
Future Knicks teammates Willy Hernangomez, left, and Carmelo Anthony, middle, got to know each other during the Olympics when Spain played the U.S.

One of the more exciting things during NBA training camp is when position/rotation battles begin to unfold. An array of new players (especially in the New York Knicks' case) normally calls for opportunities for different players to earn their keeps. It's a chance to see what each respective player is made of.

As New York fills out its second unit, Lance Thomas and Brandon Jennings would appear to be locks for consistent roles and minutes. After shooting 43 percent from deep through 27 games with Chicago last season, fourth-year veteran Justin Holiday should get a legitimate opportunity to earn playing time as well. As for the big men, perhaps returning player Kyle O'Quinn has an inside track. Even so, he shot a career-low in field goal percentage and put up the weakest numbers (including minutes per game) since his rookie year across the board. The Knicks chose not to depend on him too heavily, so there's no guarantee things will change drastically this coming season.

Thus, there may be an opportunity for one of the team's younger bigs to step up in a much needed way. Wily Hernangomez, Marshall Plumlee and Mindaugas Kuzminskas are all on guaranteed contracts. Of course, receiving playing time could come down to varying matchups over the course of a season. They all have different (and respectable) skill sets to offer.

With professional experience abroad and in the Olympics, perhaps Hernangomez has gotten the most legitimate exposure out of the bunch. He's physical inside, isn't afraid to throw his body around to box out for boards and to pester defenders, and can run up and down the court pretty well. An even more rugged big man, Plumlee plays with a very unselfish mentality and has an exceptionally high basketball IQ. Widely regarded as a potential replacement for Derrick Williams, Kuzminskas is a versatile forward who can shoot well from deep. Perhaps Maurice Ndour is the biggest question mark of all, but he has potential on both ends of the floor. Signing him, and seeing this opportunity through, is arguably more about righting last season's wrong of letting him go, more than anything else.

The team's prospective starters and dependable role players higher up the bench have seemingly carved out obvious roles and the necessary minutes that go along with them already. But for the foursome, the opportunity to write their own respective stories is wide open. They'll need to battle one another, grind it out and prove why they deserve the remaining minutes.

It'd make sense to give Hernangomez the edge. Each prospect is rough around the edges for different reasons, but he's the most proven, versatile and arguably polished of the group. Phil Jackson is motivated to prove the value of last summer's second-round draft selection. The front office wants to see Hernangomez succeed to validate their own decision-making process.

Such a battle for playing time across the board will make the early goings of camp very interesting.

Tags: Kyle O'Quinn , Lance Thomas , Keith Schlosser

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) high fives forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) in the first half against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. (Jennifer Stewart)
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) high fives forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) in the first half against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. (Jennifer Stewart)

On Saturday, Kristaps Porzingis spoke rather optimistically about the Knicks' potential this coming season, Still, he also recognizes the type of toll being part of the team's struggles had on his rookie campaign.

"Last season helped me grow because we lost and that's a lot to take mentally," he lamented (New York Daily News, September 17).

Phil Jackson's number one priority over the course of his Knick tenure has been attempting to instill a winning culture/mentality. Such an effort is obviously still a work in progress. Things need to change from top to bottom. It takes time. What's more, there's no denying that when a player, coach, or entire team gets in a prolonged rut, it's difficult to climb out of. Failure can become an unfortunate familiar concept.

Carmelo Anthony knows that all too well. New York has missed the postseason in each of the last three seasons, amassing just an 86-160 record. While he recently won big and conquered all as a member of Team USA, one has to wonder whether he can carry such a mentality back with him to New York. There's reason to hope, but no guarantee.

Perhaps with all of this in mind, Anthony and Porzingis can learn how to rise above and be resilient together. While the three-time Olympic gold medalist has served as somewhat of a mentor to the Latvian youngster, they'll have to support each other in order for the Knicks to finally cross this bridge. It'll be a learning process for them both.

Anthony has struggled to carry the Knicks back to greatness. But with a new coach, different teammates, and the continued maturation of Porzingis, things should come much easier. Nevertheless, it's a lot easier to drag a team down than it is to be the catalyst that helps build them back up.

For Anthony, the grind to end this losing battle is still just as challenging (and arguably still just as ripe) as it is for Porzingis. Thus, they have an opportunity to realize success and overcome last season's failure together.
Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Kristaps Porzingis , Keith Schlosser

 (Gary A. Vasquez)
(Gary A. Vasquez)

Kristaps Porzingis, speaking at his basketball camp for children in Westchester, said the goal for the Knicks this season is to get back to the playoffs. 

The Knicks, who have failed to make the playoffs since the 2012-13 season, finished last year at 32-50 and 13th overall in the Eastern Conference. 

But with the additions of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Brandon Jennings, the Knicks are looking to improve upon last year's finish. 

"Obviously, the No. 1 goal is the playoffs this year," Porzingis said, according to ESPN New York's Ian Begley. "That's where my head is at." 

As for Rose's "super team" comment earlier in the summer, Porzingis said the Knicks still need to prove they can compete on the court. 

"That shows his confidence, one, that he believes in us," Porzingis said. "I don't know what's a super team and what's not a super team but what I think he meant was that we're able to win every game. Not that we're going to win 82 games, zero [losses]. But every team that comes up, we're able to beat them because we have enough talent."

Porzingis also noted how he likes the energy that he believes Noah will bring to New York. Noah is coming off a 2015-16 season in Chicago that saw him limited to just 29 games because of injuries. 

"He's great, I love him," Porzingis said of Noah. "The first conversation we had, I was in the training room, he came in with his shirt off and I was like, 'Oh man you've been working out.' He's a really cool guy and we just started talking about the season and I told him everybody's excited.

"This is a big year for us. And we kept on talking and he just got so intense, like he really feels it, like he was like, "Yeah man this is a big opportunity, we've got to give it our all." That's the type of guy that we want on our team. He brings that good energy."


Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

With regard to Joakim Noah, there are questions about his health and whether or not he'll ultimately live up to the generous contract awarded by the Knicks.

One thing not in doubt, however, is his intensity level. New York is in desperate need of someone who carries himself that way. Noah is certainly an assertive rebounder. He plays with physicality and serves as a very intimidating presence down low.

As he sets that certain tone, hopefully this same level of play is infectious, especially to his frontcourt mate Porzingis. It should be noted that Noah is a hometown guy and is going to take pride in making the Garden crowd roar. He grew up watching some of the more defensive-minded teams of the Knicks' recent past, so he's had plenty to learn from.

While he's undoubtedly valued most for his defensive efforts, Noah's passing ability is a very underrated skill. He has great vision for a big man, can find players around the perimeter from underneath the basket and can even put the ball on the floor a bit.

As far as Porzingis is concerned, what's there not to love about his new teammate?

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis

 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

During Derek Fisher's coaching tenure, Phil Jackson attempted to give him room to breathe, be independent, and make his own decisions.

Concerned about stepping on his Fisher's toes, Jackson essentially allowed him to make mistakes. What's more, he failed to make an impact in places the Knicks could have benefited.

Jackson is still in the process of changing the team's culture. While only time will tell if his vision for success comes to fruition, New York certainly looks much improved on paper.

But alas, the team didn't hire him for his team-building skills. He has overall basketball expertise, and that includes communicating with players on the court as well.

As shown on Twitter, Brandon Jennings paired up with Jackson.

Arguably the greatest coach in sports history, there's plenty Jennings can learn from the Zen Master. Jackson should assert his presence even more this coming season since the Knicks need all hands on deck.

Training camp hasn't started just yet, but players are actively involved in voluntary workouts. It's nice to see Jackson lend a helping hand this early on.

Tags: Keith Schlosser

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

My favorite article of the new NBA season has become Sports Illustrated's Top 100 player ranking. I don't love overall team and conference rankings because they tend to be very subjective, but the basis behind the methodology of SI's Ben Golliver and Rob Mahoney does a terrific job of delicately balancing a player's role within a team while being individually in-a-vacuum. 

This year's edition also provided proper context, thankfully, when evaluating Kristaps Porzingis.

Let's face it, there is no bigger vacuum than in New York, and that often shapes the way a player is viewed by many -- including fans and media. It's something I've fought against for years.

In talking with Golliver on our FanSided NBA podcast The Mid Range Theory, it was great to hear that the evaluation of Porzinigis lacked any outside noise that existed from a perceived drop in performance after the All-Star Break.

"Once we actually looked at the numbers we thought that some of the talk of Porzingis'' 'fall off' after the All-Star break was a little bit media driven and not totally accurate," said Golliver, who ranked Porzingis 68th, directly behind Minnesota's Andrew Wiggins.

"Maybe some of his brightest and best moments came earlier, but he had a really, really nice rookie season."

It's clear to see that some in the national media are really taking a fair, hard look at the Knicks' prized big man and they are liking what they are seeing, which hasn't always been the case in past years.

One thing that hurt Porzingis, according to Golliver, was the idea that they weren't sold that adding Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose -- two players surprisingly left off the top 100 -- would help Porzingis' development.

"He (Porzingis) actually would be have been higher if any of the Knicks' offseason moves had really, clearly benefited his game. Outside of maybe Courtney Lee, who is going to give you some spacing and create some opportunity to work where he wants to work we just had questions about the Noah and Rose moves."

Perhaps the biggest question mark heading into the season is just how Rose will fit with Anthony and Porzingis. Rose's defensive struggles last season were one of the big reasons he was left off the Top 100, according to Golliver, and Noah's departure is part of a trend that has included Tyson Chandler, Roy Hibbert and Tiago Splitter. The questions surrounding Noah were extensive and fair.

"We had to take a bunch of older big guys off the list because of either injury issues or ineffectiveness or the changing nature of their games," Golliver said.

"There is quite a bit of variability when it comes to big guys. …It really could not have gone worse for (Noah) last year in terms of the injury issues and the relationship with Fred Hoiberg. We had concerns of what he is an offensive player. He's not having that sort of defensive impact like he did when he was an MVP candidate. Is he going to be able to hold up? How much are they going to ask of him?"

In the end, I believe Noah and Rose to be Top 100 NBA players and I think the rankings of Carmelo Anthony and Porzingis are completely fair. The questions surrounding Rose and Noah are valid and will need to be answered by the ex-Bulls over the next few weeks.

Perhaps the biggest reason I love the Top 100, aside from it being well-reasoned and extremely well thought out, is that it signifies we're less than three weeks away from the start of camp, where all these questions will be answered.

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis

Derrick Rose (Nelson Chenault/USA Today Sports Images)
Derrick Rose (Nelson Chenault/USA Today Sports Images)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

Many Knicks followers like to say the 1990s stand tall as the team's modern-day prime. Though New York has gone without an NBA championship in over 40 years, the '90s featured two Finals appearances. As the more recent squads have aimed to recapture the golden age of yesteryear, their past (successful) identity is undeniable. 

Such teams were consistently paced by gritty players who exuded determination, physicality, a dedication to defense and an unselfishness on offense. Players of all positions were prevalent, but there's no doubt that the Knicks' floor generals helped set a certain tone.

Greg Anthony. Derek Harper. Charlie Ward. Chris Childs. Mark Jackson. None of these aforementioned players were all too flashy, nor were they very gifted athletically. That said, each one found their niche by carrying themselves with hustle on both ends of the floor. They put their teammates first at all times.

As he enters his first season in New York, Derrick Rose could learn a thing or two from his predecessors. 

Rose has certainly been blessed with greater God-given gifts and respective physical talents. Things will come easier for him if he's healthy. Of course, for a player like him, staying healthy is not only a difficult thing to do, but it's the name of the game. Above all else, Rose's main goal this coming season should be remaining on the court for as many games as possible. If he does, all else will fall into place.

With that in mind, Rose won't necessarily be expected to be as explosive as he once was at the very top of his game. There's no doubt Carmelo Anthony needs support on the offensive end, but Rose won't be depended on to carry this team. There's not as much pressure to score the basketball, either. 

Instead, if Rose can penetrate to the basket, all the while keeping his eyes open for teammates around the perimeter, his ability will benefit the Knicks immediately. Serving as a threat and putting pressure on the defense will, in essence, create more opportunities for those around him. Being unselfish, serving as a potential decoy, and cutting through the lane are all things that will make Rose a valuable player.

Rose is known for his dynamic scoring. However, should he post an assist number close to his career-average of 6.2 per contest, it would represent New York's highest assist leader since Chris Duhon (7.2) back in 2008-09. That alone is telling as to how much this team is in desperate need of someone with vision and an ability to keep opposing defenses on their toes. The versatility to be able to score, but also comprehend when it's time to get teammates involved, is so crucial. 

Sharing the ball with those around him will not only make Rose's teammates better, but himself as well. Being unselfish on offense is one way to find success. On the flip side, Rose needs to hustle his butt off on defense. There needs to be an elevated effort and an awareness never to take plays off. His intensity on this end of the floor has wavered at times, which can make him a liability. As other successful point guards in New York have proven, doing all of the little things can make more of a difference at times than making a big splash.

These are all things Rose needs to keep in mind as he aims to be successful. Attack the basket, use your teammates, be open minded, and dedicated on the defensive end. These things may be second nature for some players, but for Rose, it's a matter of keeping the pressure meter as low as possible. He'll make more of an impact this way than attempting to be a dominant scorer. 

Tags: Keith Schlosser

 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

Knicks F Carmelo Anthony is ranked No. 24 on SI.com's Top 100 NBA Players list.

F/C Kristaps Porzingis ranked No. 68 on the list.

Writes SI's Ben Golliver about Anthony:

"Anthony remains a dependable scorer in isolation, in the post and when using screens. Last season, he seemed to deemphasize his long-established alpha scoring mentality in favor of a more distribution-minded approach. As a result, he averaged four assists for the first time in his career, and his 21/7/4 stat line was matched in all three categories by only three players: James, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook."

Anthony, 32, averaged 21.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 4.2 assists in 72 games last season.

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

As Anthony gets older, it makes sense that many of the NBA's up and coming star talents surpass him in terms of potential, if not also overall skill and stamina. Perhaps even more crucial at this point is the fact that such athletes also have a greater/longer window of opportunity to win big. Anthony's clock is ticking and the pressure is mounting. These can't be easy things to cope with.

Anthony's ability to remain healthy over the course of an entire season has wavered in recent years. That said, if he can continue to keep his head above water at the 70+ games plateau, he and the Knicks can probably afford to stay afloat.

His career-high 4.2 assists from last season is an extremely positive development, as is the career-fewest shot attempts to reach 21.8 points per contest. He's becoming a more unselfish player overall while learning how to use and capitalize on the players -- and their respective talents -- around him. This is not only key to his ability to continue playing at a high level, but also the success of the Knicks as he grows older.

Luckily for Anthony, he'll enter this coming season with the most talented group on paper he's had in a while. What's more, as the evolution of Kristaps Porzingis continues, he'll have less pressure to carry the team and serve as the main attraction.

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

Based on what many perceive as Melo's "best" season metrically, No. 24 seems fair heading into the 2016-17 season.

When he's at his best, which we saw this summer in Rio, Anthony is still one of the world's best and most dominant players. If the Knicks have a strong season this year and Melo continues to assist Porzingis' development, I would expect Melo to vault near the top 10, where he was a fixture for years.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony

Derrick Rose shoots prior to the game against Grizzlies. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Derrick Rose shoots prior to the game against Grizzlies. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The woman who brought a lawsuit accusing NBA star Derrick Rose and two others of gang rape is leading two drastically different lives. 

She is the central figure identified only as "Jane Doe" in a made-for-tabloid case replete with unsavory details about the sexual relationship she had with one of pro basketball's biggest names and the night she says he and his two friends sexually assaulted her when she was passed out.

And she is a 30-year-old college student whose family knows nothing about her involvement with Rose or the lawsuit, which seeks $21.5 million. Keeping her Mexican immigrant parents, siblings and many nieces and nephews in the dark is critically important to her and gets harder as the Oct. 4 trial date looms and more attention is focused on the case.

Video: Will the Knicks receive the best of Derrick Rose?

"They have a sense something's wrong, but there's no way I can express to them or explain to them how I feel or what I'm going through," the woman told The Associated Press in her first media interview. "Having to think of alternative ways to communicate that pain is very stressful and it takes a lot out of you."

While she seeks to maintain her anonymity so she can continue a life out of the spotlight, Rose's attorneys want her name made public, believing it will help expose her as a fraud.

So far a judge has agreed her identity can be kept secret but a hearing Monday could change that >> Read the full version of this story at SNY.TV.


 (Trevor Ruszkowski)
(Trevor Ruszkowski)

Jeff Hornacek's daughter, Abby, opened up about her dad while speaking with Marc Berman of the NY Post.

"He's the most dedicated person I've ever met, most motivated," Abby Hornaceck said of her dad, who is entering his first year as Knicks head coach.

"After a game, he comes home and watches the game two times," she continued. "He really puts everything he has into it. That's what makes him really great."

Abby, who is a 22-year-old journalism major at USC, added that since he's a former player, her dad "understands what the players are going through." >> Read more in the NY Post


 (Bill Streicher)
(Bill Streicher)

Knicks F Carmelo Anthony has dropped his support for the controversial Crown Heights armory deal, according to the NY Daily News.

Anthony's foundation had been set to contribute money for the sports facility that was part of the project, which also includes housing.

Activists are against the deal, which they say will speed up the gentrification of Crown Heights.

Bertha Lewis, the founder of the Black Institute, which opposes the deal, said Anthony is their "hero" and that the project should be "scrapped," with the admininstration starting over.

Anthony, 32, is a native of Red Hook. Brooklyn.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony

New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) and forward Carmelo Anthony (7) laugh on the court during second half time out against the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden. (Noah K. Murray)
New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) and forward Carmelo Anthony (7) laugh on the court during second half time out against the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden. (Noah K. Murray)

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

There was a great read on Hoopshype on Tuesday that took a look into Derrick Rose and what to expect from the Knicks this upcoming season. Depending on how content finds you and who is producing it the Knicks are either a dumpster fire (they are the Knicks after all they figure) or they are a team that can threaten to win 50 games.

The reality is that, barring catastrophic injuries, they will be somewhere in between and they will make the playoffs for the first time in 3 years. But the question that was posed in the Hoopshype piece is: Is that the best case scenario?

"Ironically, being as good as Knicks fans hope may be a bad sign for the future. Say the Knicks win 47 games this year and Rose plays decently. Best-case scenario they re-sign him on a fair deal north of $10 million per year and maybe add one lower-level starter next summer and that's the team going forward while Anthony continues to age and the team slowly teeters out. In a few years, Porzingis is through his rookie contract and the Knicks haven't necessarily added young talent around him.

ESPN's RPM projections angered Knicks fans, but ending up with a mid-to-high lottery pick could be a blessing in disguise. The 2017 draft is expected to be loaded with point guard talent, and with a bit of luck Porzingis could end up with a pick-and-roll partner for the next decade."

Look, predictions are a necessary evil. We know this. Even the most surly of beat writers, can't wait to hear the basketballs bouncing in the gym of the team's practice facility in Tarrytown, a stone's throw away from the Hudson. What's best for this organization is to build around Carmelo Anthony AND Kristaps Porzingis moving forward and Phil Jackson has done that. Jackson said it to the press when introducing the new players on the team a few months back. They need to build a winning culture around the Porzinigis so he can experience and feel the positive energy around him so he can grow. That's the team's ultimate goal.  

That may sound like Jackson's patented hyperbole seeing that winning should be the goal for every team. But this Knicks team isn't on the cusp of a championship as its constructed today, so the question has been asked if it makes sense to position themselves for a better pick in what appears to be a loaded upcoming draft.

To me the answer is no.

In my mind what has been lost (purposefully?) by prognosticators is the number of games won by both Rose and Joakim Noah and the culture that they both are used to. Those Bulls teams, of which they were a major part of, were terrific. They competed every single night on both ends of the floor and came to work the next day looking to get better. Those teams were led by the two players who now don Knicks jerseys and who are bringing that culture and attitude with them and into the Knicks locker room. They will surround Porzinigis every day with messages of professionalism and the nuances of the game that he may not yet be familiar with. It's why Rose believes they will have a chance to win every night, which other people confuse as his belief they can go 82-0.

This season is about continuing to build a winning culture with modest expectations and I can't wait for it to get started.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Kristaps Porzingis

J.P. Tokoto looks to pass the ball during an NBA Summer League game. (Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA Today Sports Images)
J.P. Tokoto looks to pass the ball during an NBA Summer League game. (Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA Today Sports Images)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

New York Knicks training camp starts in less than two weeks. After a very eventful summer offseason with plenty of moves, it's finally time for things to get underway. Only time will tell if New York will be able to capitalize on new talent.

The team currently has 14 guaranteed contracts, with young guns like Chasson Randle, Ron Baker and JP Tokoto all set to compete for the 15th and final roster spot. Despite not having any draft picks this past June, New York certainly made an effort to stockpile young talent on the end of its bench. Intriguing players such as Marshall Plumlee, Willy Hernangomez, Maurice Ndour and Mindaugas Kuzminskas all have guarantees in the coming campaign.

With the season steadily approaching, it's been a bit surprising to not see the Knicks add another veteran or two in hopes of lighting the fire under everyone else. There are plenty of older players looking to revamp their careers or come out of retirement. They're hungry for opportunities and could very well go on to provide the team's prospects with helpful guidance. There's value in bringing such a player in, especially with all this youth and relative inexperience at the end of the bench. Perhaps that's why Sasha Vujacic was retained, but New York could use others as well.

Having just three players (Randle, Baker and Tokoto) on partial guarantees is a low number as well. Usually, a team stacks up on training camp invitees in the hope that whoever doesn't make the big league team can be jettisoned to the D-League to help bolster an affiliate like Westchester. This creates a stream of development, which is something New York has aimed to maintain before. 

This is why it would make even more sense for the Knicks to add a veteran (or simply, additional players, generally speaking) before camp begins. While Randle may have an inside track on the final spot following a strong Summer League, that's not certain. 

In the interest of maintaining some roster flexibility, New York could opt to leave the final spot open following camp. That would seem especially sensible if the aforementioned trio is all the team has to send to Westchester following camp. (Tokoto's D-League rights would need to be acquired by the OKC Blue.)

The Knicks genuinely have a lot of questions about their roster. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Still, going deeper down the bench, Justin Holiday is still relatively unproven. Vujacic has proven to be undependable in the past. From there on out, New York has four first-year players on guaranteed contracts, and three more on partial guarantees. 

It'll be interesting to see how things shake out. Taking all of this into consideration, there could very well be more moves ahead in the coming weeks. There's the possibility of another veteran coming to town. Additional young talent is also needed for the D-League team. Either way, the Knicks could be busy.

Tags: Sasha Vujacic , Keith Schlosser

New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) moves the ball during the third quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden. (Anthony Gruppuso)
New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) moves the ball during the third quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden. (Anthony Gruppuso)

Sports Illustrated has released the first part of their list of Top 100 NBA players of 2017, and Knicks F Kristaps Porzingis landed at 68.

Both PG Derrick Rose and C Joakim Noah were not ranked in the Top 100.

The top 50 players on the list will be revealed throughout the week, with F Carmelo Anthony sure to find himself somewhere near the top of the rankings.

The rankings were determined based on a combination of subjective assessment and objective data, including: per-game and per-minute statistics, splits, advanced metrics, play-type data and more.


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The Rose justification was what you'd expect, overly hyper-metric and speculative. There's nothing definitive stopping Rose from being one of the game's explosive, athleticly- dominant players from everything I've been told. His knee has received full clearance from the Hospital of Special Surgery in Manhattan, and Jeff Hornacek's offense will give him ample chances to succeed. Yes, that is speculation too, but two can play at that game. It's hard not to call Rose one of the game's top 100 players.

As far as Porzingis at 68, it would appear that Karl Towns is being placed in the top 50, which is aggressive. Towns and Porzingis are close in terms of overall impact and both have through-the-roof upside. Overall it's a fair ranking for the Knicks sophomore who looks to pair with Rose and Carmelo Anthony to form one of the game's best trios.


Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

The Knicks have always been considered underdogs when it comes to national rankings of any kind, and this year is no different.

Of course, they'll have Carmelo Anthony in the upper tier of players as this list continues to unfold. After all the improvements they made this summer, it's surprising to see none of their big time acquisitions make the cut.

A former MVP, Rose rebounded from his more injury-saddled campaigns of the recent past last season. Should he continue to build on that, he could very well catapult himself back onto the list next year. As far as this coming season goes, he has to a lot to prove. It seemed as though younger players, who are on the cusp of breakout seasons, were favored more.

Perhaps leaving Noah off the list is reasonable, considering the injury-plagued year he had. He, however, is a former top-five finisher in MVP voting, and could really garner some consideration (once again) as one of the top defensive players in the league if healthy. That, understandably so, is a big if. The big contract he signed, coupled with his health, are two giant elephants in the room. He and the Knicks will need to overcome them both.

All that in mind, it adds insult to injury that Robin Lopez sits pretty at no. 82.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Kristaps Porzingis

Carmelo Anthony guards Chris Paul during the NBA All-Star Game. (Bob Donnan (USA Today))
Carmelo Anthony guards Chris Paul during the NBA All-Star Game. (Bob Donnan (USA Today))

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

Since it is unquestionably the biggest elephant in the room, and likely the team's biggest distraction this year, let's get address it in September. The Knicks can clear enough money to sign Chris Paul, the Los Angeles Clippers' guard who is destined for the Hall of Fame that is set to become a free agent at the end of this season.

I know what you're thinking and I'm with you, but Ian Begley of ESPN got the ball rolling already so it needs to be addressed:

"The Knicks can also clear the point guard position altogether by renouncing both Jennings and Rose, which would leave them with approximately $24 million in cap space. In this instance, it would take only a minor move for the Knicks to put themselves in position to offer a max contract to a veteran with as many as six seasons of experience -- a deal that's projected to start at around $25.5 million in 2017.

New York also currently owns its 2017 first-round draft pick, which will likely impact its cap space in 2017 free agency. Assuming the Knicks keep the pick, it will count against the cap. The 2017-18 first overall pick's rookie-scale deal will start at roughly $5 million."


Like teammate Blake Griffin and other top-flight point guards that include Rose and Toronto's Kyle Lowry, Paul has the option to become a free agent this summer. Paul, a perennial All-NBA selection and close friend of Carmelo Anthony is always among the game's leaders in PER thanks to his ability to control the game on both sides of the ball. Like Anthony, Paul has struggled to get his team to the NBA Finals and this year probably won't be any different for the Clippers with Kevin Durant signing in Golden State.

While it's worth noting next summer's free agency class, it's important to remain focused on the 2016-17 season. Ideally, Rose and Anthony will mesh; giving the Knicks the decision to have a little negotiating power against Paul should he opt out. Best case scenario for Knicks fans would be an amazing comeback year for Rose and Paul to opt out of his contract to provide options moving forward.

If Kristaps Porzingis can make even greater strides this year it would make playing with Anthony that much more attractive for Paul, one of the game's all-time best pick-and-roll specialists.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

In an interview with SLAM, Derrick Rose discussed the continued adjustments he's making early on as a Knick acquisition.

"We know that we need each other and know that we can't anywhere without one another. It's all about us just coming together quick, jelling quick so that things can be smooth, Rose said of starting the season off on the right foot. "But in the beginning it may not be like that. It may be rough, but I think with the guys that we have and the talent that we have on the team, we'll figure it out."

For Rose, there's a lot of pressure to embrace and/or overcome. Of course, he's now part of the Knicks' potential solution to once and for all break free of their continued struggles and evident failures. On a more personal note, he himself has plenty to prove after multiple injury-plagued campaigns. It's not only a matter of if he can remain healthy, but even more so if Rose can return to a high enough level and compete.

If things go south, the Knicks aren't exactly on the hook with Rose's contract set to expire. Still, they did trade away Robin Lopez's very competitive contract and gave up on intriguing youngster Jerian Grant to acquire him. Thus, they're motivated to see Rose play well to justify the trade. As far as he's concerned, his respective level of play this coming season could very well dictate the direction of the rest of his career.

In a perfect world, Rose plays well, the Knicks make the playoffs, and the team tries to subsequently re-sign him to a longer contract next summer. Should that all fall into place, however, the former MVP would also presumably have more suitors after his services. Should he fail to come through, New York may opt to go separate ways, and who knows where he goes after that.

As such, there's the possibility that, one way or another, this could be a very short stop in his career. Clearly understanding that, Rose also said he's approaching the upcoming season as a "business trip." Interesting choice of words, but it does make sense.

It's great to hear him gush about Phil Jackson, however. Rose is obviously not a homegrown kid like Carmelo Anthony, but the fact that he's from Chicago and has a certain level of fandom for Jackson is endearing. 

"I can't believe I even got his number, bro. I'm from Chicago so his resume speaks for itself with Chicago people and we just know his history with the Lakers," Rose said. "If anything, me being the part of what he's creating, I think it should be something special."

Playing in the Big Apple is not only about finding success on the court, but capitalizing on everything else the city has to offer. That includes going to concerts, enjoying the culture and the outdoors, etc. As he alludes to, Rose is already enjoying that aspect of things. 

Rose isn't the kind of guy who expresses his feelings too openly in the public. Playing in New York, however, he'll be expected and pushed to shed some light on things a bit more. This interview gives fans an early taste of what he's about.

Tags: Keith Schlosser

Former teammates such as Tim Hardaway Jr. are gone, but Carmelo Anthony (7) still knows how to bring a group together. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Former teammates such as Tim Hardaway Jr. are gone, but Carmelo Anthony (7) still knows how to bring a group together. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)

"A Few good Men" A couple people missing. You get the point though. #AVeryMeloWeekend2016 #StayMe7o

A photo posted by @carmeloanthony on

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

Each and every September, Carmelo Anthony returns to Puerto Rico for his extremely charitable weekend. The annual event, fittingly entitled "A Very Melo Weekend," is all about the Knicks star giving back to the local community's youth and using basketball to do so.

At the same time, it serves as a tremendous opportunity for Anthony and his Knicks teammates, both new and old, to bond and train together shortly before the season starts. Anthony is a considerate host. With each passing summer, it seems as though the number of teammates who join him increases again and again.

As the picture from Anthony's Instagram account maintains, this summer's gathering stays true to that positive trend. Throughout his time donning orange and blue, there have been so many questions about Anthony's ability (and even his desire) to truly rise up and be the leader the Knicks need. Getting his teammates together (and so many of them, at that) in a setting like this for a few days is a very good sign. 

Of course, it's a increased opportunity for everyone to start working together and getting to know each other on the court. But with such a new group, it's equally as important to build that chemistry off the hardwood as well. Credit Anthony for spearheading this opportunity to build those trusting relationships and even reaching out to those of whom he has yet to share the court with. This can only lead to good things.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Keith Schlosser
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