The Word from Summer League

The SummerKnicks have a few practices under their belts, and all the media types in attendance are buzzing about a couple of young Knicks. Toney Douglas and Jordan Hill are making waves their first Knick practices while Danilo Gallinari continues his return from back surgery. Some reviews:

- It didn't take the beat guys long to realize that Toney Douglas can flat-out ball. Says Frank Isola:

When I see Toney Douglas he reminds me of another former Knick who wore No. 23; Gary Grant, who was a nutty and funny as any player the Knicks have had in the last 15 years.

But when he steps on the court, Douglas plays with passion, heart and has a defensive intensity the Knicks haven’t seen in the backcourt since one of Douglas’ mentors, Charlie Ward, was the starting point guard.

After watching a few practices, Douglas looks like an NBA player who will translate from the Vegas Summer League to the real thing.

I haven't read a word of doubt about Douglas from early on, so I guess that's something.

- Jordan Hill, meanwhile, got mixed reviews. Here's what Alan Hahn had to say:

But the Knicks have seen enough with the 6-10 1/2 Hill to believe he can eventually grow into being a "center" in Mike D'Antoni's system. His mid-range game, quickness and ability to run are the reasons why they want to develop him as such rather than as a power forward. The belief is that Hill can pull opposing bigs out to the perimeter and either shoot his jumper or blow by them with his quickness. I think that aspect of his game (putting the ball on the floor) certainly needs to improve before that becomes a legitimate part of his skill set. But he's young.

Again, especially if David Lee sticks around, Hill can take his time developing an offensive repertoire. If he can run a pick-and-roll and finish at the rim, he'll be able to hang. It's on defense that his size is sorely needed, and that's what I'm most interested to hear about and see this week.

- Danilo Gallinari isn't yet in game condition following the back surgery he had in April. That didn't stop the beat guys from dropping a few pause-worthy Gallo mentions, though:

Howard Beck:

In a gym buzzing with bright-eyed prospects, the most significant figure was a well-tanned spectator standing against the wall with his shirt off. Danilo Gallinari is weeks away from playing basketball, but he has never been more critical to the Knicks’ future

Hahn's Twitter:

As for Gallo, he is physically maturing. Rockin a Riviera tan. U know this dude cleans up at the club. LOL

Yikes.

A few other news items from Vegas:

- Patrick Ewing Jr.'s knee must be acting up, because he'll miss summer league. Hopefully he can still make it to Saratoga, but this seriously hurts his chances.

- Marc Berman finally answers the question that's been troubling me for weeks: Where the hell is Darko?

D'Antoni has high hopes for Darko Milicic but he's in Serbia where his wife gave birth and the Knicks probably won't get to work with him until close to training camp.

Too soon to make c-section joke, right? Think I just made myself vomit. Yup.

- Tonight's practice includes a visit from Eddy Curry, who touched down in Vegas this afternoon. He'll be watched closely by Knick staff, as his value as a player and an asset is still very much in question. Hahn's in attendance updating on Twitter as I write, and just posted the following:

Eddy Curry is on the court. OK he's not going to be mistaken for Jared Jeffries, but he is moving well. Just drills now.

We'll get to see this all for ourselves starting with Tuesday's game against the SummerGrizz. If you're around, check back here for a threads and recaps of all the summer league games. It's SKITA TIME!

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