If you've been watching New York's Summer League squad, then Landry Fields is your new favorite Knick. I'm certain of this. The 22 year-old rookie from Stanford has shown more and more of his skill-set in each of the SummerKnicks' three Vegas games. Fields isn't the most polished player we've seen, but he's hyper-athletic and smarter than the average bear. That rare blend of sense and athleticism gets him places: to the rim, to the line, and to loose balls and rebounds. While the rest of the Knicks have struggled to find continuity, Fields has scrapped his way to team-leading averages of 16.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2 steals per Summer League game, all while shooting 55% from the field.
Fields also happens to be just about the most approachable guy on the team, which, for a shy blogger like me, is a boon in the post-game media scrum. After each of the last two games, I was able to chat with Mr. Fields (which reminds me, I need to ask him whether or not his mom bakes cookies). Here's some of what he had to say:
On what position he sees himself playing:
Some kind of wing: two or three, and if I can get down there at the four with smaller match-ups, then I can do that too. Just trying to do all I can.
On what he hopes to improve with pro coaching:
"Everything’s gotta be a lot sharper. Up here, with the shot clock being as low as it is and the players as good as they are now, you’ve got to be real sharp with everything-- your cuts, your ballhandling-- and your shot’s gotta be a lot quicker. It’s kind of fine-tuning the little things that you need to do."
On playing "point forward" and bringing the ball up:
"I was doing that all in college my last year. The first game I was a little hesitant because I didn’t really know what the coaches expected out of me but as we play a little more, I’m more comfortable doing it."
"The system we have we wanna get out and run, so if somebody can bring it up and get it up quick, then they encourage it."
"It’s either gonna be 6 or 31. 6 because I had 31 all through my life and I had 2 in college, so if you add them up, 3+1+2=6. Or I can just go with 31, I haven't decided yet."
And while I couldn't get Fields to say he was "Landrier" than Marcus Landry, he had this to say on the name overlap:
"I think right now I'm Landry."
(Meanwhile, Marcus Landry, who hadn't seen many minutes at the time, told me that he was considering just entering the game when Fields' name was called.)
What Fields knows and we've come to learn is that he's incredibly versatile. The Knicks are picking up on this as well. When I asked him about Fields' multi-positional potential early in Summer League, Dan D'Antoni told me "He's a two." Yesterday, D'Antoni sang a slightly different tune:
"Landry can play where he wants to. He's pretty good."
Long story short, Landry Fields can play some basketball. Fields will have to work his way into a Knicks rotation that's well-stocked at the middle positions, but I think it's only a matter of time. There was plenty of outrage and disbelief when Fields' name was called on draft night, but the rookie is starting to hustle his way into our hearts, all the while proving himself to be the Landriest of them all.