In all honesty, Summer League doesn't usually excite me all that much, save for every other year when the Knicks have a draft pick to work out. However, this year's squad actually has me anticipating the games beginning this Friday. The current team has a nice blend of rookies, veterans, and some intriguing undrafted fellows.
Yesterday, the Knicks opened their practice to cameras and gave a glimpse of what they're working on. Some notes:
- A few things are noteworthy in that video. 1.) It doesn't look like Cole Aldrich is there yet, as the only tall white guy in the huddle at the end is Jordan Vandenberg. 2.) Thanasis Antetokounmpo is indeed there. My favorite part of the highlight was seeing him brick a corner three, get some second-try encouragement from Tim Hardaway Jr., and then can the second attempt with ease. 3.) We don't know what workouts/drills preceded it, but if Jeremy Tyler is doubled over after a halfcourt set in which he shoots an elbow jumper, he's got some conditioning to do. 4.) Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis khaki game*. 5.) SET THAT SCREEN, SHANNON BROWN!
- Speaking of Shannon Brown, Chris Herring spoke to him. Brown said he was excited by the opportunity to play in the Summer League, despite being an eight-year veteran, because he needed extra reps. He also confirmed something Charlie Widdoes wrote about: he can be a valuable triangle instructor to the other players. Brown will also help teach other forms of geometry to players who need it (cough, Jordan Vandenberg, cough).
- Cleanthony Early doesn't get much action in that highlight reel, but in his brief appearances, he looks rather slim. Like, slimmer than I had thought. He's gonna need to bulk up to play forward minutes in the NBA.
- Derek Fisher interview:
- I thought what Fisher said about some of the new acquisitions was cool. Particularly how he mentioned Jose Calderon is always calm and collected -- a trait Clyde surely will enjoy! -- and has a solid assist-turnover ratio, which I don't think I've ever heard a Knicks coach talk about before. Also didn't realize that Wayne Ellington played under Rambis in Minnesota, which is a nice jumping-off point.
- Fisher also notes that it was his choice to come to Las Vegas and coach the team.
- In general, Fisher is great with the media and gives nice, thoughtful responses. I think that'll change as he adapts to a season in New York.
- Tim Hardaway Jr.'s interview. Nothing really too special; he mentions he'll miss Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton, which is nice, but acknowledges he's bonding with guys like Shane Larkin and Cleanthony Early. At one point he gives off a hint of unabashed excitement when talking about the new coaching staff. He also notes he's working on lower body strength and getting better on defense and handling the ball.
- Larkin's interview. Again, nothing too crazy. I am excited that Larkin will get to play in Summer League this year, because he missed it last year with a broken ankle. Hopefully he benefits from the experience and can use it to make a good impression in training camp. I like Larkin.
That's about ti for now. The Knicks will practice again today, but I don't know if it will be as open this time around. Either way, games begin Friday!
*Extremely important shorts update from Seth: LOOK AT THIS