Hello! I am back in my apartment after a trip up to Greenburgh for Knicks Media Day. If you're unfamiliar, the Knicks do Media Day a bit differently than other teams. They had Phil Jackson, Steve Mills, and Derek Fisher take questions on Friday, then had most players rotate through a press conference table to take everyone's questions at once today. Here's what we saw and heard:
- Carmelo Anthony's been working at the training center for the last 3 weeks. He reiterated that his weight loss (which isn't, in my opinion, that apparent) wasn't all that deliberate-- just a product of beginning to train earlier in the summer than he used to and tweaking his diet a bit. He insists none of this has anything to do with playing small or power forward more.
- Melo repeated that choosing the Knicks over other, more established teams was "hard" and that "from a basketball standpoint" it "wasn't the greatest thing to do," but that he felt compelled to stay from a "personal standpoint." He used the words "patience" and "risk" a few times.
- Melo has talked to Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Scottie Pippen (among others it sounds like) about how to be great in the Triangle offense.
- Melo thinks last year's defense was "unacceptable" and specifically mentioned the Knicks were 24th in D overall, which sounds like a reference to defensive points/100. He also noted Jose Calderon's assist/turnover ratio when asked about him.
- Melo called Cleanthony Early a "steal." Melo laughed when Marc Berman asked him a three-part question about LeBron James in Cleveland.
- Amar'e Stoudemire was pretty short with reporters, but perked up at the suggestion that he might be able to get back to a regular 30 minutes per night. He said he's been working with Kurt Rambis on getting used to the Triangle, but didn't mention anything particular about his potential role.
- Jose Calderon admitted to being a little hurt after finding out he'd been traded, noting that he'd played a big role on that surprisingly good Dallas team and then wondered what he'd done wrong to get traded. (He said he quickly realized what a big deal it was to be headed to New York and got excited.)
- Jason Smith says he's healthy. Jason Smith says several coaches have told him the Triangle offense is "tailored" for him.
- Andrea Bargnani's elbow is fine now and has been for several months. He referred to the weight room as the "lifting room."
- J.R. Smith claims he didn't feel "all the way healthy" until the last 30 or so games of the season.
- While J.R. and Bargnani were talking, Cole Aldrich set up in a back corner for individual availability (they do that with some of the lesser players). I deeply regret that he had vacated his spot by the time I decided I might as well just ignore the conference and go talk to him. I'm grateful that Charlie Widdoes snapped this photo of Lone Cole before he departed:
- (Quincy Acy, Travis Outlaw, Samuel Dalembert and Orlando Sanchez also did fairly crowded private sessions over in the corner. Andrea Bargnani did a side thing with Italian reporters as well. The Italian guys all had really fancy pens.)
- J.R. dismissed the notion that the Knicks have a bit of a logjam at shooting guard. He referred to himself, Iman Shumpert, and Tim Hardaway Jr. as a "dynamic du-- trio" and equated their arrangement to a trio of running backs in football.
- While Jason Smith was talking, J.R. walked by and stuck his finger in his ear. While J.R. was talking, Jason went totally out of his way-- like got up onto the platform when it wasn't his turn-- to return the favor.
- Tim Hardaway Jr. said his task at Summer League was to focus on defense and being a vocal leader. Didn't mention heaving threes. Did mention watching YouTube clips of Kobe and MJ (someone asked him about that, I guess because of the Triangle and because he's a shooting guard).
- Reporter: "Cleanthony, what's it like to play so close to your hometown?" Cle: "I'm playing IN my hometown!"
That's it! The Knicks make sure media day is pretty bland and low-key, but it's always nice to see the guys together in uniform. They're already headed up to West Point where training camp will start TOMORROW. More to come.