This hasn't been 100-percent confirmed as of yet, but it certainly appears as if former University of Virginia big man Darion Atkins has been invited to Knicks training camp. Per Sheridan Hoops:
A 6'8 forward and four-year senior, Atkins was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013-14, averaging 7.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game for Tony Bennett's successful, almost inconceivably slow-paced Cavaliers squad. He put up 3.0 points and 2.9 rebounds per game in Vegas as a reserve forward for the Spurs, including a two-point, three-rebound performance (on 1-5 shooting) in a loss to the Knicks. Was he intimidated by Kristaps Porzingis? Impossible to know for sure (but definitely yes).
Perhaps the Knicks like what they saw from Atkins during the Portsmouth Invitational, where he was really given a chance to shine, per The Daily Progress' Whitey Reid:
In three games, he averaged 20.0 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.7 blocks and made the All-Tournament Team.
"He came in and just played solid," said NBA Senior Director of Scouting Ryan Blake. "He played like a veteran. Defensively and offensively — he opened up a lot of eyes for NBA teams.
"He showed touch, instincts, composure — everything. His field goal percentage was great. He showed a lot."
Added Jonathan Givony of NBA Draft Express: "He was really impressive. He was one of the best big guys there, without a doubt."
This kid sounds like another Lance Thomas, which seemingly hurts his chance at making the Knicks, as they have already signed the original Lance Thomas. This deal will give the front office the opportunity to stash Atkins in Westchester for the season, which is a good way to develop fringe prospects. If Atkins shows the Knicks something down in the D-League, they could always use more defensive-minded players down the road.
So welcome to Knicks camp, Darion Atkins! Please don't hurt Kristaps!