Twenty-four hours from now, we will be up to our ears in sound bytes regarding the 2015-15 New York Knicks. But why wait that long? There have been plenty of interesting Knicks-related quotes which have leaked out over the past few days. Treat this as your post-pre-Media Day roundup.
You'll be happy to know that president Phil Jackson is exploring any and all means to improve his club:
Asked Phil Jackson if he had any special requests for the Pope, who is performing mass at MSG tonight. "Bless the Garden?" he said.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) September 25, 2015
In less spiritual news, Phil is not yet ready to bury the old "Melo at the 4" debate:
"One of the reasons why we really thought Robin would be the best fit for us as a center was that it would allow us to be more flexible as a team and Carmelo can play more of a ‘4'," Jackson said on Friday. "As opposed to maybe a Greg Monroe who is not the same size, not the same defensive player."
The Knicks have had success with Anthony at power forward in recent seasons. Last season, they outscored opponents by 5.7 points per 48 minutes when Anthony played power forward, per 82games.com. They were outscored by 7.2 points per 48 minutes with Anthony at small forward.
Yes, the Knicks could use Melo at power forward -- and a center like Robin Lopez could make that work -- but how will they make it work with a roster so light on perimeter players?
One answer -- at least according to Phil -- might be pairing Melo with fellow tweener forward Derrick Williams, who has "the speed and activity to play with or for Carmelo in any situation.'' I mean, Williams does have speed, but he has also traditionally been more effective as a small-ball power forward. Can it work? If it does, Phil is a dang genius.
"He said he's 255 or something now," Jackson said. "He said he had to grow into his body. ... We understand [Porzingis is] probably still going to grow for the next five years just as a human being turning into his body. We're trying to allow that process to grow and expedite what he can get done on his own. He's a very willing participant."
I disagree with one thing here: How the hell is Kristaps just a human being? He's friggin' nine feet tall!
Derek Fisher and his magnificent beard talked a bit about defense, which would be a nice thing to have...or so I hear.
Fisher wants the #Knicks to "slide up in a major way" on defense. Fisher: "Can we utilize the size & versatility of our team to get stops?"— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) September 26, 2015
It's not as if last season's club lacked for size -- they routinely played two seven-footers -- but that size didn't mean a damn thing in the speed-obsessed, perimeter-oriented NBA. Well, the Knicks are still big, but they are infinitely more athletic. Will it be enough to field a decent defense?
Media Day tomorrow, folks! We're almost there!