Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.
The improved point guard position and other practice notes
Many Knicks’ fans are not happy that Jeremy Lin isn’t back, but their point guard position is improved from last season.
Coach Mike Woodson, as expected, essentially said Raymond Felton would be his starting point guard. Jason Kidd will back him up – and likely finish games – and could play some with Felton.
“Raymond will be probably the starting point guard right now,” Woodson said. “He's going to get first crack at it. I think he's had opportunities over the years to run teams and he's done a great job at it. At the end of the day, it's still about team. I don't think anybody else on this team is going to care who starts, but Raymond will probably be our starter.”
Kidd said he’s fine with that and Felton said he’s fine if he doesn’t finish games. Kidd's defense and savvy make him a likely candidate to close games out. Right now, the Knicks are one big happy family, trying to get used to playing together and figure out what they need to do to win games.
Last year, Lin, Mike Bibby, Baron Davis, Iman Shumpert and Toney Douglas all got cracks at playing point guard. In Kidd and Felton the Knicks have two productive veteran point guards who have run teams and probably can play off one another well.
“[It would be] very effective,” Felton said. “You have two guys on the floor who can pass the ball and create and could score if they need to. I could see coach doing that a lot.”
The Knicks also have 35-year-old Pablo Prigioni, who needs to get acclimated to the NBA game.
Yesterday, Felton said Kidd is like "a father figure," but called him "a role model" today. He said it’s not weird to be starting ahead of a legend.
“He’s played 17, 18 years,” Felton said. “It’s like a cycle. At some point somebody’s going to come in and do the same thing to me. I’m just lucky to have him here and to learn from him and pick his brain. I’m excited.”
As for Lin, when Kidd signed he talked about being a mentor to the young guard. When he was asked about it saying that, Kidd said, “Well, I had to.”
Woodson after the first practice:
“I’m really pleased with the way first day of practice went. I thought guys came back in in pretty [darn] good condition. A lot of that had to do with our summer program, and the things that we implemented in terms of getting players to really work and focus and be ready for vet camp. And it showed a little today because we did a lot of running, conditioning work, and they hung right in there. The next two days will kind of be a mirror of what we did today and we’ll see how they react physically.”
Tyson Chandler turned 30 today, giving the Knicks five guys who are at least 30 years old.
“I was feeling young until today,” Chandler said. “You know what? It's knowledge though.”
When Rasheed Wallace signs, the Knicks will have six players who are at least 30.
James White turns 30 later this month and Amar’e Stoudemire will be 30 in November.
Woodson said he won’t have “two-a-days” during training camp. Instead he believes in holding one three-hour practice a day, which is something Woodson said worked for him when he coached the Hawks.
“I found out that they get enough time to recover, they get a good night’s sleep, fresher the next day,” Woodson said.
Considering the Knicks’ age, it might be prudent.