CHICAGO - Ohio State point guard D'Angelo Russell interviewed with Phil Jackson here, called the Knicks' president "hard to read" and said he "never knew" what the triangle offense was.
But Russell also considers himself "the best player in the draft" and said he would "adjust" to the triangle if the Knicks draft him.
Russell is projected to be the third pick in next month's draft. It's hard to predict what the Knicks will do until they know when they are picking. In Tuesday's Draft Lottery, the Knicks have a 19.9-percent chance of picking first and can't drop lower than fifth.
If the Knicks fall to four or five, versatile Duke forward Justise Winslow and Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein could be on their radar. Jackson and coach Derek Fisher met with Winslow, and Cauley-Stein said he will be in New York to work out and interview with the Knicks Sunday.
Jackson has said his preference is taking a defensive-minded big man similar to former Knick Tyson Chandler, which got Cauley-Stein's attention. "I heard that," he said Friday at the Draft Combine "When I hear that, that perks my ears up, because that's what I do. That's what got me here. So if you're telling me I can go into the league and go right away into that, that's great."
Cauley-Stein's Kentucky teammate, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Duke's Jahlil Okafor are expected to be the top two picks. The Knicks would be happy with one of them.
If the Knicks slip below that, Jackson might not entrust a freshman with running his team, but Russell is intriguing. He's explosive, passes well and can play both guard positions. Russell also believes he and Carmelo Anthony together would be tough to stop.
"That's beautiful," Russell said. "The type of player he is and where he came from, knowing what we can do to the league, the damage we could do to the league together would be awesome."
The NBA fined Jackson for publicly commenting on Russell because he's an underclassman. After scouting an Ohio State game, Jackson called Russell a "great-looking kid, great prospect." Russell couldn't believe Jackson got fined for that.
"I just thought it was crazy," he said. "If he would have said something bad or he would have ignored the guy, then he would be a jerk. I don't understand . . . Just knowing that he said something like that is definitely a clap to me. It gives me confidence or whatever. But I still got to perform."
Winslow, who helped Duke win the national title as a freshman, enjoyed his meeting with the Knicks and spent some time with Anthony. The two sat next to each other at a Yankees game last week. Winslow said Anthony talked to him about adjusting to the NBA.
"Our conversation wasn't so much how I'd fit in with the Knicks," Winslow said. "We barely spoke of that, if at all. All we spoke about was the adjustment of going from college to the league and how my workouts were going and kind of helping me, being a mentor for a young guy that was very similar to him, similar path, championship our freshman year.
"So it was just great to have a guy like that who's accomplished so much looking out for you."