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McGrady not the long-range solution at point guard

New York Knicks' Tracy McGrady (3) shoots despite

New York Knicks' Tracy McGrady (3) shoots despite pressure from Toronto Raptors' Andrea Bargnani, left, and Hedo Turkoglu, right. (Mar. 5, 2010) Credit: AP

TORONTO - Mike D'Antoni started Tracy McGrady at point guard again Friday night against the Raptors. But if the Knicks bring McGrady back as a free agent, don't expect it to be something D'Antoni is mulling for next season. Although he has terrific court vision as a passer, the 6-8 McGrady doesn't push the tempo enough.

Make no mistake: Whoever the Knicks sign with their $30-million-plus in salary-cap space this summer will be the type of players who will allow D'Antoni to go back to running the famous "Seven Seconds or Less'' system he had with the Phoenix Suns.

"We do have a certain way we want to play and certain characteristics of certain players," D'Antoni said. "We're able to paint the picture the way we want to now, and that was the plan. I think we're all looking forward to being able to do that."

D'Antoni tried to implement the up-tempo, ball-movement style of play with the Knicks when he arrived last season. But he quickly saw how important Steve Nash was to his system when Chris Duhon couldn't come close to emulating Nash's command.

McGrady, like Nash, is a great shooter and has terrific court vision, but he doesn't push the ball in transition nearly enough for D'Antoni's liking.

"I'm looking forward to getting back to winning," D'Antoni said. "That's the main thing."


Around the rim

Eddy Curry was inactive for Friday's game and is not likely to return to the lineup until Wednesday in San Antonio, which is the start of a five-game road trip. Curry clearly is more comfortable playing on the road, and the Knicks' next two games - Saturday against the Nets and Monday against the Hawks - are at the Garden . . . In attendance for the game here was hockey's Great One, Wayne Gretzky.

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