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Metta World Peace: 'Just be intelligent'

Metta World Peace shoots during practice at the

Metta World Peace shoots during practice at the Knicks' training facility in Greenburgh. (Oct. 2, 2013) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Metta World Peace is a native New Yorker and knows how much the fans love the Knicks to play physically. But World Peace said the Knicks need to use their brains more than whatever brawn they have because they haven't hung a championship banner since 1973.

"I don't really care about being physical, just be intelligent," he said after practice yesterday. "The physical part of the game will take care of itself. I'm not big on just being physical. I know New York fans love the old physical teams. New York is a physical place. But New York don't have a championship in the last how many years? It's about time we become intelligent."

Last season's Knicks won a playoff series for the first time in 13 years, but they didn't play physically enough or smart enough when they lost to the Pacers in the conference semifinals.

The irony is that World Peace hasn't always been considered the most cerebral player, and he's known for being physical. But the former St. John's star has something most of the Knicks don't -- a championship ring with the 2010 Lakers.

"All that old physical stuff that all these fans are talking about, I'm from New York, it's not winning championships," World Peace said. "You have to bring some type of intelligence and you have to be together."

The Knicks have some physical players, including Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin. But World Peace believes this team has intelligence, too.

He compared coach Mike Woodson to Phil Jackson for the way he holds players accountable and his "feel for the game." He then identified players on the team who know how to win and had high praise for Carmelo Anthony.

"I think Tyson is a champion," World Peace said. "He was physical and smart when he won a championship [with Dallas]. Beno [Udrih] has two championship rings playing under [Gregg] Popovich. Josh Powell has two championships playing on the Lakers, I have one.

"Kenyon's been there twice. Melo has the killer instinct. He has that championship, special character. You need a player like Melo, somebody that you really can't see what's in his heart."

World Peace stressed that hard work isn't enough to win. It's doing the basic "fundamental" things. "The smart thing to do is be aggressive, box out, that's what you're supposed to do," he said.

Notes & quotes: Iman Shumpert didn't practice because of right shoulder soreness he had Wednesday. Shumpert said he will rest the shoulder and doesn't think he'll need an X-ray or MRI . . . Woodson said Anthony, Chandler and Raymond Felton are the only Knicks guaranteed to start. Shumpert, Pablo Prigioni and Andrea Bargnani are in the mix for the other two spots . . . Woodson agreed with Jason Kidd's assessment that he played too many minutes last season. "In hindsight," Woodson said, "if I had to do it over again, I wouldn't give him those minutes and probably stuck a little bit more Pablo's way."

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