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The French Evolution

 PARIS -- As the Knicks took the court at Bercy Arena here this morning for practice, one team official noticed a box score left on the scorer's table. A glance down the ledger offered a list of faceless French players until you get to the bottom. And there he was:

Frederic Weis.

Sacre bleu!

The name will forever live in Knicks draft infamy, atop a list of doozies such as Kenny Walker, Jerrod Mustaf and John Thomas. Nothing tops the Weis choice, which hardly proved to be the wise choice, especially with Ron Artest still available.

Perhaps on this visit the Knicks may continue to realize they finally found a European big man who might actually turn into something special. Timofey Mozgov had a nice debut against AJ Milano with 10 points, five boards and three blocks in 19 minutes. The Russian rookie still can get lost out there, especially with the language issue, but there's no mistaking he belongs in the NBA. And his potential is sky-high in this system.

"I'm trying to curb my enthusiasm," Mike D'Antoni said. "I think he can play."

D'Antoni admitted he thinks enough of Mozgov to consider him as a potential starter at the center position, which D'Antoni said is "open" right now.

"And it may be open all year in the sense of we may change it up depending on who we play and how people develop or our team develops," D'Antoni added.

Of course with the NBA Europe Live game here against the Timberwolves -- and you might remember a fella named Darko Milicic, yet another Euro big who didn't quite make it in New York -- in the adopted home of proud Frenchman Ronny Turiaf (a Martinique native who attended high school here in Paris), D'Antoni will stick with the veteran for at least a little while longer. But if Mozgov continues to make a case, Turiaf may find he's more valuable for his energy off the bench.

There is some thought, as well to using Anthony Randolph there, but he might be better suited as a wild card to use anywhere in the frontcourt to get the most out of his versatility.

By the way, Weis, who is now 33 years old (and currently property of the Houston Rockets, who acquired his rights when the Knicks acquired the draft rights to Patrick Ewing Jr. in 2008...reverse the curse, indeed), is still playing professional basketball. This season he is back with CSP Limoges, his first pro team and the team he was with when the Knicks made him the 15th pick in the 1999 NBA Draft.


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