“I think a lot of people in New York are maybe going to be upset, but we have a bigger picture in mind. And it’s not about winning now. It’s about winning toward the end of the season.” — Ronny Turiaf
“Right now, Raymond’s just going a bit too fast – that’s the biggest thing. We’ll slow him down, he’ll get a rhythm. He’s driving too deep, too fast. I have the maximum faith that he’ll get it done. It’s not a problem.” – Mike D’Antoni
“I think we’ve done a great job. Offensively, we still have to get better. But defensively, we’re doing a phenomenal job of really, really being active, causing some turnovers, blocking some shots, communicating. It’s a great sign for us.” – Amar’e Stoudemire
By the end of the first half of the game against Minnesota, the expense of emotional energy and the rigors of international travel had caught up with the Knicks. They looked slopppy, lethargic and out of sync which one could expect from a pre-season game, especially one played with the Eiffel Tower as a back drop.
Through the exhausting schedule and bonding, only two Knicks were consistent in reflecting the “new” Knicks winning culture: Landry Fields and Toney Douglas (12 points, 3 assists and 3 steals). Fields (13 points on 5 for 9 shooting. is simply a mature decision maker who does not play beyond his capabilities. He is smooth and cool if not the most athletic or talented on the floor. Toney Douglas, who was not handed the time he should have had to play the point at the end of last season when Sergio Rodriguez and Chris Duhon were still getting minutes, continued to show improvement. Douglas will clearly be a NBA player for years to come. He will bring energy and hustle, particularly on the defensive end.
Danilo Gallinari looked tired (3-13 for 7 points in 21 minutes). Unfortunately, the result was that he looked like the worst of himself last year. He reverted to awkwardly shooting and rushing tres. More significantly, he wound down defensively.
Raymond Felton is looking a bit lost offensively so far, but not because he plays soft. He goes at it hard but is turning it over as much as he is handing out assists and he is not looking to score. (4 assists, 5 TOs and 4 points in 29 minutes). Also of some concern is the infrequency with which he gets to the free throw line. He did hit the only two free throws he had. He has not shown much scoring out of penetration yet.
Also disappointing was the play of Anthony Randolph (14points on 3-11 shooting). Right now, he is very young and his game lacks maturity and seems to have no definition as he is the exact opposite of Landry Fields — he does not know what he can do, so he tries to do it all. He plays beyond himself. His shot looked horrendously inconsistent. Yet, he is great patrolling the paint on “D”. He is practically unstoppable offensively on the low block as he is too long and quick to keep from the basket.
The most glaring discrepancy was how badly the Knicks were out-rebounded: 62-35. It prompts one to ask, “where is David Lee?”
The Knicks trip to Italy and Paris had been a success on many levels, if not on the level of the hard court. It marked a brand new era of marketing. For two years the true transformation of the Knicks franchise was to one more marketable to an international — hint, European — audience. With the emergence of Gallinari and the additions of Turiaf and Mozgov, the Knicks instantly changed to the bane of Stern’s plots hatched in Secaucus to the apple of his third eye foreseeing expansion abroad.
Star Amar’e Stoudemire is finally attracting to the Knicks the type of attention and adulation that had not bee present since Knicks fans favorably received Stephon — he whose name shall not be read aloud. lol. — Marbury. However, the marketing change was never clearer than the next morning when NBA marketing partner, ESPN, placed two Ronny Turiaf blocks on the top ten plays of the day. They did so without mentioning that more spectacular than the blocks, were the facts that they happened from someone in a Knicks uniform.