Adam ZagoriaAndrea Bargnani continues to practice with the Knicks starters and head coach Mike Woodson appears enamored with having both Bargnani and Carmelo Anthony together in a big lineup.
“It’s looking good, but again I don’t know who’s going to start yet,” Woodson said Sunday after practice. “But I like the makeup of Andrea and Melo on the floor at the same time with Tyson [Chandler]. In that scrimmage, we worked that combination and it wasn’t bad. Again, it’s gotta be a done in a real game situation to see how it looks. And if it’s good we could feed off of that, but until I get to that point I don’t know yet.”
The Knicks will have the first of seven preseason games Wednesday against the Celtics in Providence, before playing in Toronto Friday and against Boston in New Hampshire Saturday.
With the departures of Steve Novak and Jason Kidd, the Knicks lost some 3-point shooting, but Bargnani, a career 36 percent shooter from beyond the arc, could help make up for that.
“We lose Novak and Kidd who made 3′s, but Andrea’s not just a 3-point shooter,” Woodson said. “He can make 3′s. But you can run him in the pick-and-rolls and if teams switch and he rolls, he’s a big target to throw the ball to. And he’s not bad inside. He didn’t post a whole lot in Toronto, but he’s got all the skills and moves to play post-up basketball. So I’m going to post him some as well….He brings a lot from an offensive standpoint.”
Anthony, who could return to his natural small forward spot in a big lineup where Bargnani plays the 4, says he’s learning more about playing with the Italian every day.
“For the most part, he’s actually a smart player, man,” Anthony said. “He can play off of people. And the way we play, we space the court. So a lot of times all the attention is on me…And this week I saw from him the game has been much easier for him. He uses space, do what he have to do, make his shots, play his game, he don’t have to try to force anything or do anything he’s not used to doing out of his comfort zone.”
Asked if would prefer to return to the small forward, Anthony added: “I mean, that’s what got me here. That’s what got me here. But as far as the small forward/power forward, I think people are looking at it a little bit too much. Just put me out there, put us out there on the basketball court. Whoever’s the lineup, we’ll adjust to it, try to make it work and go from there.”
After spending his entire career in Toronto, Bargnani is happily adjusting to learning to play with Anthony and trying to help the Knicks win.
“Yeah, for sure it’s a daily process,” Bargnani said. “We never played together and every day the feeling grows.”
Adam Zagoria covers the New York Knicks and Big East hoops for NBA.com and SNY.tv. He also appears as a Big East Basketball Insider on SNY and 1050 ESPN Radio. You can follow him on Twitter and read his blog.