Should Knicks consider giving Orlando Sanchez a chance to play?

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

With the regular season set to begin in nine days, it’ll be rather soon before the Knicks begin making necessary cuts from their training camp roster.

Having sat out all preseason action but one minute thus far, Orlando Sanchez, who is set to join the Westchester Knicks following camp, would figure to be one of the first cuts.

But perhaps it’s worth giving him an opportunity to hit the hardwood beforehand. A local product out of St. John’s University (and Monroe College before that), Sanchez is likely to become a fan-favorite, regardless of which Knicks team he ends up playing for this coming season.

That said, his skill-set is arguably taylor-made for the triangle offense. While he can create good spacing and hit the mid-range jumper with ease (a la the likes of Jason Smith and Travis Wear), Sanchez can also put the ball on the floor a bit more as well. With a steady handle for a player his size, he has the potential to help the flow of the offense as a point-forward of sorts.

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Knicks’ Travis Wear hoping to avoid twin brother’s fate by making an NBA roster

Adam Zagoria, Team Reporter

Travis Wear estimates that he and his twin brother, David, have never spent more than a “few days apart” in their entire lives.

The 6-foot-10 twins played basketball together at California powerhouse Mater Dei and then both signed on at North Carolina. When NBA: New York Knicks-Media Daythings didn’t work out there after one season, the twins transferred — together — to UCLA and finished out their college careers side by side.

Now, however, Travis is with the Knicks and David is out on the West Coast and the twins are having to get adjusted to being separated. David was with the Sacramento Kings but was waived on Sunday.

“Honestly, I don’t think we’ve ever spent more than a few days apart, probably like 20 days our whole lives apart,” Travis said Sunday at Knicks practice. “And now just to be away from him for eight weeks or whatever, it’s definitely an adjustment but we stay in contact every day.” To read more of this story, click here

Bargnani to miss third straight preseason game with hamstring injury

Adam Zagoria, Team Reporter

Knicks forward Andrea Bargnani will miss his third straight preseason game Monday against Jabari Parker and the Milwaukee Bucks with a hamstring injury.

“No, he hasn’t been able to practice the last few days so it wouldn’t be smart to jeopardize  him by putting him into game action [Monday],” Knicks coach Derek Fisher said Sunday at practice.

“We’ll continue to evaluate his hamstring and how he’s feeling. It’s a long season so we don’t want  any of our guys including Andrea to have to go in and out of the lineup trying to rush back so hopefully in the next few days we’ll get enough distance bewteen the injury and him feeling better that he can join us for practice this week and hopefully start to ramp it up for Oct. 29th [the season-opener].”

Bargnani is in his walk year with the Knicks and ideally would like to have a big season entering free agency.

Fisher wouldn’t commit to a starting lineup for Monday, when Jason Smith, Quincy Acy or Amar’e Stoudemire could start at power forward.

“Tomorrow’s still kind of up in the air as far as what we’ll do with all the positions,” Fisher said. “We’re kind of looking at some things.”


Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider for NBA.com and SNY.tv. You can follow him on Twitter and read his blog.

Does Jason Smith have inside track as starting power forward?

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

The Knicks’ 2014-15 season begins in less than two weeks, which means there isn’t much time left for coach Derek Fisher to figure out his opening night starting lineup and overall rotation.

Carmelo Anthony, Jose Calderon, and Samuel Dalembert are assumed starters, if only by default. Based on his positive play this preseason (and incumbent starting two-guard), one could make a strong case for Iman Shumpert to slip into the starting lineup as well.

The one position that’s still left wide open is power forward. Perhaps rightfully so, because as much talent as there is at the position, there’s probably just as many question marks surrounding it as well.

USATSI_8115402_110579513_lowresThe likes of Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, Jason Smith, and Quincy Acy all figure to be candidates. While Stoudemire and/or Bargnani may have (at one point) had more to offer than the latter two, the pair has failed to remain healthy in recent seasons. Bargnani has already missed a good portion of the preseason, and Stoudemire has looked slow out of the gate as he, like many of his teammates, attempts to adjust to the triangle offense.

This has allowed Acy to get the start in three of the Knicks’ first four preseason games. Looking at preseason numbers can be inconclusive, simply because players who would normally put up such numbers aren’t playing normal minutes. Having said that, it still may be worth noting that Acy is thus far leading the team in steals per game (1.2) and is second in rebounds (5.0) behind Dalembert (5.8).

Having brought a reputation for being a junkyard dog of sorts, Acy has shown a refreshing new awareness on the offensive end. So far, he’s proving he’s not a liability there; he’s aimed to create good spacing and has knocked down the occasional mid-range jumper, shooting 45 percent from the floor.

Despite Acy’s steady contributions, the one player who may have the edge to start is Jason Smith. The big man has arguably taken to the triangle better than any of his teammates, showing an early aptitude for the offense.

In fact, he’s been thriving. While Acy has had to make an extra effort offensively, all this appears to come rather naturally for Smith. He is consistently aware of where to position himself, creates excellent spacing, sets perfectly timely screens, and has the “catch and shoot” rhythm down pat. His own offensive prowess keeps opposing defenses honest constantly.

Averaging 10 points (on 50 percent shooting) and 4.5 rebounds, there’s no doubt Smith is talented. Though he missed the first two preseason games due to the birth of his daughter, he’s proving to have an early knack for this offense.

The question becomes if he can stay healthy. Having failed to appear in more than 51 games each of the last three seasons, Smith, like Stoudemire and Bargnani, has battled through his fair share of injuries.

While Smith may be the favorite to start on day one, the Knicks may have to utilize a starter-by-committee method as the season progresses.

J.R. Smith honored to be the new Dennis Rodman

Adam Zagoria, Team Reporter

J.R. Smith is honored to be the new Dennis Rodman.

“To be compared to Dennis Rodman, I think, is a great thing, so I’ll take it,” Smith said Friday at Knicks practice. “I like it.”

Knicks President Phil Jackson initially compared Smith to Rodman during an interview with the New York Post, saying both had an “outlier side.”

Rodman took to Twitter this week to send “good luck” to Smith, whom he called “the new Dennis Rodman.”

Rodman won five NBA titles, Smith has none. Other than that, both have made headlines as much for their off-the-court shenanigans as their on-court impact.

“I think the reputation,” Smith said. “Females, night life, whatever people want to say about us, is kind of similar. I think, in general, just overall the way we are. We work hard on the court, we play hard off the court, so I’ll take it.”

On the court, Smith is dealing with some back spasms but says he feels OK.

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Will Travis Wear make Knicks’ roster instead of Travis Outlaw?

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

With fifteen guaranteed contracts on the roster, the last thing anyone could have expected the Knicks to have with training camp/preseason play underway would be a roster spot up for grabs.

Of course, with a new coach in Derek Fisher attempting to implement the triangle, he’s sure to continue exploring who fits best. Position battles are have officially begun as players compete for minutes in the rotation.

As Carmelo Anthony put it, the Knicks simply have who they have. With little roster/cap flexibility until next summer, New York must more or less roll with the punches.

That said, one question that has come about after four preseason contests (perhaps unexpectedly) is this: which Travis will still be donning orange and blue come opening night?

That very question, of course, refers to the likes of Travis Outlaw and Travis Wear.

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