Phil says ball can’t stop with Melo, compares J.R. to Rodman

Adam Zagoria, Team Reporter

In a wide-ranging interview with Steve Serby of the New York Post, Knicks President Phil Jackson said the ball can’t stop with Carmelo Anthony in the triangle offense and compared shooting guard J.R. Smith’s wacky personality to Dennis Rodman’s.

USATSI_7816138_110579513_lowres“That’s where Carmelo’s gonna move forward this year in that situation — the ball can’t stop,” Jackson said. “The ball has to continually move. It moves, or goes to the hoop on a shot or a drive or something like that. In our offense, that’s part of the process of getting players to play in that rhythm.”

Asked if Melo was on board with that thinking, Jackson said: “All we talked about in our negotiation was, ‘I’d like not to have to feel like I have to carry the load to score every night.’ He wants some help.”

Interestingly, former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy said that new coach Derek Fisher could use the triangle for 75 percent of the game — and then ride his best player down the stretch.

“When people talk about the triangle offense, they have a misconception,” Van Gundy said on TKB Radio. “Jackson ran the triangle for most of three quarters, until the fourth quarter, when they ran ‘iso.’ It was a five-man team game for three quarters, then he would ride his superstar player in the fourth quarter, just like every NBA team.”

So it will be interesting to see if Fisher relies on the principles of the triangle for, say, the first three quarters, and then reverts to Iso Melo in the fourth.

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Assessing the value of new Knicks’ center Samuel Dalembert

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

Despite having a reputation as one of the more well known and reliable (what you see is what you get) big men in the NBA, it’s difficult to compare Samuel Dalembert to an NBA All-Star and one-time Defensive Player of the Year.

But that’s exactly what happens when sizing up Dalembert next to Tyson Chandler, pondering whether the Knicks made improvements this past summer.

USATSI_7896163_110579513_lowresIn order to acquire the likes of Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin, and plenty of other assets, New York parted with Chandler. Though they upgraded other areas, the team was left with just Dalembert to show for it in Chandler’s place.

At first glance, one may consider that to be an unfortunate downgrade. But alas, it’s not as bad after further review.

Chandler let the Knicks down in a variety of ways last season. He battled injuries, his intensity appeared to waver, but perhaps most frustratingly, his inability to pull down rebounds (as opposed to just tap-ups or tap-outs) began to make him a liability on the offensive glass, not to mention, the offensive end in general.

Of course, Dalembert won’t be stepping back to knock down the jumpers that Chandler failed to provide, either. Having said that, Dalembert is proven to be a more efficient rebounder and shot-blocker. What’s more, having both started their careers in the 2001-02 season, the new Knick center has appeared in more career games than the 2011 NBA champion.

And while both big men have tried to rise above respective bumps and bruises in more recent years, Dalembert has played in more games over the past three seasons than Chandler did during his entire tenure with the Knicks.

Chandler’s numbers may be higher, but they aren’t necessarily better. Dalembert can provide the Knicks with similar production in smaller doses of playing time, further opening up the door for the likes of Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani to come in and inject New York with some offensive firepower off the bench if need be.

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Kurt Thomas

Kurt Thomas and Jeff Van Gundy predict good year for Derek Fisher

Kurt Thomas and Jeff Van Gundy both joined Anthony Donahue on TKB Radio to shed some light on Derek Fisher’s first year.

Fisher, a rookie coach under President Phil Jackson, is going to face “a lot of obstacles,” Thomas said.

“It’s going to be a tremendous challenge for him,” Thomas said. “But the Knicks organization is the best organization in the league and they are going to put him in the right situation to be successful.”

Van Gundy said he expects the Knicks to make the playoffs.

“Last year, everything that could go wrong did go wrong,” the former Knicks coach said. “I think they’ll be a good team this year. They’ll be a playoff team, but how far they go will depend on the matchups.”

Thomas said he won’t pass judgement on Fisher too soon, and hope fans do the same.

“Knicks fans have to be patient with him and give him time, since he’s a young coach,” Thomas said. “Just be patient and see what happens.”

Van Gundy also went into how Jackson and Fisher will likely use the triangle offense, which will likely be in effect for just 75 percent of the game.

“When people talk about the triangle offense, they have a misconception,” Van Gundy said. “Jackson ran the triangle for most of three quarters, until the fourth quarter, when they ran ‘iso.’ It was a five-man team game for three quarters, then he would ride his superstar player in the fourth quarter, just like every NBA team.”

To listen to TKB Radio, featuring Kurt Thomas, Jeff Van Gundy and Tina Cervasio, click below…

Mayor Bill de Blasio has faith in Derek Fisher

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

With first-time head coach Derek Fisher just months removed from last hitting the hardwood himself, many have questions surrounding his credentials to lead the Knicks.

Nevertheless, Mayor Bill de Blasio has faith in the five-time NBA champion (Newsday, September 22).

“Derek, there’s no pressure on you at all,” De Blasio said. “You know, people really, really, really, really want a championship. But again, no pressure. I know your career and know you’re a specialist in last-minute pressure situations so I think you’re going to blend in fine.”

De Blasio was on hand for NBA Cares’ Employee Day of Service with Fisher and Cole Aldrich in Staten Island on Monday.

The likes of Cleanthony Early, Tim Hardaway Jr., Shane Larkin, as well as Knicks’ legends Earl Monroe, Bernard King, and Larry Johnson, also participated in events throughout the day across the Big Apple.

Phil Jackson sends a message to Tyson Chandler — again

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

Just days after Tyson Chandler came out firing against Phil Jackson for his trade motivations, the Zen Master has seemingly answered back yet again, this time in the form of a tweet.

It’s clear that trading Chandler will undoubtedly affect the Knicks’ chemistry one way or another. Obviously he and Jackson have different views as to exactly how it will impact the team.

Tyson_Chandler_Knicks_6_display_imageBut if one thing is for sure, it’s that parting ways with Chandler was a bold move. As Jackson came into office and the Knicks started to prepare for the summer of 2015, this upcoming season was supposed to be one of transition for New York.

Still, Jackson hasn’t wasted any time putting his own respective stamp on this team. He’s making changes; quite drastic ones at that.

The move that saw Chandler and Raymond Felton leave town obviously had some financial motivations, with Samuel Dalembert’s guaranteed contract for this coming season being just a fraction of what Chandler is scheduled to earn.

Having said that, it would have been just as easy for Jackson to play the waiting game this year. With the likes of Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani (in addition to Chandler) set to see their respective contracts expire, Jackson could have explored different ways to utilize them as assets, or simply waited for each of them to come off the books and go from there.

Doing so would have kept the waters calm. Most executives would have chosen to keep a veteran like Chandler in the locker room.

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Knicks have all hands on deck at open tryout for D-League squad

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

On Saturday, the Knicks hosted open tryouts for their new NBA D-League squad in Westchester.

Though it’s a little unusual, the team has yet to find and/or formally announce their first head coach. Former Bulls guard Craig Hodges has been linked to the job.

And while Hodges (or any other head coaching candidate, for the matter) was not present at the tryout, New York had plenty of representatives as they searched for any diamonds in the rough to be found.

Many looked on as a group of approximately 75 hit the hardwood aiming to impress. Knicks’ Assistant General Manager (and acting Westchester GM) Allan Houston was on the prowl, as was the team’s Director of Scouting and Administration, Kristian Petesic.

Well-known Phil Jackson confidant Clarence Gaines (hired as a special advisor to the President) observed the tryout as well. Chris Brickley, one of the Knicks’ player development associates, was among the coaches leading the prospects through drills.

Houston and Petesic have both played key roles in running D-League operations for the Knicks in past years (when they were previously affiliated with an outside team). They’ll undoubtedly have even more freedom with their own team in Westchester.