Here are some excerpts from our new young prodigy, Anthony Randolph, in a New York Times interview:
Q. Why do you feel like the Knicks and Mike D’Antoni are a good fit?
A. He allows his players to play. In Golden State, it was kind of like a situation where he wanted me to rebound and that’s it, don’t do nothing else. Here, it’s more God has given me the natural ability to handle the ball a little bit. You can move like a guard, you can guard guys, you’re able to be put in different positions and I think I’ll be allowed to do that here.
Q. How do you envision playing with Stoudemire in the post?
A. That’s going to be great. There’s a lot of highlights and stuff like that. Amar’e is a very dominant player, a great player. He’s going to take a lot of attention off me. That alone is going to make me a better player.
Q. Have you talked with Stoudemire and point guard Raymond Felton about changing the culture here?
A. Everybody’s on the same page. The two guys that I came in with, Amar’e and Raymond, I worked out with them a little bit in Vegas. I honestly feel like everybody that’s on this team right now wants to get better, wants to work hard and win games, point blank.
Q. There have been a lot of changes here. How do you think the roster looks and where do you think you fit in?
A. I think the roster looks good. We’ve got a lot of good pieces. When we come in for training camp, we’ve just got to put it together, build a chemistry, but I think that’ll be no problem. We’ve got a lot of good guys. I know personally, for a fact, that Ronny Turiaf and Kelenna are great people and great teammates. So that’s a start right there.
Q. You were injured a good portion of last year. How much are you itching to get back to 100 percent and playing again? How are your workouts with the assistant coach Dan D’Antoni?
A. I’m ready. I told Dan this morning after workouts I wished the season started tomorrow. I’m ready to play. I’m ready to get out there. I feel I’ve added some things in my game. I feel like my shot is a thousand times better. I’m just ready to get out there and show everybody all the hard work I’ve put in since April 15, since the last game of the season.
I love that he wishes the season would start tomorrow. I think that due to injury and being in Don Nelson’s doghouse, he’s got a huge desire to prove himself, which is great for us. My concern, though, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, is that Coach Mike D’Antoni keeps the second-most visited doghouse after Nelson. Serious frequent flyer miles have been accrued there the last couple of seasons by Stephon Marbury, Nate Robinson, Larry Hughes, Eddy Curry, Darko Milicic, Jordan Hill, Toney Douglas, and even the recently departed Al Harrington, who despite getting regular minutes, revealed that he felt like D’Antoni disliked him. Sure, sure, one could argue that maybe most of those guys above shouldn’t have gotten minutes, although it seems like with a losing team one should explore every last opportunity. It was one thing to keep a short rotation in Phoenix when they were winning constantly, but if Chris Duhon’s your starting point guard, don’t you have to give minutes to a Toney Douglas sooner than the last couple of months?
The other side of the coin is that I’m concerned that Randolph was never able to work his way out of the doghouse in Golden State, so is it possible he’s not willing to do the dirty work of whatever the coach asks? Corey Maggette got out of Nelson’s doghouse. On the Knicks we saw both Toney and Nate work their way out too, so there are obviously secret back escape exits from the house if you’re willing to search.
As much as this upcoming season will be a chance for Randolph to prove he’s got the chops to turn his otherworldly abilities into focused, winning bball, it most definitely will also be D’Antoni turn to prove that his system can get a team to the playoffs without Steve Nash.