Linkin’ Center: Gallo Posts Up, Andy Rautins Not Dead Yet & Nugs Might Not Feel We’re Cheats


NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 13: NBA players Landry Fields (L) and Andy Rautins attend the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2011 Official Coverage at Lincoln Center on September 13, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz)

Rookie Landry Fields (L) has shown he may be able to play in the NBA. However, Andy Rautins (R) has been eh. Should we write him off as dead weight (no offense intended to you, Eddy Curry) (Source: Yardbarker.com)

A few days ago I linked to an article that claimed the Denver Nuggets wouldn’t pursue Carmelo Anthony trade talks to us because they believed the Knicks had inappropriately engaged in back channel conversations with Melo during the summer.  As some pointed out, it oddly wasn’t pointed out what we’d done, leaving us confused and surprised.  We’re not alone.  RealGM reports Knicks’ President Donnie Walsh had this to say about the Nugs giving us the cold should ‘cuz they think we’re big ol’ cheaters:

“Oh no. I don’t think that’s true,” Walsh said. “My understanding is they don’t want to deal with us because they don’t think we have the players that fit their team.”

“We don’t know the value of [Anthony Randolph, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Toney Douglas] and the league doesn’t know the value of these players,” Walsh said, in speaking generally on the subject of Denver’s lack of interest in New York’s trade pieces. “I feel if we get into the season, the value of the players will go up.”

“In general, I’ve heard that New York just doesn’t have the pieces. We have the pieces, you just don’t know it,” Walsh said.

I’ve gotten that impression too, which surprises me.  I feel like if I’m the Nuggets I’d rather push to get a combo of Randolph and Gallo with perhaps Toney or Chandler thrown in, that Derrick Favors and some first-round draft picks from the Nets.  Draft picks tend to be lottery protected or top-three protected, making the chances of a netting a superstar, let alone a star, much less likely.  Favors already struggled just in Summer League, so who knows if he’ll develop into anything?  Meanwhile, Gallo and Randolph have already shown that they can play solid minutes in the NBA, that they’re the types who work on their game/health (unlike say, ahem, Eddy Curry), while there’s also an excellent chance that one, if not both, of these young still-developing talents could turn into a serious All-Star.  But maybe me and Donnie are just drinking too much of the New York Kool-Aid.

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FromTheBaseline finds out how Gallo spent his summer.  Basketball-skill-wise that is.

“I have been working out on my body a lot and trying to improve my flexibility, and explosiveness, and then my post up game.”

“Last year if you look at my stats my percentage I had a high percentage in the post. I will use my height {playing the small forward position} in the post more. I think I have to use the mismatches I have in the post.”

1. You gotta love any time you hear about any player working on new aspects of his game.  While much of the league thinks of Gallo as just a jumpshooter, a la say, Kyle Korver or Jason Kapona, those of us who watch the Knicks know he does a bunch more.  Last year he worked on mixing in drives to the basket with his outside shot, while also trying to improve his defense in the second half of the season (after Jared Jeffries left, Gallo always asked to cover the other team’s top perimeter player).  So it’s nice to hear he’s trying to add the post-up wrinkle to his game too.

2. As a bit of a geek myself, I also love that he cares so much about the game that he looked at his shooting percentages from taking different types of shots and realized that he shot the highest from the post so that’s what he should work on.

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Gotta love the mindset that the Knicks have about their European trip.  Not just on the court, but the realization that any bonding that happens away from it could be just as vital.  The NY Daily News gets Amar’e Stoudemire and Coach Mike D’Antoni’s views on it:

“It’s great timing,” Stoudemire said. “Our camaraderie is already pretty good. I was having guys over to watch ‘Monday Night Football.’ But Italy is going to make us do things together because we’re in a foreign land. We’re not familiar with the area so we’ve got to do things together.”

[...]  It is a business trip for a team preparing for the start of a grueling 82-game schedule. The Knicks are tentatively scheduled to practice every day in Europe. But the players are also being encouraged to make the most of the trip, especially those who are making their maiden voyage to Italy and France.

“We want everybody out in Italy and Paris,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We want them to go out and explore, develop that bond. We don’t want them just sitting in a hotel watching TV, eating and just getting ready for the game. We’ll encourage them to go out. We can’t make it happen. It’s up to the players.”

Me likey that attitude.

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Widely-panned second round draft pick Landry Fields proved himself to many Knick fans during his excellent play in Summer League.  Not so much his fellow widely-panned second round partner, Andy Rautins.  BleacherReport reveals there still may be some life in the kid yet:

From the moment he was drafted, there have been questions surrounding New York Knicks rookie Andy Rautins.

Having not been on many experts’ NBA draft boards, there were even doubts that Rautins had an NBA future ahead of him at all. An underwhelming summer league session, in which he shot 4-for-14 from behind the arc, did not help his cause.

Nevertheless, the (usually) sharp-shooting marksman from Syracuse entered Knicks training camp last week with a positive attitude and a seemingly clean slate.

[...] Rautins has been impressive running the break during training camp. Although normally paired up with second-year point guard Toney Douglas on the practice squad, it is Rautins whom often handles the ball.

Showing great first instincts, Rautins can be seen darting passes around the horn to his open teammates if not pulling up for a shot from long range.

Although he’s known for his three-point shooting, Rautins made it clear he’s a multi-faceted player. “Many people know about my ability to shoot the basketball,” said Rautins. “I think what’s going to separate me from other guys, though, is my ability to push the ball in transition. I’m able to spread the ball on offense. I can do a lot more than people think I can.”

[...]  At 6’5″, Rautins would stand tall as a point guard, be able to shoot over smaller guards, and use his strong frame to harass them on defense. Often noted as a “combo-guard,” Rautins took over full point-guard duty last season as a senior. Assuming the role of team leader, he finished with averages of 12 points, nearly five assists, and two steals.

[...]  The New York media has been taking notice, too. While a term like “bust” was being used to describe Rautins following the draft, he is now being recognized as “crisp” and “strong” during workouts.

One key thing not mentioned in the article is that it turns out Rautins was injured throughout Summer League (maybe his knee?) and now is healthy, so that could explain why he seemed so sucky over the summer.

Also, again not from that post but rather one further down, it seems that despite what I’ve written for a while in several places, D’Antoni is for once considering using a larger rotation at the beginning of the season.  If so, then maybe Rautins truly will get a chance to show us what he’s got this Fall.

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The NY Post lets us know how good and versatile D’Antoni thinks Anthony Randolph can be, and how he plans to use him:

“He’ll guard a point guard. He’ll guard a 5,” D’Antoni said. “He’ll be all over the place, that’s due to his talent. He’ll guard Rondo, and he’ll guard Dwight Howard.”

Separating Randolph from potential All-Star status is his energy level every game and consistency with his lefty jumper, according to D’Antoni.

“He has to learn to shoot a little better and make sure his motor is turned on 100 percent,” D’Antoni said.

Randolph, 1 of 9 on 3-pointers in his career, said he plans to shoot more from the outside.

“I want to be an all-around player, and be able to knock down the open 3 if I got it, which would complement my drives,” Randolph said.

Though Randolph is not scrimmaging with the starting five, D’Antoni envisions him paired often with Amar’e Stoudemire — at either the 3 and 4, or 4 and 5.

I like it all except for him trying to shoot more threes.  If his jumper’s already known as being inconsistent, it seems like an odd move to encourage him to start shooting from even further away.

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For Russia, some love.  From ESPNNewYork:

On the final day of training camp Wednesday, one of the newest Knicks knocked down a 17-footer from the corner, finished a post move with a soft left-handed touch shot, threw a behind-the-back pass off the dribble to an open teammate on the perimeter, then dove onto the floor to save a ball from going out of bounds.This all happened in the space of about 10 minutes, a combination of skill, hustle and agility rarely seen over the past, lost decade that has defined the New York Knicks as one of the NBA’s perennial losers.

[...] They were the moves of 7-foot-1 rookie Russian center Timofey Mozgov, who coach Mike D’Antoni has singled out as the biggest surprise of training camp.

“Just because we didn’t know anything about Timofey, he’s showing that what we saw on tape, and what we saw when we worked him out, was good,” D’Antoni said. “He’s an athlete, and he’s getting better every day. His instincts on defense are real good, his offensive instincts are good, he knows how to set people up, and he keeps getting better with his shot, getting more confidence.”

Mozgov figures to start the season coming off the bench behind Turiaf, and he may have to compete for minutes with Anthony Randolph at the center position if D’Antoni sticks with past practice and goes with a short rotation.

But D’Antoni has indicated he is going to change up his game somewhat, at least in the early part of the season, to see which mixes and matches of players work best together.

Lastly, the article also reports on D’Antoni’s most recent thoughts as to who’ll start at shooting guard:

The coach did allow that Wilson Chandler will probably get the nod Sunday in Milan, but Roger Mason will have a chance to compete for the job — as will Kelenna Azubuike when he returns from rehabbing his surgically repaired left knee sometime in November. Also, backup point guard Toney Douglas will be teamed alongside Felton at times.

Tags: Amar'e Stoudemire Andy Rautins Anthony Randolph Carmelo Anthony Danilo Gallinari Donnie Walsh Landry Fields Mike D'Antoni Timofey Mozgov Wilson Chandler

  • http://www.shattertheglass.com bgalella

    Really excited to see what Anthony Randolph can do for this team. The Knicks haven’t had a talented, young player since drafting Mark Jackson? Not sure I can name a New York draft pick since then, so Randolph being drafted by someone else is probably a good thing. The Knicks have three talented forwards, should be interesting to see how they play together.