Linkin’ Center: Mo’ Mozgov, CP3 Back On Radar, Plus Singing & Dancing

Russia

Timofey Mozgov (R.) starts at center tomorrow; how will he deal with the pressure? (Source: Yardbarker.com)

On Twitter Chris Sheridan posted that Timofey Mozgov has won the starting center spot.  Sounds like reporter conjecture (which I’m starting to realize Sheridan does a bunch) rather than actual news.  Coach Mike D’Antoni might be leaning that way, but no way has he 100% decided that because he’s concerned about foul trouble.  At the very least, he’ll wait and see how Moz does in his first start on Wednesday against the Celtics (and potentially the-still-extremely-capable-at-getting-opposing-centers-into-foul-trouble Shaq).

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More useless Twitter news?  The NY Post’s Mark Berman twatted:

Eddy Curry is doing shooting drills on his own here at #Knicks practice. Looking OK. Probably back sooner than later.

Reportedly a few words got cut off from the message and it was supposed to read: Probably back [to being a disappointment] sooner than later.

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Mo’ on Moz, courtesy of the Post again, an analysis of our new big man from Hoop du Jour’s international consultant, Lawrence Richard:

“Timofey’s Dave DeBusschere-like aggressive defense will be celebrated in New York,” begins Richard. “Active on the offensive boards, he’s also a decent shot-blocker — pretty long arms — thus providing an inside presence, something sadly lacking lately. The kid is active, is diesel-quick up and down the court and his handle will surprise you sometimes. Has a little ‘show’ in him. Just don’t make him handle on the pick-and-roll.”

Sparks will fly, predicts Richard, when Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal try to manhandle Timofey: “He has no back-down in him. That and high center of gravity get him in trouble in traffic.”

But then Richard gets sour:

“I’m not sure Timofey will make a big difference. I realize he’s young, but I don’t know if he gets it. He’s very foul-prone and in general, a step behind in the other ‘on the court’ matters. For a role player being tall, tough and a runner are almost enough to get you through the night. Still, he’s one of those players that looks good in practice and in drills and such, and, then, the game starts.”

That last bit about him sucking once the game starts seems odd since he played very well this summer at the FIBA World Games.  Plus, since Worlds didn’t have a “regular season,” one could argue that each game had far more pressure than your average Euroleague or NBA game.  If he could perform under those circumstances, surely he won’t wilt in the NBA.  Then again, he’s definitely no Chamberlain, so he won’t Wilt either.

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Ready for some good ol’ fashioned entertainment?  Here’s the singing I promised ya!  Patrick Ewing Jr and Landry Fields go Justin Bieber on us in this tiny clip from the great Posting And Toasting.

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Singing ain’t enough for ya?  Then here’s the dancing.  Read the latest installment of Unsung Knick History from Knickerblogger about the Curse Of Dancing Harry.  Ooooh, sounds scary, don’t it?  Okay, maybe not, but with decorations everywhere I’m already trying to gear up for Halloween.  Which is totally unrelated to this story since there ain’t a single scary bit in it.  Here’s the catchy opening:

In 1945, a Cubs fan by the name of Billy Sianis was not allowed to bring his pet goat into a Cubs World Series game. The outraged Sianis supposedly cursed the Cubs, and the team has not made the World Series since then.

In 1958, the Detroit Lions traded away star quarterback Bobby Layne, who supposedly angrily remarked that the Lions would “not win for 50 years.” It has been over 50 years now, and the Lions have never made the Super Bowl and have the worst winning percentage of any team over that stretch (winning only a single playoff game in the last 52 seasons).

In 1983, upon the death of her father, George Halas, new Chicago Bears owner, Virginia McCaskey (Halas’ daughter), decided to get rid of the Bears’ cheerleading squad known as the “Honey Bears.” They had a contract through 1985, however, so she had to wait until after that season to get rid of them. That season, of course, included a Bears Super Bowl victory. McCaskey still got rid of the squad, and the Bears have not won a Super Bowl since (they lost in the Super Bowl once in that timespan).

Can you add the New York Knicks and Dancing Harry to that list? Read on and find out more (including just who the heck is “Dancing Harry”?)

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After one pre-season game, D’Antoni mentioned he’d like to have everyone playing hard constantly and use an 11-man rotation.  Since then this one comment has been taken as gospel and see writers frequently talking about what it’ll be like with D’Antoni using 11 guys, and basically assuming it’s now a given despite the fact that there’s been no further comments by him reaffirming that one brief quote.  Well, combing through a NY Daily News article that’s actually on Timo, there was another quick comment that shows the rotation has already been cut down by at least one guy if not two:

“We’re not there yet but sooner or later I’m going to settle on a rotation. Hopefully, that’s nine or 10 guys.”

Yes, the difference between 10 and 11 people ain’t huge, so you might be thinking big whoop.  And maybe you’re right and this means nothing.  However, if we slide down to nine guys, suddenly we’re much more in familiar D’Antoni territory.  Usually he has stuck to playing only 7-9 guys.  And even if he does have nine guys in the rotation, that ninth guy could play spot minutes at best, say five or so.  In essence leaving us with a quintessential D’Antoni group of eight.  All I’m saying is everyone might want to hold off on definitively declaring that we’re gonna be using our “depth,” by running and pressing with a huge squad.

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The Daily News also has this intriguing update that could rapidly increase the availability of Chris Paul:

prospective incoming owner Gary Chouest apparently has decided to not buy the team from long-time owner George Shinn.

Last spring, Chouest, a local billionaire, reached an agreement in principle to buy out Shinn, the team’s original owner. Chouest had purchased 25% of the team in 2007.

But according to a league official familiar with the Hornets’ rocky ownership situation, the deal fell apart.

“Chouest didn’t step up,” the source said. “He’s not going to buy the team from George. It looks as if George will have to hold onto it.”

That’s bleak news for Hornets fans, who were hopeful that Chouest would come in, spend money on talent, and get Paul to change his mind about leaving.

Now CP3 is a baller who genuinely loves New Orleans, so don’t expect him to do something lame like mail in this season.  Or at least not the beginning of it.  He’s gonna come out hard, giving it his all.  With the addition of Trevor Ariza plus the fact that Marcus Thornton has developed into a legit player (and even another new guy, Marco Belinelli has been playing great), this is probably the best Hornets team that Paul has had.  So he’s gonna see if he can lead them to contention.  But if things unravel, expect the trade rumors to pop up again, with New York constantly mentioned as a top suitor.

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Lastly, Jared Zwerling on ESPNNewYork.com has a wonderful write-up on the Knicks’ open practice.  Here’s some of it, but I highly encourage you to read it in full as there’s a bunch more info in it:

Most casual fans, who simply see a D’Antoni team that likes to speed up the tempo, really got to understand the different elements of his offensive schemes, especially thanks to Allan Houston, who provided some color commentary throughout the practice.

First, D’Antoni started with a five-man drill with a shadow defense that had the one push the ball up the court and come off a pick-and-roll with the five, and then kick it out to the two or three on the wing. From there, the players utilized quick passing, backdoor cuts and step-outs to the three-point line to score usually within 10 seconds from when the opposite-end rebound was made. Houston said the point of the drill was to help the players find a rhythm and timeliness on the court, especially because there are 11 new faces this season, and to score quickly without hardly dribbling the ball.

Topics: Allan Houston, Chris Paul, Dancing Harry, Eddy Curry, Landry Fields, Mike D'Antoni, New Orleans Hornets, Patrick Ewing Jr., Timofey Mozgov

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  • http://www.shattertheglass.com bgalella

    The Hornets are going to be brutal this season, Trevor Ariza isn’t the second option the team thinks he will be (ask Houston) and I think things can go sour pretty quickly in New Orleans.

    • http://bucketsoverbroadway.com Alex David, aka Short White Boy

      I think David West will remain the second option. I imagine Ariza will be used more to fill the lanes on the fast break, and in the half-court either CP3 will drive or give it to West, who will then kick it out to Ariza on the 3-point line if the the D collapses (and then he can either drive or shoot). I doubt they’ll just give it Ariza and ask him to just create for himself as he often had to do in Houston.