Former New York Knicks head coach turned broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy got the chance to weigh in on his former team’s roller coaster of an offseason in which the Knicks let Jeremy Lin walk, but chose instead to bring aboard a slew of NBA veterans that included: Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Raymond Felton, Kurt Thomas, Pablo Prigioni, Ronnie Brewer and others.
Like Van Gundy, current head coach Mike Woodson is a defensive-minded coach and the acquisitions should help this team compete for a championship in 2013.
Here’s an excerpt of what Van Gundy had to say to ESPN’s Jared Zwerling last week.
JVG feels the additions will improve a Knicks team that got better down the stretch defensively under Woodson.
It will be interesting with [Raymond] Felton back at the point how they can pressure the ball and also with [Iman] Shumpert out due to injury. Ronnie Brewer gives them length and quickness, and Camby has had a remarkable career and he’s an extremely intelligent player overall. Defensively, in combination with [Tyson] Chandler, they will always have shot-blocking and intelligence along the back line.
In addition, the former Knicks coach told Zwerling that he is looking forward to seeing if the Knicks can maintain the defensive intensity under Woodson for an 82-game season. Like Woodson, Van Gundy also took over the Knicks in the middle of a season. JVG says his success was due in part to the fact that his best players bought into doing the little things, especially on the defensive end of the floor.
That means current players such as Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire must buy in at both ends of the floor for an entire season for the Knicks to have success.
I think you can’t just leave the grunt, blue-collar work for others. The best players have to commit, and I was fortunate. I didn’t have to sell that. They already knew that from their time previously with other coaches, so my job was relatively simple.
That’s a stance that former Knicks forward Charles Oakley already made by calling out both Knicks superstars for their sometimes lack of effort at the defensive end of the floor.
As for Van Gundy, he’s the best analyst in the business and I respect his opinion.
I also like what the team has done this offseason for similar reasons to what Van Gundy stated. It will be interesting to see if ‘Melo and STAT can buy in for an entire season as I also feel that’s of major importance.
We won’t have to wait long though as camp is only a couple months away.
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