As the New York Knicks prepare to do battle with the Washington Wizards on Thursday in their fourth preseason game, all eyes should be on former lottery pick Cole Aldrich.
The former Kansas product is in a battle with the likes of Ike Diogu and Josh Powell for what is likely one, possibly two roster spots.
Through the first three of the Knicks preseason games, Aldrich has done very little to impress. He’s only received a little over 12 minutes per contest, including only five minutes against the Toronto Raptors in the Knicks second preseason game.
Aldrich hasn’t done much with the opportunity, scoring a total of four points while grabbing 12 boards, which makes you wonder if the former Jayhawk is tough enough to make the Knicks roster out of camp.
Knicks head coach Mike Woodson seems to have his doubts.
Woodson recently criticized Aldrich’s play, saying that he needed to see more “toughness” out of the seven-footer and the willingness to do the “dirty work.”
When you look at Aldrich’s competition, Powell had an average first two games while Aldrich and Diogu did next to nothing. But Diogu exploded against the Boston Celtics in the Knicks third preseason game, which at the minimum should have opened up some eyes on the coaching staff.
But despite the criticism from Woodson, Aldrich may still have a leg up on the competition and should still be a favorite to make the roster.
The simple fact that he is a true center, being that he is the only other one on the roster besides Tyson Chandler, should give him a slight edge if the race is close.
That being said, Aldrich has a few more preseason games remaining to show that he is tough enough to make the roster, as he won’t have a roster spot simply handed to him.
Either way, I would expect the decision to come down to the final day as Woodson and his staff still have time to evaluate all three options.
“Powell and Ike and Cole, they’re competing for a spot. One of them has a good chance to make it,” Woodson tells ESPNNewYork.com.
However even if Aldrich does make the team out of camp, he is going to have to show that he belongs in the limited minutes he receives.
If he doesn’t, I fully expect Knicks’ general manager Steve Mills to look for other options at center once other teams make their cuts.
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