Copeland: 'This is a really motivated team'
Sep 18, 2012 7:00 AM
By Jared Zwerling
While Chris Copeland may not be a Knick after January -- that's when the team can shut down his salary because it's non-guaranteed -- he, like many of the younger players (mostly training camp invites), are already getting their money's worth.
It's only been about a week or so since most of the team arrived at the Knicks' practice facility for workouts, and Copeland has received mentoring from Amare Stoudemire (a similar position player) and learned defensive cues from Jason Kidd, Iman Shumpert and Ronnie Brewer. Perhaps this week, he'll even get to work with Hakeem Olajuwon, who's stopping by Greenburgh, N.Y., to offer post-up instruction.
Not bad for an NBA rookie, right? It's not often when you're surrounded by All-Stars, Finals contenders and Olympians.
"I've gotten a lot of advice from those guys," Copeland told ESPNNewYork.com. "That's the exciting part about it -- just shaking hands and asking questions. You can really learn a lot. No matter what happens -- some of us know it's not a guaranteed situation -- even the time I spent with them already has been amazing."
The standout veterans have rubbed off on Copeland so much that he's really only ventured into the city once to see Times Square. He's been mainly staying with his girlfriend in White Plains, where many of the rookies and new players are living, and basically only driving back and forth to the practice center. While he knows he has "a lot of work to do," he's also following the collective lead.
"This is a really motivated team -- even the guys that are coming back from injuries," Copeland said. "You look at Iman's work ethic, it's unbelievable. Ronnie's work ethic is unbelievable. We have what it takes to score and make stops. From a defensive standpoint, I think we have every piece of the puzzle. Marcus Camby and Tyson Chandler at the five spot -- I think that says it all in itself. We have pieces all around that can do amazing work."
Copeland said everyone right now is mostly focused on their individual running and weightlifting routines with the Knicks' trainers. His goal is to get into the best shape possible, but he's not looking to add weight. The 6-8 forward is happy at 231 pounds.
"I think that's a nice healthy weight," he said. "It gives me enough weight to bang with forwards and still move with the wings if I have to."
Copeland played well during the Las Vegas summer league in July, showing that he could be a stretch four with his ability to shoot the three and play inside. While the coaching staff is not allowed to be present until media day, which is Oct. 1, Stoudemire has already given Copeland some direction.
"He said a big thing for me is to come in and be an energy guy," Copeland said. "Offensively, he told me I had a lot of tools that can definitely help. But at the end of the day, it's about bringing effort and making sure I'm valuable on both sides of the ball."
Copeland also had a chance to speak with Kidd about not only making plays, but also making stops. Copeland knows he's a versatile scorer, but his priority in training camp is to make his mark on the defensive end, where the Knicks are better positioned this season.
"I talked to Jason Kidd a week ago and just picked his brain about different things -- about how to read the floor differently from an offensive standpoint," he said. "I also asked him about defensive schemes and how to push guys certain ways. It's just great to have those guys with so much experience. Kidd's a championship guy. I think it's important I show I can really lock down guys and play great defense. That's one of the things I'm trying to learn from the guys."
That could likely even include The Dream.
"That would be an amazing, amazing experience. I hope so," Copeland said. "That's one of the greatest centers of all-time, one of the greatest players of all-time, and as far as footwork, it doesn't get any better."
THE ARGENTINE HAS ARRIVED: New Knick Pablo Prigioni, who was the starting point guard on the Argentine national team during the Olympics, touched down this week in New York. He provided ESPNNewYork.com with this update:
"Yes I am here! My family and I (wife, Raquel, and children, Alessandra, 6, and Nicolas, 3) are trying to organize here in White Plains. We found the perfect schools for my kids, so we are very happy for that. We rented an apartment, a car and got our social security numbers, etc. So every day, we're getting better situated. Also, I started to work at the Knicks' facility and I feel really good. I'm so excited to start practice with all team together. See everyone soon!"
Hopefully all works well for him, and in turn for the team.
Can he play the 4, is what I wanna know.
Sep 18, 2012, 12:26
I do NOT want copeland as our backup 4.. I don't think he has a spot on this team really other than 3rd string sf behind Melo and Novak
Sep 18, 2012, 13:56
I can see Copeland making the team & i can actually see him out performing the other training camp invites
Copelands a BIG that has range, Ability to iso Create his own shot, and has the ability to perform post moves & we are somewhat weak at the PF position minus Stat and Thomas we don't have any other legit backup PF so i voted LIKELY he'll make the team
I personally prefer shurna to make the roster, he has a ugly jumper but that kid is lights out from downtown, i could see him becoming a fan favorite quickly ... he reminds me of a poor mans Novak... but with more athleticism & energy.
The only concern i have with Shurna is his release form, it's pretty easy to block.. it would be interesting to see if he can adjust to the NBA.
Anyway, it's cool to see Copeland getting some mentoring from STAT and may get the opportunity to work with Hakeem & Pablo sounds like he's pumped to get some practice work in.
Sep 18, 2012, 14:06
We got too many wings.
Sep 18, 2012, 15:00
agree with metro. with melo likely playing around 42 minutes a night why do we need all the sg/sf/pf tweeners like copeland?
Still it's nice to hear about the players working together and our vets offering up advice to a kid that seems to have some potential and drive.
Sep 18, 2012, 16:24
Don't want him, don't need him. Rather keep Sims myself.
Sep 18, 2012, 21:04
New New York
I loved hearing about our guys working out and can never hear enough about Shump's work ethic (kid is a monster!!)
About Copeland....too many bad habits on the offensive end
He has a PF build but tries to play like a SF/PF combo (Tries to be Melo when he has the skill set and body of Kurt Thomas)
He has no lift on his jump shot ( appears to be his primary weapon) which he takes lots of them contested thus it would result in him getting it thrown back in his face in The NBA.
He'd rather shoot jumpers over smaller defenders rather than bang them in the post
Puts the ball on the floor too much.
Probably gets cut if we add a veteren backup 4
Sep 23, 2012, 22:24
he plays soft and i just didnt see any that pops out. i though he was going to beast on that block like the yt videos. nope, he shot more outside and bricked. he got out rebound and out positioned.
this was only one game i got to watch, though. since i was at las vegas at that time, i decided to checked the knicks/raptors game.
but, who knows. i wont lay judgement until he plays the the actual team. and it's a big "IF".
Sep 23, 2012, 23:02
Hes an oversized shooting guard, a poor mans Amarknee