One day after hinting that Vin Baker might be pushing Nazr Mohammed for the Knicks' starting center job, coach Lenny Wilkens surprised both of them by starting 7-2 Croatian Bruno Sundov in the middle in a disappointing 113-89 exhibition loss to Utah last night at Delta Center.
It's hard to imagine this move amounting to much more than a kick in the pants for Mohammed and Baker, but Sundov has a feathery jump shot that has intrigued several coaches before Wilkens. The Knicks, who signed Sundov to a 10-day contract last season, are the fifth NBA team for which Sundov has played.
He had limited success with Indiana when Knicks president Isiah Thomas was coaching the Pacers, which explains why he's in New York with a solid second chance to at least stick on the 15-man roster. He was limited last night, too, scoring four points and grabbing three rebounds in 18 minutes.
"Bruno works hard in practice, and he's a big guy who can shoot the ball," Wilkens said yesterday. "We want to see him in an up-and-down situation and see what he looks like. He's not a banger, but he can score. You can't slough off and not guard him."
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