Daily News Saturday, May 17th 2008
by Mitch Lawrence
Garden favorites or not, more than a few Knicks' days are probably numbered. When the Suns had a chance to draft David Lee in 2005, Mike D'Antoni opposed it, citing Lee's lack of offensive skills.
Lee hasn't developed much of a game since, and hustle and rebounding only go so far for the Knicks' new coach. In Phoenix, he wanted his big men to be scoring threats from all over the court, and that probably won't change. So that doesn't bode well for Renaldo Balkman or Randolph Morris, either.
Despite his status with fans, Lee has limited range and trouble getting his shot off in traffic. When it comes to another member of the 2005 draft, D'Antoni is much higher on Nate Robinson, whom the Suns drafted and immediately packaged with Quentin Richardson for Kurt Thomas.
"Mike doesn't like guys like Lee who can't shoot," a D'Antoni confidant said. "He saw him as a non-scoring power forward when he came out of Florida. But that's why a guy like Jamal Crawford is going to be around. He will thrive in Mike's system. And he likes Nate a lot, too. Mike likes guys who can make plays from anywhere on the court."
Even Zach Randolph will have to diversify his game. In this case, "diversify" doesn't mean shooting more, as "Zebo" probably thinks. He'll have to do more than just catch, hold, dribble, hold, hold some more, and then shoot. Eddy Curry? Who knows what he'll have to do to play in D'Antoni's system - other than the obvious fact that he will have to get into the best shape of his life. Jerome James is a candidate for a buyout or to be packaged in a deal in which the Knicks trade Lee and require the other team to take James, too. On second thought, no one can be that desperate.