KNICKS SET FOR CAMP SARATOGA
By MARC BERMAN
Posted: 4:18 am
September 28, 2008
Saratoga is a quaint upstate town made famous in the 1800s for its mineral springs that contain therapeutic healing powers. Saratoga has its work cut out for itself this week. The moribund Knicks New York Knicks come to town for training camp - a crippled franchise trying to heal.
President Donnie Walsh moved the training-camp venue from Charleston to change the culture.
He's tired of hearing the same comments walking the streets. "It's mostly, you got to fix the Knicks, expletive, expletive," Walsh said. Walsh did little to enhance the 23-59 Knicks, his biggest move adding marquee coach Mike D'Antoni. First practice is at Skidmore College on Tuesday. Good luck, Saratoga.
FIVE KEYS TO CAMP
* Stephon Marbury Stephon Marbury finds himself in a point-guard battle with their prime addition, Chris Duhon and possibly in a battle with brass. Marbury won't be happy if he feels they're keeping him around an extra few weeks just to prevent him from signing with a conference rival. When Walsh was asked if that was a factor, the president said, "Not really. I know that's gotten publicized. I think I said that once. You hate to pay a guy money and then he's playing for another team for lesser money." Duhon is still trying to find the right chemistry with his teammates. D'Antoni feels Duhon fits better in facilitating his run-and-gun, but Marbury's down to a svelte 197 pounds.
* Overweight Eddy Curry Eddy Curry has made a bad first impression with the new regime, putting his starting center duties in jeopardy. Curry is ultra secretive about his weight, but a source claims he came in over 300 pounds. Considering he knew he needed to be lighter to excel in D'Antoni's breakneck offense, Curry may be looking to get moved. "This isn't an easy style for a man as big as he is," Walsh said. "If he can get himself in that kind of condition - that may take him some time - he is a very good athlete for a big man."
* The bright spot of camp, and this season, could be second-year forward Wilson Chandler, brilliant during summer league and during recent informal scrimmages. Chandler has a real chance to make the starting lineup - either at small or power forward, if Zach Randolph isn't cutting it. Don't be shocked if D'Antoni's Knicks go smallball and start Chandler at power forward and David Lee at center. Isiah Thomas nailed Chandler at No. 23. "He could be a find," Walsh said. "He definitely can fit in this style."
* Danilo Gallinari's injured back may ruin his rookie year. Gallinari will miss all of Saratoga's practices and D'Antoni says he might not be 100 percent until late in preseason. With D'Antoni going with a nine-man rotation, Gallinari's chances of cracking it this season appear slim. Worse, Gallinari is showing signs he could be the Italian Jerome James.
* Allan Houston will try to catch lightning in a bottle. He can probably make the team but not the rotation, and D'Antoni isn't sure the fourth-leading scorer in Knicks history can handle that role. Walsh said Houston would be kept on in a front-office role if the tryout fails.
"There's really no reason not to try," D'Antoni said. "I have no idea if his body will hold up to two-a-days or one-a-days. He's one of the best shooters in the world. We'll see if we have a role for him."