SARATOGA SPRINGS -- When the Las Vegas summer league was over in July, coach [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] did not think he had his backup point guard for 2009-2010.
Rookie Toney Douglas, whom the Knicks drafted 29th after buying the Lakers' pick for $3 million, struggled in Vegas, shooting just 27.5 percent and not running the team to the coach's satisfaction. The Knicks went winless and D'Antoni went point-guard shopping.
"That's why we brought in every point guard that came through New York to work out," D'Antoni said.
In early August, Douglas began working out at the Knicks facility with a determined ferocity. Through three days of training camp at Skidmore College, D'Antoni is ready to pencil him in as Chris Duhon's backup.
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"I got in early and became a workaholic," Douglas said. "I stayed in the gym with the coaches shooting, worked the weight room. I made sure every aspect of my game got better."
The Knicks worked out Jason Williams, whom they felt was a step slow, and interviewed [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], whom they deemed as too much baggage. They pursued Ramon Sessions as a potential starter, but didn't want to eat up any cap room for 2010.
D'Antoni said he is glad Douglas is working out.
"He didn't have a good summer league, and it was a quick judgment and maybe made a mistake on," D'Antoni said. "He's a lot better than I thought. He might have ran out of steam at the end of the week, and I judged him on that not being ready. Give him credit though. I showed him things he had to work on and he did."
The irony is Douglas, out of Florida State, is expected to be in the rotation but their lottery pick, No. 8, Jordan Hill, is not.
"He makes the simple pass now," D'Antoni said. "Defensively I knew he had great instincts. I didn't know if he could make the simple pass and keep the flow up. He's shown signs of learning real quick."
The ACC Defensive Player of the Year isn't short on confidence.
"I feel like I can take on that role being the back-[up] point guard," Douglas said. "I knew coming in I was going to have a much better training camp. You just have confidence."
D'Antoni said he is hoping to limit Duhon's minutes to about 35 minutes per game tops, feeling he will be more effective. Duhon didn't have a true backup last season once D'Antoni decided Stephon Marbury wasn't going to play and wore down.
"It's only practice. It's when the lights come on," Duhon said. "But I have confidence he'll be able to do it. He's willing to learn. In Vegas, he tried to do too much. We won't miss a beat with him coming in."
With Nate Robinson having more of a shooting-guard mentality, D'Antoni said he envisions Douglas and Robinson playing together in a lightning-quick alignment.
"They're an intriguing tandem," D'Antoni said. "Together they can create havoc on the other team. They're so fast and dynamic."
this is great news, lokks like he's going to be our back-up Pg right out the gate and i think he has what it takes to be successful in this league, he's going to be a steal...the Mo Williams, Gilbert Arenas, Manu Ginobli type of steals
he has the work ethic he has the skills talent, and most importantly going to get the playing time to produce and my guess is by the end of the season he'll be our starter
how about Douglas being pivotal to our rotation and Hill not loll
im hyped to see this dude play