In the future, everybody will be the savior of the Knicks franchise for 15 minutes.
Earl Baron, come on down, your 15 minutes have begun.
Mike D’Antoni tried his most radical lineup yet against the Boston Celtics Tuesday night — a traditional one. Baron, a 7-footer called up from the D-League started at center, allowing David Lee to move to his proper four spot. Not that D’Antoni had a ton of options, Al Harrington is out with a sore left ankle and they faced a Celtics team with as big a front line as there is in the League.
But it worked, Baron put up 17 points on 8 of 13 shooting and grabbed 18 boards. D’Antoni didn’t know anything about Baron when the Knicks gave him a contract, but he told the NY Post he likes what he sees.
“I didn’t expect anything at all,” D’Antoni said. “Two games in a row, he’s played real well, real smart, good shape. A lot of good things. The biggest thing he gives us [is] the athleticism inside that David doesn’t have to be the lone shot-blocker. He can’t be. We have someone alongside of him that could help him out.”
You know, defense. The Knicks held the Celtics to 47.7 percent eFG% (which is a shooting percentage that takes into account three pointers), which is five points below their season average. Baron was a key part of that, he was badass for a night.
One good game means about as much as one more Knicks win. Which is to say nothing. Baron is not the answer to all the Knicks problems. But he is going to get more minutes, more of a look, and the chance next season he is not a call up to the NBA.
He’s not the savior in New York, but he gets to play the role. At least until the next one comes along.
When you hear player comparisons for Knicks rookie, the most common is Dirk Nowitzki — a European big with ridiculous shooting range and potential to embarrass anyone.
So did he grow up idolizing Dirk? Not so much.
Rather, like many of his generation, he grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant, he told Mike Francesa of WFAN.
“My favorite player growing up was Kobe. The Lakers were my team and I still love him.”
There is an entire generation of NBA players — and just fans — who would say the same thing.
In the interview, Porzingis laments his missed shots and turnovers, he thinks he can be a lot better. That is exactly what you want out of a rookie. It’s a huge adjustment playing at the NBA level, the speed of the game and IQ is a leap from Europe (or college). Recognizing the challenge is part of it.
There’s a lot to like in Porzingis. He could be special (we don’t know yet, we see only the potential). But idolizing Kobe — and if you understand the work he put in, the passion for the game — can be a good start.
(Hat tip NBA reddit)
If you’re looking for a “when are things going to go wrong for the Warriors” moment, we have one for you. But it may not be what you had hoped for.
Warriors’ interim head coach Luke Walton — the guy on the sidelines for the 15 (soon to be 16) game winning streak — had his car stolen during a crime spree, reports NBCBayArea.com.
One of the cars stolen during an Oakland Hills crime spree belongs to Golden State Warriors coach Luke Walton, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said late Monday.
Walton’s Mercedes Benz was stolen Tuesday by two suspects, who police believe are also responsible for a violent attack on a 75-year-old woman outside her home on Thursday. The suspects also took the woman’s car during the attack, according to police.
Yikes. That’s serious.
I’m sure Steve Kerr has like 14 cars, he can loan one to Walton.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Pacers guard George Hill returned to the lineup Tuesday night against Washington after missing three games with an upper respiratory infection.
Hill is averaging 14 points and just under 37 minutes in 10 games this season. He was on the bench in case of emergency in Saturday’s victory over Milwaukee.
Coach Frank Vogel said Tuesday Hill’s infection had improved “to the point where he’s fine to play,” but would keep an eye out for fatigue after an 11-day layoff.
Remember how Adam Silver was preaching that the league didn’t want to change the intentional foul rule — the hack-a-Shaq strategy — because it was really about two players (DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard) and a handful of others now and then. The fact that it’s not basketball didn’t matter.
Well, it’s not just two — Miami’s Hassan Whiteside has gotten the treatment this season. He’s a 53.4 percent free throw shooter this season.
And he says bring it on. From Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post:
“I’m enjoying this,” he said. “Foul me so I can get a double-double and we can win. It’s not working, so keep fouling me.”
He’s even smart at not getting fouled.
Whiteside also is liking that teams are looking at their options against the best defense in the NBA — yes, Miami at 94 points allowed per 100 possessions, is the best defense in the NBA right now — and deciding to attack Whiteside.
“There’s teams that’s out there that say ‘Stay away from Hassan,’ and there’s teams that say, ‘We don’t care if Hassan’s down there. Attack Hassan.’ I love them teams that do that. God bless them coaches. I love them teams.”
Whiteside is not as great a defender as the block totals would indicate — if he doesn’t see a block in it, his rotations can be a bit slow. One scout recently called him a selfish defender to me recently, suggesting he is in it for the numbers, not the sacrifices needed for an elite defense. True or not, the Heat have an elite defense and Whiteside is at the heart of it.
And if the strategy is to try to exploit him, Whiteside plans to make people pay.