Stanford graduate and Knicks rookie Landry Fields had a solid season opener on Tuesday night, playing 30 minutes in New York’s 98-93 victory over the Toronto Raptors and leading all Knicks starters in +/-. According to the New York Post, Knicks fans should probably get used to Fields being in the starting lineup:
This is no shooting-guard experiment. Mike D’Antoni foresees rookie Landry Fields spending the entire season as the starting shooting guard.
“All year,” D’Antoni said when asked how long this could last. “I’d be surprised if he can’t do it.”
Fields had a rock-solid NBA debut last night in Toronto, with 11 points, making 4-of-8 shots – 3-of-6 from 3-point distance. The gritty ex-Stanford player also had four rebounds and tomorrow the second-round pick who wasn’t on some NBA draft boards goes up against shooting guard legend Ray Allen at the new Boston Garden.
“The best part of his game is all the little stuff,” D’Antoni said. “He’ll do what the game plan is. It’s the consistency of all the details of the game that makes him unique. Normally you look at inconsistency as a rookie but I don’t see that. He didn’t look nervous whatsoever.”
In Summer League, Fields’ feel for the “little things” was quickly apparent — he always knows where to be and what to do with the ball in any situation. Mike D’Antoni’s system isn’t just about speed and three-point shooting — it’s about having versatile players who have enough feel for the game to improvise effectively and defend multiple positions, and that’s what Fields does best.
Also, D’Antoni doesn’t have many great alternatives at the starting two-guard spot right now; potential Fields replacements Roger Mason and Bill Walker combined to go 0-9 from the field in the Knicks’ opener, so Knicks fans had better hope the 22-year old rookie is up to the challenge of starting.
We had an efficient Carmelo Anthony sighting in the preseason.
Anthony and the Knicks went up against the Wizards and ‘Melo hit 10-of-15 shots to score 21 points. He also had four rebounds and four assists.
Derrick Williams had 23 points on 11 shots to lead the Knicks in scoring, and New York won 115-104.
There’s this overplayed angle talked about by some fans and pundits suggesting the Warriors just got lucky last season — for example, they faced a banged-up Rockets’ team in the conference finals then a Cavaliers’ squad without two of their big three through the Finals. Then there was Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers saying the Warriors were lucky not having to play the Clippers or Spurs in the postseason.
The Warriors are sick of hearing they were lucky.
Friday Klay Thompson fired back at Rivers, via CSNBayArea.com.
– “I wanted to play the Clippers last year, but they couldn’t handle their business.”
– “If we got lucky, look at our record against them last year (Warriors 3-1). I’m pretty sure we smacked them.”
– “Didn’t they lose to the Rockets? Exactly. So haha. That just makes me laugh. That’s funny. Weren’t they up 3-1 too?”
– “Yeah, tell them I said that. That’s funny. That’s funny.”
Warriors big man Andrew Bogut phrased it differently.
If you think the Warriors just won because they were lucky — you are dead wrong.
They were the best team in the NBA last season, bar none. They won 67 regular season games in a tough conference, then beat everyone in their path to win a title. Did they catch some breaks along the way, particularly with health? You bet. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant didn’t win a title without catching some breaks along the way, either. Nobody does. Luck plays a role, but it was not the primary factor in why the Warriors are champs.
All this talk of them getting lucky is fuel for the fire they needed not to be complacent this season. Way to give the defending champs bulletin board material, Doc.