Mike D'Antoni, Toney Douglas

If the Knicks are looking for a point guard, where does that put Toney Douglas?

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As Kurt noted earlier today, Jonathan Abrams of the New York Times reported that the Knicks are looking for backup point guard help on the cheap, in order to keep Raymond Felton as rested and healthy as possible.

That news immediately calls the future of Toney Douglas to the forefront of the conversation. Douglas ran the point for the Knicks at times last season, manned the 1 at the Vegas Summer League, and indeed, does supply some minutes behind Felton. However, those concerned that the addition of another point guard would bury Douglas in the rotation need not worry; while the knowledge of the Knicks’ interests does give us a solid read on Mike D’Antoni’s opinion of Douglas’ playmaking skills at present, it’s hardly a death sentence for New York’s young scoring guard.

According to 82games.com, the lineups in which Douglas is used most frequently used actually feature Felton running the point with Douglas as the off guard. In fact, Douglas is currently using 26% of the Knicks’ shooting guard minutes, compared to just 20% of the available point guard minutes. While that playing time at PG is sure to decrease or even disappear altogether should the Knicks find their suitable backup, Douglas will still log minutes in the backcourt and could conceivably see his time at shooting guard increase. Abrams’ report detailed that the Knicks may be open to moving swingman Bill Walker, and if Walker does end up as an outgoing component in any trade, that would free up an additional 15% of the Knicks’s shooting guard minutes for players like Douglas to claim.

It’s possible that Douglas’ overall minutes could take a slight dip if the team no longer needs him to take care of ball-handling/playmaking responsibilities, but he’d also be freed up to create for himself without having to worry about triggering the offense.

If Douglas’ underground supporters in NYC should be worried about anything, it’s the eventual return of Kelenna Azubuike. Azubuike was once considered the favorite to start for the Knicks at the 2, but a bum knee has prevented him from playing any games thus far this season. Azubuike continues to recover and rehab, and once he’s ready to make his Knicks debut, he’ll surely take a slice of everyone’s minutes at shooting guard. Douglas’ playing time should more or less be safe until then (even if his responsibilities change slightly), but Azubuike poses a real threat of pushing Douglas down a peg in the rotation.

Carmelo Anthony says he can play at high level 4-5 more years

USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp

Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.

He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:

In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”

“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.

The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.

Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.

Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.