They tried Ronny Turiaf. They tried Timofey Mozgov. But finally, Mike D’Antoni has found his man.
Wait, Jared Jeffries? As in the guy the Knicks signed off the street a week ago is now locked in as their starting center?
Yup. There was a thought he might get the job and D’Antoni told Chris Sheridan of ESPN New York he’s got the spot locked down.
“He’s a very good defensive player, he moves the ball, he understands what we want done, he gives us that multiple possessions on the offensive rebounding, tapping balls out. He’s just an energy guy that kind of glues everything together,” D’Antoni said. “He’s a valuable piece for us although he doesn’t score, but he doesn’t have to. This team is a little bit different than a normal team. You don’t have to space the floor as much because you have such good individual players, so I just think it’s a perfect fit for us.”
I wouldn’t run out and add him to my fantasy team — he’s played 100 minutes in four games for the Knicks since the signing and is 0-for-4 from the field with one point. What he does give them is a guy who can board reasonably well, and he has defended well enough to make D’Antoni happy.
He is not a big, powerful center that would be able to handle a Dwight Howard or Shaquille O’Neal. But that may not be an immediate concern. There’s still six weeks of season and things could change, but it is starting to shape up like the Knicks will get the Heat or Bulls in the first round of the playoffs — two teams without traditional scoring centers in the middle. Joakim Noah can score but he is mostly there for defense, rebounding and energy. The Heat are starting Erick Dampier at center and while he can score a little it’s not like he will be a featured part of the offense.
So Jeffries is your man, for better or for worse. Good luck with that New York.