The Knicks haven’t shown any signs of a team struggling to deal with injuries. On the way to a 3-0 start that has New York as the league’s lone remaining undefeated team, the Knicks have allowed an NBA-best 85.3 points per game, and have shown similar success on the defensive end even when adjusting for pace, where New York is third-best in the league at allowing just 93 points per 100 possessions.
Defense is not an area that needs improving right now, which makes the impending return of veteran center Marcus Camby that much sweeter.
Camby is expected to make his season debut for the Knicks on Friday when the team hosts the Dallas Mavericks, reports Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com:
“I can’t give you the minutes (Camby will play against Dallas), but he’ll play tomorrow, absolutely,” [Knicks head coach Mike Woodson] said.
So how much can he play on Friday?
“Whatever is needed of me,” Camby said. “They haven’t needed me the first three ballgames, so I just want to come in here and add to what we’ve already been building.”
Camby will be added depth for New York’s front line, and can provide more solid minutes than Kurt Thomas has in his limited role in the team’s first three games of the season. In addition, he can be a legitimate backup for Tyson Chandler, especially defensively, as the season drags on and the team faces opponents who will pose more of of an offensive challenge.
One area where Camby can help immediately is with rebounding, a specialty of his and a problem thus far for the Knicks. Advanced numbers have New York near the bottom of the league in rebound rate, and even by the most basic count of rebounds per game, the Knicks rank just 21st overall. Camby has a career average of almost 10 per game.
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.
Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.
His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.
Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.
Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.
As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.
Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.
Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.
Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.
Maybe a little too pumped.
That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.
Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.
(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)
The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.
While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”
Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”
We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.
Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.