LOS ANGELES — Marcus Camby will return to the Knicks lineup against the Lakers, head coach Mike Woodson confirmed to reporters outside the New York locker room a little more than an hour before tip-off.
“We’re going to put him in there,” Woodson said. “We’re going to need him based on the bigs that they have up front, so he will play.”
Camby has missed the last 14 games due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
Woodson said he’s unsure what to expect from Camby in terms of how many minutes he can go, or exactly what level of production he’ll be getting from his veteran big man given his extended absence.
“I don’t know, I mean, I’ve got to gauge it as we go along,” he said. “It’s not like I can sit here and say he’s going to play 30 minutes. I’d be lying when I say that, because he just hasn’t had enough court time yet. So we’ll gauge it as we go along.”
Woodson was pressed further to see if he thought he’d get a sustained stretch out of Camby, but he refused to speculate.
“I really don’t know, honest to God I don’t,” he said. “Because he just hasn’t had a chance to practice. We’ll put him out there and just see how it goes. Hell, he might get out there and have a ell of a game for us, so that’s what I’m expecting. We’ll see.”
Camby hasn’t played much at all for the Knicks this season, appearing in just six games and playing a total of 42 minutes. Now in his 19th season, Camby has career averages of 9.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 2.4 blocked shots per game.
The Jazz waived Cotton before the season despite Dante Exum‘s injury leaving them with just two other healthy point guards. That says something about Cotton – but also Utah’s depth.
Cotton – who went undrafted out of Providence last year – is quick, varies his speed well and can leap. There’s reason to believe in his potential at age 23. But his 6-foot-1 frame limits him defensively, and he’s not much of a distributor.
Plumlee lowered his head and tried to barrel through Butler’s chest on a Butler screen. Butler fell and retaliated by putting Plumlee in a leg lock, causing Plumlee to fall.
You might remember a leg lock as what Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova did to Bulls forward Taj Gibson during last year’s playoffs. For all the talk then of Dellavedova being a dirty player, Butler seems particularly aggrieved after getting a technical foul, which comes with a $2,500 fine – the same penalty Dellavedova eventually received. (Plumlee got a flagrant foul.)
“He thought he was playing football for a second there,” Butler said. “Almost had to let the Fort Greene Projects out of me, Brooklyn, you know what I’m saying?”
It was said tongue in cheek considering Gibson was a few feet over and Butler wanted to draw some laughs. Gibson is a Brooklyn native and grew up in the Fort Greene Projects while Butler grew up in Tomball, Texas.
It was no laughing matter when he said he would find a way to approach Plumlee about the fine money, jokingly suggesting he would have his agent email him at “Mr. Dukie@yahoo.com or something” and made a joke about Mike Dunleavy applauding Plumlee’s act.
Plumlee and Dunleavy are products of Duke University.
“Yeah, he cost me 2,500,” Butler said. “I’m not happy about that. Gonna ask him to pay me back and I’m not playing.”
“It’s nothing punitive,” Skiles said after the Magic’s shootaround.
“It’s just we feel like we’ve got to try to find a little bit better balance. I’d like Victor to have some more opportunities like he’s had a little bit in the past where he can be on top of the floor and attack and get a little bit more vertical and not only get to the rim but just be a little bit more on the attack but not necessarily start the game that way.”
Here are the offensive/defensive/net ratings for the
Former starting lineup: 94.7/111.2/-16.5
New starting lineup: 117.2/90.3/+26.8
The new unit has played just 33 minutes in two games, so major sample-size caveats apply. But I like idea of seeing more of what has worked.
I suspect Skiles also wants to keep his players from becoming content. At 6-8 and coming off three straight seasons outside the playoffs, they should have no reason to feel satisfied, but the hard-driving Skiles will be proactive.
If Oladipo – whose defense Skiles values – can get sent to the bench, anyone can.
At some point, the Magic must determine whether Oladipo and Payton – both below-average 3-point shooters – can share a backcourt. But it’s also worth knowing whether Oladipo can excel as a super sub leading bench players.
This switch might help the Magic win now, but at worse, it’ll give them more information for evaluating their young roster. Seems smart all around.