Rasheed Wallace hasn’t played a game for the Knicks since mid-December due to a stress fracture that later required surgery, but he may be ready to come back just in time for New York’s trip to the postseason.
From Marc Berman of the New York Post:
Rasheed Wallace could play for the first time since mid-December tomorrow when the Knicks visit Charlotte, Mike Woodson said.
Wallace, who had foot surgery in late February, is significantly ahead of schedule. Wallace was on the court running today on the Garden floor before they faced the Pacers in an attempt to clinch the second seed and draw No. 7 Boston.
Woodson said back in March that if the Knicks added a player to bolster their injury-ravaged roster that Wallace was safe, and perhaps now we know the reason why. Wallace had the surgery at the end of February, and the team said the timetable for his return was eight weeks, which would mean his expected return to action is slightly ahead of schedule.
New York signed Solomon Jones this week, and ended up releasing Kurt Thomas. With Kenyon Martin and Tyson Chandler both unavailable due to injury, Jones actually got the start for the Knicks on Sunday against the Pacers.
Having Wallace back will be a nice boost to the team’s frontline depth as the Knicks head into the playoffs. Wallace has appeared in 20 games for New York, and is averaging 7.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per game this season.
The Knicks finally realized 38-year-old Rasheed Wallace, 39-year-old Marcus Camby and 40-year-old Kurt Thomas might not hold up for a full season as the team’s backup bigs. After initial reports they would waive Thomas and sign James Singleton, the Knicks will actually do something about their old and injured frontcourt. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:
The New York Knicks will sign center Solomon Jones for the rest of the season
Howard Beck of The New York Times:
Singleton fell through
Jones and Singleton both played in China this season, and they posted similar basic stats:
- Jones: 15.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game
- Singleton: 15.2 and 11.0 rebounds per game
New York will be Jones’ fifth NBA stop – he previously played for the Hawks, Pacers, Clippers and Hornets – and it’s unlikely a fringe NBA player will change the Knicks’ season. But he’s healthy enough to get on the court, and that’s progress from the Knicks’ current situation.
UPDATE: April 12, 1 p.m. ET: The deal for James Singleton fell through due to some issue with his being released from his Chinese team, so the Knicks signed Solomon Jones instead.
April 10: The Knicks need frontline help, with so many of the veterans they brought in to fill those positions having been lost due to injury.
The team had been stubborn with the roster spots of Kurt Thomas, Marcus Camby, and Rasheed Wallace up until this point, preferring to wait out the injuries instead of cutting someone loose to create a roster spot in order to bring in a healthy contributor.
With New York riding a 13-game winning streak, and with just five games left in the regular season, the Knicks have finally decided to shore up their roster before their run through the postseason begins.
From Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:
Isola later confirmed that Thomas would be released, and is scheduled to have surgery on his injured right foot next week.
Singleton is about the same size as Thomas, but plays a more athletic and less prodding game than Thomas does at this stage of his career. He played in China most recently, and averaged 15 points and 11 rebounds in 21 games during their 2012-13 season.
As far as NBA experience goes, Singleton has had stints with the Clippers, Mavericks, and the Wizards, while appearing in 12 games for Washington during the 2011-12 season.
The Knicks, as pointed out by Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal, often start players like James White and Kurt Thomas and then give them very few minutes.
Herring uses a couple different benchmarks – five or fewer minutes, fewer than 16 minutes – but, either way, the Knicks lead the league by a wide margin.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson was asked about the practice:
“By starting them, you’re putting them on a stage to start in an NBA game, and guaranteeing that the player is going to go out and make the most of his minutes,” Woodson said. “Guys like [White] and Chris Copeland, they know they aren’t going to get 30 or 35 minutes, and that it might be only four or five instead. So they have to go all out. And [as a coach], you hope that helps get you off to a good start.”
I have no idea whether this is a sound strategy. But I absolutely love it.
Woodson was criticized in Atlanta for his simplistic Iso-Joe scheme, even though the Hawks had the NBA’s second-best offensive rating in his final season there. The problem was aesthetic more than anything. Fans don’t enjoy watching boring boring basketball.
But this is creative – maybe even innovative – and Woodson should get credit for thinking outside the box in an effort to help his team win more.
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Your soon-to-be NBA Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard was on NBC Sports Network’s The Crossover Tuesday (with Michelle Beadle and Dave Briggs, you’ll be able to tell them apart in the video) to talk about his one great weakness — a fear of historical statues. Seriously. Which is odd and interesting but difficult to use against him in games. (Insert your own “Kurt Thomas is a historic statue” joke here.)
Also he talks about why he tweets rap lyrics. Oh, and a little hoops. Plus his to-be-praised involvement in an anti-bullying campaign.
Lillard is a good guy, a good fit in the Portland community. He’s a good sport in this interview, too.