The Knicks have Amare Stoudemire, but he is still on a minutes restriction and really hasn’t been the most impressive Knick player this preseason.
The Knicks have Andrea Bargnani, but he has a strained hamstring. Plus, he’s Andrea Bargnani.
That opened the door for Quincy Acy and he — and his enormous beard — pushed through it, being one of the most energetic and defensive-minded Knicks in the preseason. Acy has started the past three Knicks preseason games and appears to have earned himself the starting spot when the season tips off in less than two weeks, reports Marc Berman at the New York Post.
“No I didn’t plan on coming here to start,’’ Acy told The Post with a chuckle. “I planned on coming here and playing hard to earn minutes. I guess I impressed enough with my defense to earn a spot. I don’t know what coach got going if I’m starting or coming off the bench or not playing, but I’ll be happy.’’
“I think that separates myself — just high energy,’’ Acy said. “Not a lot of guys in the league do the things I do. I take pride in it and take pride in my defense and take some pride in being a great overall teammate.’’
To quote a line I got from David Thorpe: Energy is a skill.
That has been the key — this feels a lot like how Kenneth Faried ended up a starter and key piece for Team USA at the World Cup. Injuries and defections opened the door for Faried, but his energy and rebounding turned out to be just what that team needed for glue and some inspiration.
Acy is bringing that to the Knicks this preseason — he goes all out every second he’s on the court. It’s not exactly something the Knicks have been known for in recent years. The Knicks traded for Acy this summer in a deal that was really more about dumping Wayne Ellington’s contract. Acy was seen as a slightly more efficient scorer than Jeremy Tyler plus a guy who busts it every time on the court.
But Acy has earned his way into the starting lineup (with Jose Calderon, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony and Samuel Dalembert). Personally I think Bargnani is better coming off the bench (insert your own joke here about coming off the bench in Italy next season if you want). It will be a matchup thing, at times Bargnani and Stoudemire will be a better fit.
Energy always fits, however. That’s what Acy can bring — and the Knicks fans will appreciate it.