GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) — No bold predictions from the New York Knicks. No real predictions at all, actually.
“To be quite honest, I don’t really have any expectations at this time,” Carmelo Anthony said.
Maybe he shouldn’t. He’s never played with most of his teammates and the ones who were Knicks last season didn’t exactly distinguish themselves, as New York went 17-65 in its worst year ever.
But media day is usually a time for high hopes and fresh starts, when players and coaches speak confidently about how good things can be. Just last year, Knicks President Phil Jackson even said he thought his team would compete for a playoff spot.
Anthony isn’t ready to say anything like that yet.
“It’s going to take some time to kind of figure out what our expectations will be,” said the All-Star forward, who is fully recovered from knee surgery in February. “It’s good not to have any expectations at this time. It gives us a chance to kind of have a fresh start, get our identity.”
That will start when the Knicks open training camp at West Point. Anthony and many of the Knicks’ newcomers have been working out together for a few weeks, but Tuesday is when they finally do it with the coaching staff.
It’s also when rookie Kristaps Porzingis, the No. 4 overall pick from Latvia, can start figuring out his NBA potential. He said Monday he doesn’t know yet, keeping with the theme of keeping expectations low – or absent.
“All that I know is that I’ve played against the guys, pickup games, 5 on 5, that’s how I can rate myself,” he said. “But now that training camp has started, the real deal is here.”
He played 1-on-1 games this summer with Anthony, who reiterated again that he supported the Porzingis pick even though reports after the draft said he didn’t. The 20-year-old forward said he won some of them and appears to have also won Anthony’s respect, with the 13th-year pro looking to help his new teammate understand the pressure he will face in New York.
Jackson couldn’t land another superstar to pair with Anthony but signed a number of veterans who have been contributors on winning teams, such as center Robin Lopez, guards Arron Afflalo and Sasha Vujacic, and forward Kevin Seraphin.
Seraphin was with the Washington Wizards when they made the gradual climb from the lottery to the playoffs and thinks the Knicks can follow the same process.
“I think if we keep working out, putting everything together that we can do some great things,” he said. “I think we have a good team and we can surprise people.”
It’s hard to say if Anthony would be one of them, since he was so guarded with his thoughts about the team’s potential. He couldn’t even take much from watching them last season after his surgery, since he didn’t know who would be coming back.
He said he wants to reward Jackson’s confidence that he can be the centerpiece of a winning team at 31, and doesn’t think he is running out of time to do it.
“My window is open. I don’t think it’s closing, but for more the most part coming into this year I think we get a chance to write our own destiny right now and that’s a good thing,” Anthony said.
“We can start off fresh, start off with a clean slate and we can write whatever story we want to write, whether good or bad. And I think guys are excited about that, to have a chance to start off fresh and kind of put the past behind us and move forward.”