Carmelo Anthony said the Knicks’ roster needs to have “some type of consistency.”
Brett Brown, the realist coach of the 76ers who has endured more losing over three seasons than any coach in NBA history, offered this Friday when asked about the biggest fish in this summer’s free agent pond:
“I think if we’re being honest, it’s going to be a challenge to get Kevin Durant to come to the Philadelphia 76ers.”
By challenge, Brown meant impossible. And the Knicks, the team with a 49-113 record over the last two seasons, are in the same boat. Durant is not coming.
But unlike last summer for Phil Jackson, there is a workable core that consists of more than just Carmelo Anthony. Two other starters – Kristaps Porzingis and Robin Lopez – are a safe bet to return to complement the large amount of free-agent spending money, giving Anthony some hope for a smidgen of stability as he contemplates another training camp of triangle lessons.
“I think that’s the most important part, just having some type of consistency, just a group of guys being together for a period of time and not just rotating in and out each year,” said Anthony, who has endured over 70 teammates and four different coaches since he joined the Knicks in 2011. “I think if we can establish that as a team, as an organization each year, you’ll start seeing us taking steps forward. Guys feeling more confident and more comfortable in their game and us a team. I don’t think guys can learn a system right away being here for a couple months and then rotate guys in and out. Guys need to be together for a long period of time in order for us to kind master the system.”
Many words have been dedicated to the emergence of Porzingis this season, but it’s worth noting the breakout from his frontcourt mate Lopez – especially since Rambis took over. The 28-year-old was Jackson’s fallback option at center after he struck out on Greg Monroe and DeAndre Jordan, but the four years and $54 million he gave Lopez appears like Jackson’s best move of the summer, right behind drafting Porzingis.
The quirky Californian, who wore a shirt that read “Wild Feminist” after dropping 24 points with 15 rebounds in Friday’s victory over the Sixers, has averaged 12.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and over two blocks since the All-Star break.
Robin Lopez rises for a jump hook.
Known for his defense in previous stops, Lopez acknowledged that he’s being asked to shoulder more of an offensive burden with the Knicks. Not that it has translated to wins with the Knicks at 9-17 since Rambis took over.
“I’m in a different role than I was on previous teams. I don’t like patting myself on the back but I feel like I’m doing well in a different role as opposed to when I was in Portland or Phoenix,” Lopez said. “It’s fun to stretch your wings in a different facet of the game.”
While Arron Afflalo has butted heads with Rambis, Lopez enjoys a comfortable relationship.
“I like playing for these guys, the staff. I feel like it’s an open door policy, I have no problem talking with (Rambis),” Lopez said. “I like a lot of the things that are happening on the floor. I think we just need to be more consistent.”
Rambis agreed that continuity should help developing the offense, but he also used the question to defend Jackson’s triangle.
“This isn’t complicated. We’re talking about spacing, moving the basketball, moving without the ball, passing the basketball,” he said. “So these concepts transition to anywhere. They’re just good sound, solid fundamental concepts. We’re not executing it anywhere near where it needs to be.”