2010 Summer Interview: Andy Rautins

I sat down with Andy Rautins for 2 minutes and 30 seconds, and he was kind enough to answer some questions.

Mike Kurylo: How are you doing? I’m Mike Kurylo from KnickerBlogger.Net.

Andy Rautins: Nice to meet you. [Looks at my ancient iPod with a voice recorder.] Oh this is nice. I haven’t seen one of these before.

Mike Kurylo: It’s top of the line 2001 technology right there.

Andy Rautins: (laughs) There you go.

Mike Kurylo: What have you been doing this offseason?

Andy Rautins: I was working out in Dallas before the draft started. It was pretty intense, high level work outs there. Trying to transition from a 2 to a 1. Working with point guard coaches, and that helped me tremendously. Obviously there were the workouts for every team. That was tough. It was a grind; I worked out for 15 teams. But now that we got settled and I’m here right now working with our strength coach and the coaching staff. It’s been a great process and I’m looking forward to the season.

Mike Kurylo: How did that feel going from college to workout drafts to the summer league?

Andy Rautins: It was a bit of transition. The game is much quicker, the guys are little more physical. It was a good transition. I was able to get my feet wet out there. I don’t think I played as well I would have liked to, but now that I have that under my belt and have my confidence going I think I’ll be alright.

Mike Kurylo: Who are you looking forward to playing with this year?

Andy Rautins: Everybody on the team. You got a lot of guys, it’s a whole new team. Being able to play with Amar’e and Ray, the ball is going to be moving, the inside out game is going to be there. It’s going to be a fun year.

Mike Kurylo: What aspect of your game are you most proud of?

Andy Rautins: Probably my ability to see the floor. I can be a floor general out there. On top of that my ability to shoot the ball and push it in transition when I get it. I think there’s going to be a lot of up & down and a lot of open floor this year.

Mike Kurylo: What do you feel like you need to work on?

Andy Rautins: Probably the 1 on 1 defense. Where they’ll isolate you and try to put you in the post. It’s obviously tougher than playing in a 2-3 zone. But I’ve been working on that a ton so I should be alright come game time.

Unsung Knick History – Precursor to the Lebron Saga?

This is the seventh in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of examinations into different games, events and decisions that impacted Knicks history in some way, shape or form. Stories that are not as famous as, say, “The Dunk” or Willis Reed playing Game 7, but still have a place in Knicks history, especially for die-hard fans. Here is an archive of all the stories featured so far.

Let me know if this sounds familiar. A young twenty-five-year-old player in his prime has been having success starring for his hometown basketball team, but he clearly wants out of the small market on to a bigger stage. Pretty much every team in the NBA wants a crack at him, but the New York Knicks think that they are in prime position to land the possible franchise-making free agent (a free agent who talks about himself in the third person) before getting their hopes dashed at the last minute and seeing him sign with a rival team.

That is what happened twenty-five years ago when George McGinnis was set to make his way to the New York Knicks and the NBA Commissioner said, “No!”
Read More

2010 Summer Interview: Toney Douglas

I sat down with Toney Douglas for 3 minutes and 28 seconds, and he was kind enough to answer some questions.

Mike Kurylo: Last year we talked about defense, and you said “In college there is a lot of help defense, but in the NBA [things are] more spaced out. One mistake and [you’ve given up a] bucket. I feel like in college you can just go fast [all the time], but in the NBA you have to pick & choose when to go fast.”. How do you feel about defense now that you’re going into your second season?

Toney Douglas: I learned a lot being in the NBA playing defense. A lot of the stuff I did in college I won’t be able to do. Well, I can do some of it because I’m athletic. It’s all about picking & choosing where you want to make steals & where you want to gamble. When to get in the paint & get out. I’m going to be a way better defensive player this year, especially off the ball. On the ball I’m fine, off the ball I’m going to be way better.

Mike Kurylo: Now that the team has radically changed this year, who are you looking forward to playing with?

Toney Douglas: Everybody. We have a great team. A talented team. Everybody that has a uniform on can play. That’s a great feeling. In training camp tomorrow we’re going to start feeling out everyone else’s games. What people can do and what they can’t do. We have a lot of options and I’m looking forward to it tomorrow.

Mike Kurylo: Who do you miss playing with from last year?

Toney Douglas: Who I played with a lot was David Lee. He is a smart player, has a basketball IQ like a point guard. He can dribble, shoot, and he knows the game. He’s a smart player. At the same time it’s a business. I’m pretty sure he’s going to do well where he’s at, and at the same time we had to make changes for the benefit of our team. We gotta move on.

Mike Kurylo: You shot poorly in the summer league last year. Then you had a good shooting season, very good actually. Then you shot poorly again in summer league. What’s the difference about the summer league?

(laughter by both)

Toney Douglas: I don’t know. I’m not worried about it. When it’s time to suit up I’m ready to go. I know I’m going to knock my shots down. That’s me standing in the gym being confident…

Mike Kurylo: … Are you thinking too much? Trying to work on something? Or like you said last year it was just a bad week?

(laughter by both)

Toney Douglas: I can’t even tell you. I just know when I’m on MSG and I’m in the Garden I’m going to be ready.

Mike Kurylo: I asked Bill Walker the same thing and I mentioned it to him. Is it the water? The altitude?

Toney Douglas: (chuckle). I don’t know.

2010 Summer Interview: Bill Walker

I sat down with Bill Walker for 3 minutes and 52 seconds, and he was kind enough to answer some questions.

Mike Kurylo: What have you been doing this offseason?

Bill Walker: Getting a lot of shots up. Running. Try to get in shape and get ready for the season.

Mike Kurylo: It was reported that you lost a lot of weight this summer and you looked thinner at summer league. Is that true?

Bill Walker: Yeah. I think I got down too much (and was too fast). I lost a good amount of weight.

Mike Kurylo: How did you accomplish this?

Bill Walker: I stopped eating bread and sugar. That was basically it. I eat (everything else) that I like to eat. (That) and excersizing and it came off easy.

Mike Kurylo: On my site I looked up all players 6-6 and under, and you had the highest efficiency (including things like free throws and three pointers) last year. What makes you such an efficient scorer?

Bill Walker: I only take shots that I know I can make. That’s half the battle. I just try to get good shots.

Mike Kurylo: Do you know why you weren’t shooting well in the summer league?

Bill Walker: I don’t know why. I can’t explain it. When I work out, it feels fine. I don’t know.

Mike Kurylo: Last year Toney Douglas didn’t shoot well in the summer, but he was efficient during the season. When I asked him last year, he said it was just one of those weeks.

Bill Walker: Yeah. It was just a bad week.

Mike Kurylo: How hard was it last year to come to the Knicks mid-year?

Bill Walker: I welcomed it. It gave me an opportunity to play. I enjoyed it. It’s fun to get out there and show what you can do.

Mike Kurylo: What were some of the differences between the Celtics and the Knicks?

Bill Walker: The style of play. The Celtics are more of a inside first, trying to get who they want shooting the ball. New York is more of an uptempo, spread it around, everyone handles the ball. It’s a fast break mentality up here. We’re looking to run every time, and Boston only looks to run when they have the advantage.

Mike Kurylo: What areas of your game are you looking to improve?

Bill Walker: Passing. I know I can be a better passer. Rebounding. Defense. Those are three big things that I continue to work on and get better at.

Mike Kurylo: You started 13 games for New York, and there are a lot of new guys here. Do you feel like you’re competing for a starting spot?

Bill Walker: I don’t know. You’re always in competition. That could be every year. If I don’t get a starting spot, I just want to be a contributor. My goal is, like everyone else here, to start. At the same time we’re a team, and everybody has to know their role. Maybe being a starter isn’t my role. But whatever my role is I’ll play it out.

Summer 2010 Edition: Knicks Front Office On…

Some quotes from Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni from their media interview on 9/22/2010.

(on the offseason)

DW: I like what we did. There are guys out there. You get some you don’t (get some). We got Amar’e who is as good a player as we’ve had here in a long time. A 5 time All Star. And a guy that can dominate a game a guy that can get what he wants by his will. He can just do it. So that was a good get. I thought Raymond was a very good get.

Then the rest of the team whether by trade or by free agency, we filled in some of the blanks that we had. I think we’re a bigger team. We’re very flexible in the sense where we can play big or small. I think we have players that fit in with what Mike (D’Antoni) does a lot better than we’ve had because they’re athletic.

I think we’ve got some young players, the average age is 24.6. We have some young players that will get better. So I’m excited. I just told Allan that it was like when I was in college, and you go out and recruit these guys and then go watch them play when they come in the fall, and that’s the same feeling that I have (now). There’s an excitement to seeing (new players). (There are) 10 new players on this team. Which is going to be a lot of work for Mike D’Antoni. But they came early, a lot of these guys came early. They seem committed to becoming a team. They’re professionals. They work hard. So, I’ve been pleased with what I’ve seen so far. Now the real (work) starts. And we’ll see how we are I think we can be a good team. But it’s going to take a lot of work.

(on Eddy Curry)

DW: Players don’t have to come in during the summer. And what I’ve tried to do over the years is not make any judgment on that. But wen they come they have to be in shape. I’m going to be optimistic and think that he’s going to play. I know this when I was in Indiana. I’ll mention Reggie Miller. He never came in the summer. he came back the day before training camp, got his physical, but he was in shape. He had worked out all summer. There is no magic way to do it. For new guys and young guys (it’s important to) get acclimated to what we do.

I haven’t talked to him and I haven’t seen him. But I get word floating that Eddy’s working. That’s what I hear.

(on whether his trainers have been out to see Curry this summer)

DW: No. No matter what we do it’s going to come down to what you do with your career. He assured me that he’d take care of it. So I’m not going to be bugging him all summer like I did the year before. So we’ll see if that helps him. Some guys like it like that.

(on whether Curry can be a contributing player )

DW: I’m going to be optimistic about it. Because I never count a guy out personally.

(on whether the Knicks need him right now)

DW: Yeah. Eddy – we could have used him for the last 2 years. For a guy that big and that athletic he can be a force. And we haven’t had him the last two years because of injury. So you see when you don’t have a center out there it’s been a lot of pressure on David Lee. (Some) teams could kinda have their way with us.

(on Azubuike)

DW: He’s got one of the toughest injures for a basketball player. The patella tendon. He’s been here for 2 or 3 weeks and has worked form 9 to 5 every day trying to strengthen the leg… There’s always the danger of a setback. I don’t think he’ll be ready for training camp, but he could be ready for the regular season when that comes around. We have to see how it develops with him. The kid is working as hard as he possibly could. The trainer said the (better he is in shape), the better off he’ll be (when he returns from injury.)

(on Azubuike’s possible return)

DW: We’d be shooting for the beginning of the regular season. But if he has a setback. It’s a tough injury he’s got.

(if he’s running yet)

MD: He runs on the Alter-G it’s called. Where you only can get the 80% of your weight. So it like it lifts you up and let’s you run run without putting weight on it. And that’s all he’s done. He has not been on the court running.

DW: He was going to run on grass or something like that, I didn’t know if he had started that. That would be the next step.

(on whether there is a hole at off-guard, or any other position)

DW: No… We have players that can play the 2. One of the reasons we brought Patrick in (is because) he can defend the bigger twos. Not for the whole game, but for specific minutes. We’ll have to see how that develops. He’s better than he was before, he’s bigger and stronger, (an overall) better basketball player. I like our rookie (Fields) and obviously Chandler can play there and has played there. And I think he’ll be successful. Probably in college he played the 3. But most 2 guards can be successful. Fields probably in college he played the 3. Most big guards that played in college played 3. And they end up, if they’re good shooters, playing 2 guard in the NBA. I think Fields can make that adjustment and can do that. He has a lot of talent.

Incredibly Small Change To The Knicks’ Uniforms!

Well howdy there Knickerblogger-istas. Long time no see. Hope everyone’s had a great summer, or at least has managed to fully detox from SheSmron-a-palooza (which naturally seems to have been followed hard upon by Carmellilith Fair)

As some of you may know, I get really obsessively geeky about sports uniforms – from the most miniscule design alterations to monolithic Nike-led uber-branding efforts, it’s all fascinating to your humble correspondent. So, when Alan Hahn intimated (well, tweeted) that the Knicks would be “tweaking” their uni for the upcoming season, I was giddy as a 13 yr old girl waiting for the next episode of. “Glee.”

(If you too, geek out about this stuff, I highly recommend checking out Paul Lukas’ blog, Uniwatch. It’s the go-to source for athletic laundry aficionados)

Alas, the summer days dwindled down and the Jazz, Cavs, T-Wolves and Clippers trotted out their new digs, the ‘Bockers, according to all the online evidence I could glean, were set to take the court wearing the same threads they’ve worn since 2001.

But lo! Today at the NBA Store, the Association made a big to-do about a league-wide switch to Adidas’ fancy new super-fabrics that were 30% lighter, 30% more cran-tastic, could made you breakfast, prevent unwanted acne, etc. etc. blah blah blah. More importantly, if you take a magnifying glass to our very own Wilson Chandler (and yes, I did), you’ll notice that the Knicks have… wait for it… A SLIGHTLY NEW COLLAR! (commence rejoicing)

Last year (and again, since ’01) the Nix utilized a design, that while original, was asymmetrically off-putting. Take a gander here, and you can clearly see the that the neck has an odd overlap at the base and a blue/orange/black pattern, weighted heavily in favor of blue (an odd choice, since you could almost miss the blue entirely as it matched the base color of the shirt itself). The shoulder stripes, in contrast, had a large black strip with a smaller orange trim, and omitted blue entirely. It’s an interesting concept, but was always way too cluttered from a design/aesthetic perspective.

Now, look again at today’s photo. You’ll see that the shoulder and neck stripes are now identical – black/orange/black and without the overlap at the base of the neck. If this design looks familiar, it’s because it’s pretty much the same as the striping the Nix used when they first introduced black to the uniform in the ’96-’97 season.

Now, I won’t go into the low regard I have for those Iron Man-esque arm bands that Will and D-Ho are rockin’, and there’s a larger argument about whether or not the Knicks should have any black in their uni set at all (you can probably guess that I’d emphatically bellow, “NO!!!”), but any move towards simplicity and cleanliness in the design of the home and road kits is a welcome one.

Thus endeth this brief sojourn into the world of cager couture.

Yours in sartorial splendor,
Bob the Hardwood Haberdasher