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Ewing Jr. Honing Defensive Skills for NBA

by Scott Stanchak, NBA D-League.com

It has been a year of maturation for Patrick Ewing Jr.

Through December, the 26-year-old forward had 13 double-figure scoring performances. In the month since then, Ewing Jr. has just seven.

At the NBA D-League Showcase in South Padre Island, Texas earlier this month, Ewing Jr. said he began to realize scoring is often secondary to other attributes NBA teams look for in certain players.

“I just have been focusing on other things. I haven’t tried to score as much,” Ewing Jr. said. “I’ve just been trying to win games and do things that might be asked at the next level.”

As for what those things are, Ewing Jr. said: “There’s not too many times that guys are going to go up to the league and be asked to be a scorer. I know myself, I’m asked to knock down open shots, but at the end of the day I’m going to be asked to defend and rebound.”

Ewing Jr. was traded on Tuesday from the Reno Bighorns to the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Reno received guard/forward Danny Green in return. In 26 games (25 starts) with Reno, the Georgetown product was averaging 15.8 points and 8.4 rebounds.

The son of NBA Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing was drafted by the Sacramento Kings (43rd overall) in the 2008 NBA Draft. He was later traded to the Houston Rockets, who then shipped him to the New York Knicks. Ewing Jr. was in Knicks training camp in 2008 and 2010.

Despite his latest release in October, Ewing Jr. has no ill feelings towards the Knicks. In fact, he says he’s impressed with the way they’re playing.

“I think it’s good for New York that they’re finally playing well,” Ewing Jr. “I think Amar’e is having an MVP-type year.”

As for what’s kept Ewing Jr. from making his NBA regular-season debut: “Probably the fact that I’ve been in the numbers game for so long.”

Four hundred and fifty spots. Thirty NBA teams. Ewing Jr. hopes his new game plan can get him one of them.