Summer League Lookback: Knicks Thrive in Vegas
August 3, 2014
Coach Fisher, asked if he learned anything new about himself as a first-time coach: "I don’t know if it’s new, but I still don’t like to lose."
"'Tenacious', which is what I call him, is just a ball of fire out there. He brings a certain energy that you just can't replace on the floor." -- Phil Jackson on Thanasis Antetokounmpo
Even though his 2014 Las Vegas Summer League career lasted all of one game, Aldrich's 15.0 rebounds per game stands atop the leaderboard as a symbol of his dominance. He also added nine points on four shots, along with three blocked shots, in his only 31 minutes of action before stepping aside and letting some of the younger bigs get some reps. Shortly after his performance, he signed a contract to return to the Knicks for this upcoming season.
Moore, a 6-10 forward with good rebounding skills, found minutes hard to come by on such a talented roster. With a bulked-up frame, he's come a long way as a face-up big since his Summer League debut in 2012 and has carved out a solid career playing overseas. His highlight with the Knicks was an 8-point, 8-rebound effort in a blowout with against Charlotte.
The Knicks' Summer League entry went 4-1 on its way to the quarterfinals in Las Vegas.
The Knicks featured Las Vegas Summer League's leading rebounder (Cole Aldrich) and second-leading scorer (Tim Hardaway Jr.).
Coach Fisher on the success of his team's run in Vegas: "I think all of our fans and people who watched us play – our players included – are excited about who we can be and what we can become."
Coach Fisher on his team's performance: "These guys were great; they did everything that we asked them to do. No other team asked as much of their teams as we did, in terms of learning a completely new way to play and a new system."
Jeremy Tyler stood out on multiple occasions in Las Vegas with his athleticism and early mastery of the high post in the Triangle offense. He played in all five games, averaging 9.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest, and was a vocal leader like so many of his teammates. He exploded for 19 points, eight rebounds and three assists in the Charlotte blowout.
As an eight-year veteran with ample experience playing for Phil Jackson, Shannon Brown's contributions to the Knicks in Vegas transcended the court. He drew praise from teammates and coaches alike for his team-first attitude and willingness to guide younger players in the complex ways of an entirely new system. He only averaged 14 minutes per contest, but he played in all five games and provided offense when needed; his 12 points against Portland were crucial to a two-point win.
“We’re working together as a team, that’s the main thing,” said Shannon Brown following a 23-point win over Charlotte. “The coaches are doing a great job of explaining the triangle and what we’re trying to accomplish out there and we’re making it happen. We’re just out there having fun playing basketball and learning in the process.”
Tim Hardaway Jr. led the team in scoring in each of its five games and finished with the second best scoring average (22.8) in all of Las Vegas Summer League.
Thanasis "Tenacious" Antetokounmpo: “I’m a good defensive player. I play hard every time, 100 percent effort. And the offense, I make everybody else comfortable.”
Coach Derek Fisher earned the right to smile as he spoke with the media following a hard-fought Knicks win.
Two championship teammates enjoyed some time reflecting on their past success as they watched the youngest members of the current roster come together on the floor.
Shane Larkin: “If you’re not playing, you’re just as important as the guy on the court making the plays. That’s the kind of guys we brought in, but also the emphasis the coaching staff put on that side of the game.”
Langston Galloway made his presence felt with an eye-popping performance in the first matchup against the Bobcats. The St. Joseph's product pumped in 17 point on 7-for-10 shooting and set the tone for a romp.