Wednesday's Summer League Practice Report: Melo, Thanasis, & The Young Crew

by Jonah Ballow

As the Knicks inch closer towards game action and their first contest of Summer League, the team convened once again for an intense practice session at a local high school in Las Vegas.  Here’s the latest from Wednesday’s media availability:

  • Carmelo Anthony rumors continue to swirl, as Thursday will mark the first day teams can officially ink free agents.  If Anthony returns to New York, head coach Derek Fisher believes the 7-time All-Star will make an obvious impact.  “Having played with some of the greatest players that have every played the game before, it makes everybody’s job easier to have those kind of guys around and so, I think that’s the way it will be if it happens.”

  • Fisher is taking a serious approach to the practice sessions not only to evaluate the young talent but also to develop relationships with key players for the upcoming season.  “Tim Hardaway Jr. is a guy that is going to help us win games in the regular season, so to have this opportunity to work with him and develop a relationship with him.  Shane Larkin, the same way.  Thanasis is a guy that we drafted and we like.  Jeremy Tyler is a guy that has been on our roster before and is here.  Cole Aldrich will be here this evening, he’s been a guy that’s been on our roster.   There are a number of guys that have helped win games before and we might need to help us win in the future, so I’m excited about having a chance to do it this week.”

  • In speaking with Thanasis Antetokounmpo for the first time, you really get a sense of his genuine excitement for the opportunity.  Antetokounmpo is an athletic, defensive-minded wing player that will look to showcase his skills during the Summer League contests.  The older brother to a potential NBA star, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, Thanasis said he does not hold any feelings of jealousy towards his sibling.  Furthermore, he cheers for him and the relationship has fueled his drive to reach the NBA.

  • When watching games around the league, Thanasis enjoys the way Kawhi Leonard, Thabo Sefolosha, and Nicholas Batum play defense.  He also said, “Hard work, passion, and courage get you to where you want to go.”  Pretty good mindset from the 21-year old.  Fisher had this to say about the No. 51 overall draft pick:  “I think a lot of these young guys will surprise you not just in terms of what they think about basketball but the type of people they are.  Kids born in the 90s are not as bad as we think and Thanasis is one of those guys.”

  • The Knicks are scheduled to practice on Thursday before suiting up in their first Summer League game against the Mavericks on Friday at 4 PM on MSG Network.  Watch the encore presentation at 9:30 PM.