The Knicks' entry in this year's Las Vegas Summer League should be one of the most talented groups in the desert, thanks in large part to a crew of high-upside young players with NBA experience under their belts. In Part I of our #KnicksSL14 preview, we take a look at some familiar faces who figure to create plenty of highlights for new coach Derek Fisher and his staff.
As Aldrich prepares to embark on his fifth NBA season, he will try to build on the development he showed down the stretch run last year in New York. The big man proved he’s a capable rebounder and low post scorer, as well as a model teammate who is ready to give the team solid minutes whenever his number is called. Initially a reserve, he earned significant playing time over the last few games and responded with two dominant performances to close out the year. He’ll be out to show a new coaching staff that he can contribute to the cause this season.
As an 8-year veteran, Brown’s presence on the roster might raise a few eyebrows, but his knowledge of the triangle offense and familiarity with Phil Jackson and Fisher make him a perfect fit as a veteran mentor. He’ll be with the team in Vegas to help a very talented roster come together under a new system. How much he plays is uncertain.
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Perhaps the main attraction of the Knicks’ Summer League entry, Hardaway returns for his second stint in Vegas looking to expand his game and take on more of a leadership role. After finishing as a 1st team All-Rookie selection, his defense and off-the-dribble game are among the areas he’ll be working on for these next few weeks. He was limited last summer because of a wrist injury, but is likely to play at least two or three games this year. His NBA experience, 3-point stroke and athleticism should make him a very difficult cover, especially with such talented teammates surrounding him.
Larkin was the 18th overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft, but his rookie season was marred by injury as a broken ankle in Summer League practice limited him to 48 games. After being traded to New York, Larkin said he’s looking forward to a fresh start as part of a new system with the Knicks. He was one of the most efficient pick-and-roll point guards during his time at the University of Miami and should have an opportunity to flourish in that role playing alongside capable NBA big men and gifted scoring wings to convert his passes into assists.
Tyler impressed in Summer League a year ago and translated his success into a spot on the Knicks’ roster once he recovered from a stress fracture in his foot. Once he made it onto the court, he showcased his refined offensive skill set and outstanding athleticism for a player his size. As part of a potentially imposing frontcourt duo with Aldrich, it’s unclear how much Tyler will play, but his participation in this week of practice should be helpful as he learns the triangle offense.