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DaJuan Summers named D-League Performer of Week

DaJuan Summers of the Westchester Knicks today was named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Thursday, Nov.12, through Sunday, Nov. 22.

Summers (6-8, 240, Georgetown) averaged 25.3 points on 54.4 shooting (31-for-57), 10.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals to lead Westchester to a 4-0 start to the season. On Nov. 14, he tallied 30 points on 13-of-24 shooting, to go along with 11 rebounds and two assists in an 83-79 victory over the Erie BayHawks. He posted another double-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds and four steals, in a 107-94 win over the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Nov. 20.

Summers was originally selected by the Detroit Pistons with the 35th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. He appeared in four games for the New York Knicks during the 2015 preseason. This year marks his second stint in the NBA D-League. During the 2012-13 season he played for the Maine Red Claws and was selected to the 2013 NBA D-League All-Star Game.

Other top performers considered include Austin’s Bryce Cotton, Bakersfield’s C.J. Wilcox, Delaware’s Sean Kilpatrick, Erie’s Melvin Ejim, Fort Wayne’s Rakeem Christmas, Idaho’s Brandon Fields, Iowa’s Cartier Martin, Los Angeles’ Manny Harris, Maine’s Jordan Mickey, Raptors 905’s Scott Suggs, Rio Grande Valley’s Raphiael Putney, Santa Cruz’s Elliot Williams and Sioux Falls’ Gregg Whittington.

Kristaps Porzingis the focus of New York

Here’s the New York Post reporting on the most intriguing Knicks rookie in a very long time:

If it feels like Kristaps Porzingis is a breath of fresh air … well, it’s because he is that and so much more than that: He is a gust of fresh air, a gale of fresh air, a 198-mph wind blast of fresh air. He is 20 years old and having the time of his life, and 12 games into his professional career, he has Madison Square Garden chanting his name.

You want fresher air than this, you’ll have to move to Wyoming.

If it feels like this almost never happens to the Knicks, and for the Knicks … well, it’s because it almost never does. The last 15 years may feel like an endless treadmill of bad trades and bad players and bad drafts and bad decisions but in truth, with rare exception, that’s been Garden policy far longer than the Dolan Era, extending all the way back to the Eisenhower Administration.

You can make an argument, and a good one, that Porzingis is one of only 10 truly impactful rookies the Knicks have had going back to Willis Reed’s magnificent debut in 1964-65, and of all the absurd negative numbers the Knicks have assembled over the years, that might be the coup de grace.

Arron Afflalo makes Knicks debut

Wednesday night in Charlotte, the Hornets edged the Knicks, 95-93. Knicks shooting guard Arron Afflako, coming off injury, made his debut and in 28 minutes shot 6-of-13 for 12 points and six rebounds. For more, here’s the New York Post:

Arron Afflalo makes Knicks debut

Lost amid the commotion over the final frantic 30 seconds and Kristaps Porzingis’ near-miracle buzzer-non-beater was Arron Afflalo’s first game as a Knick.

Putting aside the heartbreaking defeat, it went very well. Afflalo, a key free-agent signing for two years and $16 million, had more bounce than rust, hitting three of his first four shots as the Knicks seized control in the first quarter. Afflalo also hit a big 16-footer with 1:27 left to tie the score, but admitted to fatigue after his big start.

“I haven’t played since training camp,’’ said Afflalo, whose last action was Oct. 21 in the preseason finale in Boston. “Mentally, you feel you can take on the world until you get out there and you’re short on oxygen. It was good for a first game, getting tired battling with those guys in a close game. But I expect myself to be much better Friday.’’ …

With Afflalo, the Knicks seem like a different club. Even point guard Jose Calderon looked a lot smoother playing alongside the 30-year-old vet. Calderon had a nice night, shooting 6-of-9 from the field for 13 points. The Calderon-Afflalo pairing makes sense.

Arron Afflalo is one of the key new Knicks. If the team is going to play respectable basketball this season, he’s likely going to be one of the big reasons why. But a bad hamstring will delay that possibility. Here’s the New York Post reporting:

Arron Afflalo recovering from hamstring injury

Knicks guard Arron Afflalo insisted he is doing, and would continue to do, everything to get back on the court for the Knicks as soon as possible. He even said he had hoped to be ready for opening night despite his ailing left hamstring.

But that would only work if opening night were in two weeks. The Knicks open Wednesday in Milwaukee.

“I want to say I guess I just have to give it another two weeks or so but it’s hard to judge,” Afflalo said after sitting out the open practice the Knicks staged Sunday at Columbia University. “I’m just going to go based on how I feel and with what the medical staff tells me.”

Afflalo was injured in the final preseason game, Thursday in Boston. He left the game in the third quarter — after coach Derek Fisher debated even using him in the second half — with what was called a tight left hamstring.

Knicks enjoying preseason

The Knicks are enjoying preseason and probably don’t want it to end. But it will. And then the regular season will begin. And reality will set in. But for now, things are good. Here’s the New York Post reporting:

Optimism is building out of the Knicks’ 4-1 preseason because Phil Jackson’s team doesn’t look to be as dependent on the rookie production of Kristaps Porzingis as expected. Maybe the Knicks, who went 17-65 last season, will find themselves in a race for the eighth seed in late March and early April.

The Knicks look deep in the frontcourt, and have had excellent preseasons from forwards Kyle O’Quinn, Derrick Williams, last season’s rookie bust Cleanthony Early and, of course, a supremely healthy and defensive-minded Carmelo Anthony.

Nevertheless, Fisher wants Porzingis to be the starting power forward opening night, even if he was shaky Saturday at Charlotte. Rusty from sitting out a week with a quad strain, the 7-foot-3 Latvian shot poorly (3-for-11) from the floor, got blocked by Cody Zeller on a dunk attempt and was pushed around by Hornets post man Al Jefferson, who backed Porzingis in easily for a couple of hoops in the second quarter. Patrick Ewing told The Post that Porzingis’ weight shouldn’t be that big an issue, but it looked like one Saturday.

Knicks now 4-0 in preseason

Preseason is just a warmup for the regular season, so it doesn’t mean anything. But winning is still nice and stuff. And it sets a positive tone, which might help. Maybe. Or not. Anyway, here’s the New York Post reporting:

In topping the Celtics 101-95 at the Garden in their final home preseason game, the Knicks improved to 4-0 and coach Derek Fisher is hopeful that has meaning.

With expectations of the Knicks being mediocre at best, the club looks to be deeper and more efficient than anticipated.

“It depends on what kind of story you want to write,’’ Fisher said. “You can say it means something and these guys are doing great. Or it’s preseason and doesn’t mean anything. For me personally, I’m in the middle. I think the preseason is preparation for the season. That’s what the ‘pre’ stands for. And you have to prepare to win.

“Guys are doing that. That doesn’t always translate when we open up in Milwaukee (Oct. 28). But in getting the idea there’s a certain way to play the game that leads to winning, that’s good to put in guys’ minds. Hopefully it does carry over.’’

Here’s ESPN New York reporting on the Knicks’ prize rookie, who is racking up all sorts of injuries before his first regular season game gets played:

Kristaps Porzingis racking up injuries early

New York Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis missed Monday’s game due to a strained left upper quad.

It’s the third non-contact injury for Porzingis in the past four months. Coach Derek Fisher said the Knicks’ training staff might consider changes to the rookie’s workout regimen to try to prevent future injury. “There’s definitely something that we need to try and figure out [to] make sure to try and help him limit the injuries and the setbacks,” Fisher said. “It’s for him, it’s for us, it’s for our medical team. We’ll figure it out.”

The Knicks are optimistic Porzingis will play in their next preseason game Friday.

Here’s the New York Post reporting on Knicks star forward Carmelo Anthony taking a positive-minded trip to a place kids should be sure to avoid:

Carmelo Anthony pays visit to Rikers Island

Carmelo Anthony’s preparation for training camp was a little different this year. Instead of taking some time for himself, he got ready for the grind ahead by going to jail.

No, he didn’t get into trouble. The Knicks star forward spent his free time visiting Rikers Island and meeting with a group of inmates with the sole intention to motivate the troubled young men.

“It was a lot of encouragement,” Anthony said, speaking about the visit for the first time following Sunday’s practice at the MSG Training Center. “A lot of the kids that’s in there, they still have a chance to come home in the next couple of years, and they’re still dealing with a court case or trial, so there’s some upside to that. They still have a life ahead of them.”

Melo looking good in preseason

Health is the most important thing for all of us. You. Me. And professional basketball players, too. Here’s ESPN New York reporting on the Knicks and star forward Carmelo Anthony:

Melo looking good in preseason

After undergoing knee surgery in late February, Carmelo Anthony didn’t shoot a basketball for nearly five months.

He seems to be making up for lost time over the past few days.

Anthony has made 18 of his first 25 shots of the preseason, including 10 of 15 on Friday night against the Washington Wizards.

What’s behind the hot start?

“The most important thing is being healthy,” Anthony said late Friday night. “When you’re healthy, everything kind of falls into place mentally. There’s a lot of clarity for me at this moment where I can just play ball and not worry about [a] tick-tack injury or having surgery or things like that — and I can just help my team.”

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting on a key young Knick who will hopefully emerge as a serious building block for the future:

Jerian Grant makes preseason debut for Knicks

The Knicks other rookie acquitted himself well in his first preseason action Wednesday, but a much bigger test awaits Jerian Grant Friday night in Washington.

Grant, the 19th overall pick out of Notre Dame, was a composed floor general during his 28 minutes in Wednesday’s victory over the Brazilian team Bauru at the Garden, collecting four assists and eight points while facilitating the game-breaking runs next to Langston Galloway. (There was a very impressive behind-the-back-dribble-to-an-assist play from Grant late in the first quarter).

Coach Derek Fisher was certainly pleased.

“Jerian has a good feel for the game,” the coach said.

Knicks MSG sellout streak ends

Here’s the New York Post reporting that Knicks tickets, at least for one preseason game, were available at face value from the box office for a change:

The 201-game Garden sellout streak dating to 2010 is over. The club announced a crowd of 19,037 — below the sellout number of 19,812 — for Tuesday’s preseason opener against Brazilian team Bauru.

The sellout streak had included preseason, regular-season and playoff games. The Knicks still will promote their regular-season/playoff streak that stands at 97.

The Knicks had an 87 percent season-ticket renewal rate, which was down considerably from last season. But one of the biggest upsets was the Knicks sold out all their regular-season games during their worst season in franchise history at 17-65.

Expectations for the Knicks are… improving.

The New York Knicks should certainly be better this season than last. That’s our bold statement for today. Anyway, here’s the New York Post reporting:

Though he said Monday he held “no expectations at this time’’ for the 2015-16 Knicks, Carmelo Anthony amended the remark two days later, saying the title still is “our big-picture goal.’’ Maybe he’s seen something at West Point.

And Derek Fisher said just because they are the no-name Knicks other than Anthony, it doesn’t mean they are “rebuilding’’ and still expect to win. Fisher said he likes the notion the Knicks are filled with names not befitting the grand marquee.

“Based on the fact we don’t have a certain caliber of player on our roster other than Carmelo, people assume we’re rebuilding,’’ Fisher said after Wednesday’s second day of practices. “Was Atlanta rebuilding last year when they didn’t have quote-unquote [name] player on their roster. We think our group, as we figure it out, will be more competitive than people think. But rebuilding doesn’t mean we’re not trying to win right now.’’

It should be noted Atlanta placed four guys on the All-Star team last February — Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver.

Here’s the New York Post with a fun feature on 7-3 Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis, who took a stroll around NYC and joked to one young fan that he’ll “be 8-feet by the end of the season.”

“Since I’ve been like 15, I can’t really hide, you know?” Porzingis says. “I always stand out. At one point, you’re just like, ‘I can’t be hiding my whole life. I gotta get used to this.’ Now I’m enjoying it.”

He is wise beyond his 20 years and a 7-foot-3 cutup. As he stares straight ahead and smiles for a photo with a short young man named Adam Eliassof, he startles him by telling him, “I’m gonna be 8-feet by the end of the season.”

Before more stargazers and curiosity seekers can flood the Seventh Avenue entrance to his next basketball home, Porzingis, with his older brother Martin and Knicks staffer Gregg Schwartz and several security men in tow, begins walking through the 33rd Street Plaza, where a man shouts out: “Kristaps, I need you to put on some weight.”

Truth be told, Porzingis already has bulked up, to 240 pounds, likely on his way to 250. He sneers at the stereotypical perception of European players as soft and uses it to fuel the fire that burns within him to be great. He doesn’t intend to let stronger, meaner opponents bully him.

Knicks sign guard Travis Trice

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has signed guard Travis Trice.

Trice, 6-0, 170-pounds, averaged 15.3 points, 5.1 assists and 3.2 rebounds over 33.6 minutes in 39 games as a senior at Michigan State University. He averaged 19.0 points and 4.2 assists in leading the seventh-seeded Spartans to the Final Four of the 2015 NCAA Tournament and finished his career with 202 three-pointers, fifth best in school history. The Huber Heights, OH-native. appeared in seven 2015 Summer League games for Miami’s entry at Orlando and Las Vegas, averaging 4.4 points and 1.3 assists over 10.6 minutes.

Knicks sign DaJuan Summers

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has signed forward DaJuan Summers. 

Summers, 6-8, 240-pounds, holds career averages of 3.3 points and 1.0 rebounds over 9.9 minutes in 83 games (seven starts) over four seasons with Detroit, New Orleans and Los Angeles Clippers. He last played in the NBA for L.A. Clippers appearing in two games in 2012-13.

The Baltimore, MD-native, was originally selected by Detroit in the second round (35th overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft following three seasons at Georgetown University. He played overseas in each of the last two seasons for Gran Canaria in Spain (2014-15) and Budivelnyk Kyiv in Ukraine (2013-14). He has also played for Maine of the NBA Developmental League (2012-13) and in Italy for Siena (2011-12).

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has signed forward Darion Atkins and guard/forward Wesley Saunders. The contracts are likely non-guaranteed and just for training camp.

Atkins, 6-8, 241-pounds, averaged 7.6 points and 6.0 rebounds over 23.9 minutes in 33 games as a senior at the University of Virginia and was named the winner of the 2015 Lefty Driesell National and ACC defensive player of the year awards. The Clinton, MD-native led the Portsmouth Invitational in scoring (20.0) and blocks (3.7) and appeared in nine Summer League games for San Antonio’s entries at Orlando and Las Vegas, averaging 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds over 12.7 minutes.

Saunders, 6-5, 215-pounds, averaged 12.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals over 29.8 minutes in 120 games over four seasons at Harvard University. The three-time All-Ivy League first-team selection, averaged career-highs of 16.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists as a senior. The Los Angeles, CA-native, appeared in six 2015 Summer League games for the Jazz’ entry at Utah and Las Vegas, averaging 2.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists over 15.3 minutes.

Video: Jerian Grant highlights

New York Knicks rookie guard Jerian Grant did big things at Notre Dame last season, averaging 16.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game, shooting a very impressive 47.8 percent from the field. Enjoy this “DC Clips” highlight video:

Yes, the New York Knicks struggled in dramatic fashion last season, finishing with a 17-65 record. But over the course of an 82-game season, highlights happen. Enjoy the video:

No Knicks on 2015 Christmas day

Here’s the New York Post with a Knicks update. No surprise that the league isn’t showcasing the team on Christmas day, as the Post reports:

The Knicks will find out what they’re missing right away when they stage their season opener Oct. 28 in Milwaukee against new Bucks center Greg Monroe, according to an NBA source.

The Knicks’ home opener will be Oct. 29 against the Hawks, welcoming back former first-round pick Tim Hardaway Jr. after his Draft Night trade for the rights to rookie point guard Jerian Grant.

The Knicks were considered the front-runners for Monroe during free agency, but he chose the Bucks max deal because he deemed Jason Kidd’s club more playoff-ready. The Knicks settled for Robin Lopez.

It won’t be a Merry Knicksmas for Phil Jackson either. For the first time since 2008, the Knicks won’t be playing on Christmas, zapped from the annual nationally televised, five-game festival, according to a source.

Knicks sign Thanasis Antetokounmpo

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has signed guard/forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo.

According to the New York Post, “Antetokounmpo passed up lucrative deals in Europe last summer to play for $25,000 in the D-League. He has been an enigma, with a boatload of energy, but low basketball IQ and an erratic jump shot.”

Antetokounmpo, 6-7, 215-pounds, averaged 13.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.70 steals and 1.68 blocks over 32.9 minutes in 47 games (all starts) during the inaugural season of the NBA D- League’s Westchester Knicks. He earned NBA D-League All-Defensive Second Team honors last season after a Third Team selection in 2013-14 as a member of the Delaware 87ers. He ranked in the D-League’s Top-10 in steals (fifth, 80), free throw attempts (seventh, 251) and blocks (eighth, 79).

The Greece native, who was born to parents of Nigerian descent, was selected by New York in the second round (51st overall) of 2014 NBA Draft with a pick acquired from Dallas. He played for New York’s entry in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, NV each of the last two summers after playing for Delaware in 2013-14 and Filathlitikos (Greece) in 2012-13. He is the older brother of Milwaukee forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.

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