It takes about 5 minutes to remember that this is Summer League. Throughout the Knicks 100 – 90 Vegas – week opening loss to Denver, countless moments prompted a chuckle of amazement at how unpolished the whole thing was. Summer League can be frustrating to watch, for sure. But through all the mishandles, fouls, and shots bricked so hard that the rebound was caught at the top of the key, bright spots did emerge.
The story of the game was Toney Douglas. Not that this wasn’t expected, either. Douglas, the most seasoned Knick on the summer roster, led the team with 27 points. He started the game hot from three point land, sinking three triples in the first quarter. Douglas finished the game 5 of 11 from behind the arc. That percentage is on par with what he did last season. Douglas also had six rebounds (4 defensive) and five assists.
It was easy to see that Douglas was the best player in a Knick uniform by a large margin and, after Denver’s Ty Lawson, the best player on the court. He showed great athleticism and ball handling skills, committing only three turnovers in 34 minutes. A sequence early in the second half saw Douglas hit a 3 then cop a steel in the back court and finish with a behind the back lay – up. Great energy. Great athleticism. Great to imagine the kind of impact he’ll have backing up Felton this season.
Rookie Andy Rautins looks like the sharp – shooting three point threat that the Knicks drafted him to be. Rautins, a second round draft pick out of Syracuse, opened up his Knick career with a spot up three in the opening moments. It brought back memories, even if you had to forget the setting for a moment, of the many back – backbreaking treys he hit in college.
The Syracuse alum was up and down all day, as is to be expected. He finished with 11 points on 4-11 shooting, including 3-8 from three point range. Rautins showed off his passing ability when he fired a nice bounce pass to fellow rookie Jerome Jordan on a pick – and – roll play in the second half. The talent is definitely their, the consistency will come. At least, the Knicks hope.
Rautin’s defense, which was expected to struggle early, lived up to expectation. He committed six fouls, seeming to get lost on the defensive end more then a few times and committing an infraction when trying to make up for it. Late in the game, Dan D’Antoni was seen shouting at Rautins after not getting back on defense.
Another rookie, Landry Fields, had 13 points on 6 of 8 shooting. Efficient for a pick that was almost universally panned (including in this space). Jerome Jordan was the worst of the three rookies. And was he bad! 4 points, 2 rebounds, 6 fouls in 12 minutes. However, two of those four points came on the give and go feed from Rautins.
The most perplexing afternoon belonged to Bill Walker. Walked scored 14 points on 6 of 14 shooting. He was 1 of 6 from behind the arc and committed nine fouls. It should be noted that Summer League rules allow players ten fouls. It would make sense for a rookie or free agent to play so poorly defensively, but nine fouls in a summer league game for a guy that made a decent contribution at the pro level last season is tough to take. Keep in mind; these games are only forty minutes long.
In fact, the foul situation was horrid. The Knicks had 46 fouls, that’s more then a foul per minute. The Nuggets had 23, half as many. It’s a summer league game, but 46 fouls is 46 fouls. That’s really bad at any level.
This has to be the number one point of improvement headed into Monday’s game. Keep the foul rate under 1.15 per minute.
The Knicks play the Lakers Monday at 4pm.
About the Author
Written by Jordan Lauterbach
Jordan Lauterbach began his career in sports media when he was just 15 years old at WKWZ - Syosset. He hosted a sports talk show for nearly four years before moving on to WCWP - Brookville in 2006. Lauterbach currently hosts a sports talk show every Wednesday night from 9pm - midnight (eastern) and a College Football talk show on Saturday mornings from 11am - 12:30 (eastern) (can be heard online at wcwpsports.com and on Long Island on 88.1fm). Follow me on twiiter: jlauterbach1