A lot of people have low expectations this season for the NBA’s New York Knicks — there’s no question about that. With everyone spending their Sunday afternoons praying to their respective Gods, in hopes of number 23 flossing blue and orange in 2010, people seemed to forget about the Knicks’ current studs who posted great numbers last year.
Coming off a career year, David Lee was the Knicks’ front man, with his high energy and hustle on both ends of the court. After averaging nearly 17 ppg, and 12 rpg last year, Mr. Double-Double decided to test his luck onto the free agent market. With a scarce market, and limited offers, Lee rejoined the Knicks for a one year deal.
His teammate, Al Harrington will play his first full season with the Knicks, after being dealt last winter from Golden State. The high school phenom, who has a knack for scoring, left Golden State as a disgruntled player, and came into the Knicks as one of their primary scoring options, averaging close to 21 a game.
Then, comes the Knicks’ coveted first round pick from the 2008 Draft Danilo Gallinari. The Italian Stallion, whose lanky frame could present problems for opposing teams defensively, has the ability to shoot the ball inside and out. Though he has massive potential, his limited playing time has raised eyebrows from many fans. Still, Galli remains optimistic, and tell his fans to be patient, as he and the Knicks prepare to compete … and even fight for a playoff spot.
Ballerstatus had the opportunity to sit with these three at the “NBA Live 2010” launch party and get their thoughts on this upcoming season, Lebron, and their individuals goals, and more.
BallerStatus.com: I know you signed the one year deal returning back to the Knicks. How do you feel being back?
David Lee: I mean, that’s where I set out this summer to be. You know, I wanted to look for a long term deal, but it was a good compromise with the Knicks. They’re trying to save cap room for Lebron, but it’s good that it worked out, and I’m excited for the season.
BallerStatus.com: You know, you and Nate are a formidable duo. How do you think you guys will rank this season in terms of making the playoffs?
David Lee: I think we have a good shot. I like what I saw in the first exhibition game, and also in training camp. We’ve played together for a year — all of us have under Coach D’Antoni. So now, I think we all have a better idea of what’s going on now, and I’m looking forward to this season. I’m excited. I think we have a chance to be real good.
BallerStatus.com: Last year, you posted career numbers — 17 and 12. Do you think could provide and encore performance this season?
David Lee: I think it’s only going to go up from here. I’m real excited about continuing to improve my stats.
BallerStatus.com: Al, I know you were traded last winter from Golden State. How do you think the team will fair with you playing one full season with them?
Al Harrington: I think we’re going to do a lot better obviously. It ain’t because of what I’m doing, but, because of the team. You know, everybody is really focused. Everybody went back in summer to work on their game. I mean, we’re in great shape. So, I’m very excited to see what we can accomplish this year.
BallerStatus.com: How you feel with everybody counting the Knicks down already, and considering you guys to be just another lottery team this year?
Al Harrington: It’s good. It’s a good feeling. It’s good for us, you know what I’m saying? That’ll allow us to not relax, but just upset, and creep up some people. The biggest thing our team needs is to overachieve and have the type of success we want to have, and I think we could do it. We have a lot of great guys. We have a great coaching staff, and I think we’re going to find our way to win a lot of games this year.
BallerStatus.com: Are you concerned about the rating you might get in either Live or 2K this year?
Al Harrington: (Laughs) Nah, not at all. A lot of times, people always tell me I’m pretty good in the games, so we’ll see what happens.
BallerStatus.com: As for you Danilo, because of lacking of playing time and injuries, you weren’t able to see the floor as much. How do you plan to overcome all of that this season?
Danilo Gallinari: I’m concentrated to do better. I’ve been better, and feel good ever since training camp. As for the team, I really have a good feeling. We really know each other from last year. We already have a good cast. We have a great chemistry. We just have to keep believing in ourselves, and with that, we’ll do great.
BallerStatus.com: Everybody has their marbles on you because you were a top ten pick in the draft two years ago. Do you feel any pressure, especially from the New Yorkers?
Danilo Gallinari: I think there is a lot of pressure on me. I feel it a little bit, but it’s what I like it. It’s what I like to feel. If you’re like the player, you get to the point you have expectations, and if you don’t get to that point, you have a problem. Now, I feel like I have pressure from a lot of people, and expectations. They expect a lot out of me.
BallerStatus.com: What’s your goal individually?
Danilo Gallinari: You know what? My goal is being more useful for the team, and try to be an important player for this franchise.
BallerStatus.com: Because you’re so versatile, you could play any position from the one down to the four spot. If D’Antoni wanted you to play some point a little bit, would you have any problems with that?
Danilo Gallinari: No not all. Actually, ever since I was a little kid, I liked playing point guard. So if I would have to play that role, it would not be a problem. I’d be very excited.
BallerStatus.com: I know a lot of people have been talking about Lebron coming over. Do the distractions ever become too much at times to handle?
Danilo Gallinari: No, we’re a really concentrated group. We are a team. We’re not thinking about next year – we can not. We are playing the 2009-2010 season. We have to think about now.