Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Could Copeland earn a roster spot?
By Jared Zwerling
A source close to Chris Copeland told ESPNNewYork.com on Wednesday evening that the forward, a training camp invite, hasn't been given a clear indication from the Knicks whether or not they'll offer him one of their last two guaranteed roster spots.
But the source said, "I believe they will. The deadline is the 29th of October, so he might be up against the actual deadline."
The source went on to say, "You know, Chris is a great kid. I truly love him. He's nervous. The opportunity has been a dream come true for him, and the support that he's received from the veteran players have been unbelievable. I don't think that he knows what the possibility is, but he has truly turned some heads and hopefully coach Woodson and the rest of the staff appreciate how hard he has worked. I can say that he has given his all and has left nothing on the table. It's been a good camp."
After spending five years playing in the D-League, Belgium, Germany, Holland and Spain, Copeland has returned home -- he's from Orange, N.J. -- and has been tearing it up offensively. That's included 21- and 34-point performances against the Celtics during the preseason, during which he's showed he can put the ball in the basket in a variety of ways: in the pick-and-roll/pop, isolation and transition.
With Amar'e Stoudemire out, and Marcus Camby (left calf strain) and Rasheed Wallace (conditioning) still sidelined, the Knicks could use some immediate help at power forward. But while the 6-8 Copeland can score, he needs to work on his defense and rebounding, which the source openly discussed.
"Coach Woodson is a defensive coach," he said. "As I played in Europe for so many years, I understand how a coach could have some concerns on the defensive end, as Chris Copeland has always been seen as a scorer. It is important for Cope to continue to fight on defense and really make an effort to be a better rebounder. He can do it.
"In my opinion, his strength is that he is confident that he can play at the next level. If he wants to stay in the league, he will have to be a better defender and rebounder. Jeff Green is a premier player in my eyes, and Jason Richardson is a stud. Both of those guys exposed some deficiencies in C-squared's defensive abilities.
"With the staff that the Knicks have, he will be a much better defender. But on the scoring end, it might be his best defense as others will have to guard him."
The source said in addition to Copeland making the team, it's likely the other will be Wallace, who's set to scrimmage for the first time on Friday. Power forwards Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen -- and Josh Howard who can play some four as well -- are still available, but it doesn't appear the Knicks are in pursuit right now.