Monday, March 11, 2013
LJ: Knicks must focus on sharing the ball
By Jared Zwerling
Carmelo Anthony said he'll play Monday night after missing three games with a right knee injury. While having the NBA's second-leading scorer back in the lineup will help the team, former Knicks star and current team rep Larry Johnson said that ball movement needs to be stressed moving forward.
"Our main focus is going to be sharing the ball," Johnson told ESPNNewYork.com on Monday. "We cannot depend on always Melo scoring the ball. With what we have now, you can't pick out one guy and say, 'We need him to score more.' I think we have enough NBA talent on our team.
"Everybody just needs to get in their right positions, and take the bulk of sharing the ball and scoring the ball. It shouldn't be all on J.R. Smith, it shouldn't be Raymond Felton. Cope [Chris Copeland] should step up, James White should step up. I think it's an opportunity for other guys to show that they can do just as well on this team if they get an opportunity."
Johnson also spoke about the importance of defense and fine-tuning the little things with just over a month remaining in the regular season.
"What we've done the whole year is rely on our defense," he said, "and now I think it's when we really tighten up on the defensive end and start stopping guys. I think right now is more about us staying healthy, executing and concentrating on the floor. Right now, it's just all about us. ... We can win with what we've got."
'TRAIN LIKE A KNICK': Johnson is involved with the team's "Train Like A Knick" program, where fans can submit videos showing how they train like their favorite player for a chance to win a trip to the Knicks' training center. There, the winner gets to work out and go through basketball drills with Johnson, a current Knick, the team's trainers and Hospital for Special Surgery rehabilitation staff.
"We came up with 'Train Like A Knick' for the children to go out and do something every day," Johnson said. "Go out and exercise for an hour, an hour and a half every day at basketball, and have fun, too."
Watching from the sidelines as the Knicks' basketball and business operations representative, he marvels at how most of the older players have stayed in great shape.
"Those guys have really taken care of their bodies over the years," he said. "They'll talk about their dieting and their eating methods. In our case for the Knicks, they've added a little extra about coming up with their diet and really focusing in on what they're putting in their bodies."
Johnson also said that more players in the league are trying to refrain from drinking soda.