Sunday, April 20, 2014
Jackson upset with Knicks' conditioning?
By Ian Begley
Last week, New York Knicks president Phil Jackson told his players to expect personnel changes this summer.
Apparently, Jackson also expects the returning players to be in better shape next season.
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According to an NBA source, Jackson has talked recently about his disappointment in some of the Knicks’ conditioning -- or lack thereof -- this year.
New York got off to a slow start this season and never really recovered. Some analysts pointed out that players didn’t come to training camp in proper shape, which led to the early-season struggles.
It’s unclear which players Jackson was talking about when he mentioned a lack of conditioning.
J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert were coming off of offseason surgery and Mike Woodson mentioned that Shumpert was dealing with minor injuries throughout camp, which may have hindered him early on.
Jackson’s unhappiness over conditioning may lead to changes among the team’s medical and training staff next season.
Knicks look at prospects: The Knicks were well represented at the annual Porstmouth Invitational, a postseason tournament solely for NCAA seniors.
Among the Knicks’ front office members at the camp, according to people down there, were director of player personnel Mark Warkentien, director of pro player personnel Mark Hughes, director of basketball operations John Gabriel, scouts Walker Russell and Ben Jobe and director of scouting and administration Kristian Petesic.
It makes sense that the Knicks would be paying attention to under-the-radar prospects out of college. They don’t have a draft pick in the 2014 draft but may purchase a second-round pick. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to sign players who aren’t drafted to free-agent contracts.
Also down at Portsmouth was Clarence Gaines Jr., whom Phil Jackson reportedly has added to his staff. Gaines Jr. worked with Jackson in Chicago.
Jackson is expected to bring in more familiar faces to his staff. One name to keep an eye on is Jim Cleamons. An NBA source told the New York Post that Cleamons, a former Knick, is interested in joining Jackson’s staff now that his future in Milwaukee is uncertain following the sale of the Bucks.