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With better performance from two players who were seldom available or useful last season, the Knicks could improve notably.
For various reasons, Danilo Gallinari and Eddy Curry gave little last year.
But a footnote in today's New York Times says both are on the road to contributing next year.
Howard Beck writes:
Danilo Gallinari, who had back surgery in April, is said to be recovering well and could be back on the court soon. "All the reports that I'm getting back is that they feel the operation was a success," Donnie Walsh said. "It doesn't seem to be a big obstacle." Walsh also offered a positive appraisal of Eddy Curry, who is working to lose weight and regain his conditioning after an injury-marred season. Walsh visited Curry in late May. "He's working very hard, he's losing weight, he's starting to get his body to look like an athlete's body again," Walsh said. "I have to give him credit for working as hard as he can work to try to do it."
You never want to project too much from these kinds of reports. But consdier that if Curry and Gallinari are at their best for sustained periods, the impact of their play would mean more next season than anything a rookie is likely to bring.
Multiple reports say Curry's dedication to his craft has been reinvigorated, and he is working hard to lose weight and get more athletic. Scroll back through his Twitter feed. You'll find plenty of people asking him where he is, and why he isn't around to hang out, and he just about always responds that he's in Michigan working out. There is plenty of talk of speed and explosiveness, and even a mention of Donnie Walsh and a team doctor dropping in and being "impressed." (And, if an athlete is on web video getting pulled over by the cops, don't we know he's going to be horribly embarrassed? Not Eddy Curry. Not this time. In one of the strangest stories you'll ever see, Curry and J.R. Smith broadcast live Web video of themselves getting pulled over, and apparently not getting in trouble at all.)
By the way that Times article also drops names of players the Knicks are considering with the eighth pick. The unsettled nature of this draft comes through loud and clear. The list, essentially, is Ricky Rubio (if something weird happens and he falls), Hasheem Thabeet (ditto), Stephen Curry, Tyreke Evans, Jordan Hill, Gerald Henderson and Jrue Holiday.
That list is seven players long! And we know Blake Griffin will be off the board. That implies nearly zero ability to predict what will happen with picks two through seven (short of perhaps assuming James Harden will be taken). I kind of love it that clearly nobody knows much about what is going to happen on Thursday. Good setup for drama!