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News » New York Knicks Getting Inside 2008-06-30

New York Knicks Getting Inside 2008-06-30

New York Knicks Getting Inside 2008-06-30

When the announcement was made by NBA commissioner David Stern, a finicky crowd immediately and heartily booed Italian prospect Danilo Gallinari.

It was a memorable welcome, to say the least.

"Milan is so similar to New York," said the 19-year-old who starred for Armani Jeans Milano for the last two seasons. "As soon as you do something like not good, they boo you, so there is a lot of pressure. Not like this, but it's a tough, tough place."

The commotion did not cause Knicks president Donnie Walsh to backpedal.

"I think he's got the kind of game that can bring people together and make people better," he said. "He's obviously 19 years old, so you have to have some patience, as I think you do with all of these players in the draft. I think he's an unusual player."

Walsh locked onto Gallinari following a workout in New York where he shot remarkably well and erased a big question mark.

"Hopefully somebody will teach him how to play defense," said Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, who played with Gallinari's father, Vittorio, in the Italian league. "I do know he will be tough and he will play hard and he will be intelligent. That's kind of how you build a team. We're starting with him and we'll go from there, but he's a good talent."

It was a near unanimous decision in the war room.

Even former coach Isiah Thomas, who was sent to Europe to scout Gallinari back in May, signed off.

"The thing about Europeans is they should bring something unique to the table; otherwise, they have a chance not to succeed," said Kevin Wilson, the Knicks' director of international scouting who first saw Gallinari four years ago. "He's a special player with no definable position. He's not pigeon-holed right now in terms of a position, and I don't think he ever will be in the same way most of the very successful Europeans -- you can't pigeon-hole them. What is Pau Gasol? What is Dirk Nowitzki? What is Many Ginobili? A basketball player."

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: There wasn't anything happening on the court all season to get excited about, so New York didn't react until the Knicks went out and hired Donnie Walsh as the new president of basketball operations with two weeks to go in the season. It was a signal that ownership was no longer charmed by Isiah Thomas, who failed to deliver in four-plus seasons as president and two seasons as head coach and was fired.

TURNING POINT: Embattled head coach Isiah Thomas lost respect in the locker room after Stephon Marbury learned he might get benched on a flight to Phoenix where the Knicks were kicking off the first extended road trip of the season. Marbury went AWOL for a game, and when he came back, Thomas gave the controversial point guard extended minutes against the wishes of his teammates. When the Knicks got home following the winless trip out West, they had a 2-7 record and no confidence.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: June 30, 2008


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