Meet the Knicks' unlikely new star

665638.jpg

Meet the Knicks' unlikely new star

From Comcast SportsNet
GREENBURGH, New York (AP) -- Linsanity has taken over Madison Square Garden, and even Magic Johnson was captivated watching the New York Knicks' newest star. The only guy who doesn't seem impressed is Jeremy Lin. The new point guard refuses to get his own place to live, just in case the NBA team decides to cut him this week before his contract becomes guaranteed. He takes no satisfaction in proving he wasn't a one-hit wonder, because he could be "like a two-time wonder." And no, the first American-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent doesn't consider himself all that smart, regardless of that Harvard education. "That's a stereotype," Lin said on Tuesday. "(Former Golden State teammate) David Lee would be the first to tell you, he always calls me the dumbest smart guy he knows. Depends on who you ask I guess." Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni knew Lin was intelligent. What he didn't know was whether Lin could play in the NBA, and for a while he was hesitant to find out. The Knicks struggled at the start of the season, and even though D'Antoni had seen glimpses from Lin, he worried this wasn't the time to turn to a guy who just recently was sent to the NBA Development League. "I was afraid to do anything, we're already in a little bit of a crisis and I just can't be, you know, pulling straws, just trying something, a whim. Other players would be looking at me like You crazy?' if it didn't work," D'Antoni said. "Now he just kept showing stuff a little bit, a little bit. When he got one opportunity, he took advantage of it." Lin scored 25 points last Saturday -- after crashing at teammate Landry Fields' place because his brother, with whom he normally stays, had company. He then scored a career-best 28 on Monday in his first NBA start, a victory over Utah as "Linsanity" was trending on Twitter in New York. "The excitement he has caused in the Garden, man, I hadn't seen that in a long time. The way he can penetrate, and can get in that lane, and either shoot it or dish it, has really made them a better basketball team," said Johnson, the Hall of Famer who watched both games. "When they started chanting last night MVP!' I fell out. It was really wonderful for the young man. When you get a spark a like this, especially in a season like this, this could carry them for a long time because they needed something to happen positive. Everything has been really negative." D'Antoni had already gone through three point guards this season while waiting for Baron Davis to become available. Despite having All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, the Knicks struggled to score because they couldn't find anyone to properly run D'Antoni's pick-and-roll offense. The coach said it wasn't that difficult, but it takes some intelligence, something the economics major has plenty of along with some overlooked physical gifts. "First of all, he has really good speed. He gets into the lane, he gets by people," D'Antoni said. "But he has pace in the sense of setting the guy up, sensing where the openings are, and it's hard to teach. Some guys have it. You can teach certain aspects of it and get him better, but they have to be able to read and stuff, and he can do that." Lin wasn't selected in the 2010 draft and was eventually signed by the Golden State Warriors, not far from where he starred for Palo Alto High School. He split last season between the Warriors and the D-League, then was waived before this season. Houston claimed him but cut him two weeks later, and the Knicks claimed him, with D'Antoni recalling being impressed after seeing Lin work out a year earlier. It seems unlikely he'll be hitting the market again anytime soon, but Lin won't risk it. Contracts become guaranteed for the rest of the season if a player is still on the roster on Friday, so he'll wait for that before checking out the local real estate market. Even though he outplayed an All-Star in the New Jersey's Deron Williams on Saturday, he knows he can be the one looking bad on Wednesday against Washington by John Wall's speed. "The minute as athletes you get complacent, that's when trouble comes," Lin said. "So I'm just trying to stay ready." Lin is a natural draw in New York, where Stoudemire said fans love the underdog. But it's not the box office appeal that matters to his teammates, who saw a promising season slipping away because they had nobody to get them the ball. Lin's done that, and the Knicks might need another big effort on Wednesday, with both Anthony and Stoudemire expected to miss the game. But Lin guided the Knicks past Utah without them on Monday, a surprising victory over a winning team. Not as surprising as the undrafted Ivy Leaguer becoming the most important player on an NBA team. "You never know who can step up. It only takes one guy to step up and all of a sudden everything turns and I think that's the way we're feeling around here now," center Tyson Chandler said. "Jeremy stepped up and put guys back in their natural positions and all of a sudden our offense is flowing."

Casspi thanks Kings after trade to Pelicans: 'Definitely isn't easy'

omri-casspi.jpg
USATSI

Casspi thanks Kings after trade to Pelicans: 'Definitely isn't easy'

The Kings traded Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, prompting the forward to post a heartfelt message on his Instagram account.

I want to thank the Sacramento Kings organization for the opportunity to play basketball in front of the great fans of Sacramento. My wife and I felt in Sacramento like being home and this is something we both will cherish for ever. This definitely isn't easy for me and my family to leave, and you all know how much I love our city, organization and fans but the time has come. I want to wish nothing but success to my Kings. I will definitely will follow and cheer from afar. 
Always a big part of my heart, 
Omri #18

Casspi, 28, averaged 5.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 18 minutes per game for the Kings this year.

A's spring training Day 7: Rosales readies himself everywhere

A's spring training Day 7: Rosales readies himself everywhere

MESA, Ariz. — Adam Rosales has a real simple plan for which infield position he chooses to try to get work at.

“Wherever there’s less guys, I go over there,” he explained with a smile.

The sun came out and the A’s finally got on the field for their first full-squad workout Monday after being rained out Sunday. That meant Rosales, back for his second go-round as an Athletic, got his first chance to prepare for what figures to be a super-utility role, which is how he’s carved out a nine-year major league career.

All indications are that he’ll be the primary backup infielder, capable of spelling Jed Lowrie at second base, Marcus Semien at shortstop, Trevor Plouffe at third and even fill in at first base or left field in a pinch.

Though Rosales, who spent 2010-12 with Oakland and re-signed in January on a one-year $1.25 million deal, is well-versed in preparing himself all over the diamond, one position in particular is one that he says is most difficult to master in limited time.

“Shortstop,” he offered without hesitation. “There’s a lot more going on there, a lot less room for error. At shortstop, especially with a guy like Mike Trout running, you’ve got to be in good rhythm, good timing, get rid of the ball and make an accurate throw.”

Depending on how the A’s prioritize their 25-man roster, Rosales could very well be the only backup infielder. That means fellow infielders Joey Wendle and Chad Pinder would start in the minors if the A’s were to keep a fifth outfielder or third catcher. But because the A’s have some players who can fill in at multiple spots, there’s numerous ways they can choose to configure the roster when it comes time to pare it down.

Rosales, 33, said walking back into the A’s clubhouse for the first time made him “feel like I’m back home.” So much of the support staff — equipment guys, clubhouse guys — are the same as when he was here before. He was also happy to see former infield mate Mark Ellis walk through the door Sunday. He says Ellis, a teammate from 2010-11, instilled in him the importance of being a great defender. Ellis is working as a part-time spring instructor.

“He told me, the No. 1 reason he was in the big leagues was because of this,” Rosales said, holding up his glove. “I was such a young player then. I’d always work with him, how to turn double plays. Just to have him around is awesome.”

NOTEWORTHY: Sonny Gray and Kendall Graveman were among the pitchers who faced hitters for the first time this season. Bruce Maxwell caught Gray, his first time behind the plate with Gray other than the one inning Gray threw in an abbreviated start at Anaheim toward the end of last season. Maxwell said Gray’s changeup in particular looked good.

Manager Bob Melvin has been very impressed early on with Graveman’s command. Graveman said he’s trying to improve his changeup, in an effort to induce weak contact from righties and get them on the their front foot, which could then make him more effective on the inside corner.

CAMP BATTLE: There could be a good fight for the seventh and final spot in the bullpen, and it would seem being left-handed could give someone an edge. Sean Doolittle is the only lefty currently projected among the A’s top six relievers. Melvin had good things to say about Daniel Coulombe, a lefty who made 35 appearances in relief last year and also saw a bit of time with Oakland in 2015. Coulombe posted a 4.53 ERA last season but struck out 54 in 47 2/3 innings.