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Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Celtics, Sullinger

Jared Zwerling of talked with two NBA scouts who said the Knicks might need an offensive-minded assistant to help head coach Mike Woodson. The Knicks small ball lineup with Carmelo Anthony at power forward, had them playing well in a run of wins to start and end the 2012/13 season. 

Unfortunately, those wins didn't come about with the Knicks' two ostensible superstars sharing the front court together. Amar'e Stoudemire was out with an injury to start the season, and in the month leading up to the playoffs when the Knicks won 10-straight to secure the 2nd playoff seed in the East.

But if the Knicks are going to take advantage of their two highest-paid players–Anthony and Stoudemire, who are set to make $23.742MM and $23.411MM next season–they'll have to find a way to share the ball on offense from their naturally overlapping high-block positions on the court.

A couple of the candidates offered by Zwerling include David Blatt and his Princeton offense, which has been successful with Maccabi Tel Aviv, and former Lakers assistant during the 2011/12 season and an assistant with Woodson on the title-winning 2004 Pistons team, John Kuester. Kuester's "early offense" approach as an offensive assistant with the Cavs from 2007-2009 helped another point forward led team, with LeBron James initiating a lot of that early offense.

Here are some more notes surrounding two of the three Atlantic division playoff teams:

  • Tony Mitchell, the power forward out of North Texas, thinks he’s the answer for the Knicks’ front court problems this past season, writes Ian Begley of He’s expected to be a mid-first round pick, and the Knicks have the 24th pick in this year's draft.
  • The Knicks also looked at Providence combo guard, Ricky Ledo, during a workout on Friday, which he told Zwerling was his best during the run-up to the draft. The Knicks might use him as a replacement for the recently retired Jason Kidd 
  • The Celtics have a lot of questions that need answering this offseason regarding franchise cornerstones, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, but they’ve also got to figure out what to do with their younger players as well, writes Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.
  • One of those younger players on the Celtics’ roster was last season’s rookie from Ohio State University, Jared Sullinger. He wasn’t able to play for the Celtics in the playoffs because of a back injury before the season ended, but has tracked his recovery and Sullinger told his back is “completely fixed.”
  • A reader asked’s Chris Forsberg if the Spurs’ success in this year’s finals will persuade Danny Ainge the Celtics can compete for a title with the aging Pierce and Garnett. Forsberg says the Spurs’ fate in the Finals will have no impact on Ainge’s decision making process

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