And-Ones: Knicks, Mekel, Mirotic, Kerr

The Knicks have started the season with a record of 4-17, but there is upside to the team’s horrendous start, writes Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. Ending up in the early part of the lottery could lead to the addition of a franchise changing player to the team either by the draft itself or by a trade that sends the pick out in a package that lands the Knicks an elite talent, like the Cavs did with Kevin Love this past offseason. Isola points out that the Knicks haven’t been the most patient franchise when it comes to developing talent and notes that the last two Knicks’ draft picks to make the All-Star team were David Lee, who was drafted in 2005, and Mark Jackson, who was selected in the 1987 draft.

Here’s more from around the Association:

  • Gal Mekel‘s two-year, non-guaranteed deal he signed with the Pelicans will pay him $639K this season, and he’ll earn $947,276 during the 2015/16 season, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). That means the deal is a minimum-salary arrangement.
  • The Bulls‘ three-year wait for Nikola Mirotic brought back memories of a similar saga with Toni Kukoc two decades ago, writes Steve Aschburner of NBA.com. But while Kukoc was publicly dissed by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, Mirotic has gotten a friendly reception from Chicago’s current stars.  “He can put it on the floor, he can make plays for people, he can get to the basket,” Mike Dunleavy said of Mirotic, who is in the first season of a three-year, $16.6MM deal. “Defensively he’s pretty good — blocks shots, gets his hands on a lot of balls. As he gets used to everything a little more, he’ll foul less and be a pretty effective defender.”
  • Steve Kerr, who has the Warriors off to the NBA’s best start in his first season behind the team’s bench, tells Sam Smith of Bulls.com that his coaching style borrows from every coach he ever played under. Kerr played for two of the league’s most successful coaches ever in Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich, but said he learned something everywhere he went. Cotton Fitzsimmons and Lenny Wilkens and Lute Olson; you sort of take a little from each person,” Kerr said. “But what they all told me was to be yourself. They said you have to be yourself, that players will know if you are trying to do something that is not you.” 

Arthur Hill and Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.

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