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Atlantic Notes: Williams, Crowder, McConnell

Knicks 2014 second-rounder Thanasis Antetokounmpo is signing with the Westchester Knicks, New York’s D-League affiliate, for the 2015/16 season, the player’s agent, Nick Lotsos, tweets. This comes as a minor surprise since Antetokounmpo’s camp had previously said that the swingman would not play another season in the D-League. The 23-year-old had reportedly been in contact with European and NBA teams in an effort to strike a deal, but apparently no concrete offer materialized. The Knicks waived Antetokounmpo along with four others last week.

Here’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Derrick Williams‘ play is beginning to justify Knicks president Phil Jackson‘s decision to sign him to a two-year, $8.8MM deal this past offseason, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. “I don’t know what he hasn’t done [in the past], but I think he’s just playing the game, trusting his instincts, even though he’s still learning a lot of new things on how to play,’’ coach Derek Fisher said. “I don’t think he’s overthinking. He’s making plays in front of him, shooting the ball well. It’s early. He had a really good preseason and was really good [Wednesday night]. He’ll have ups and downs, and it’s how he responds when the shots aren’t going in like they were.’’
  • Sixers coach Brett Brown is a big fan of point guard T.J. McConnell, and compares him to a former player who Brown coached on the Australian national basketball team in the 2012 London Olympics, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes.”He reminds me of Matthew Dellavedova a lot, who I had a lot to do with,” Brown said. “Somebody says, ‘He can’t shoot. No way can he make it.’
  • Jae Crowder was concerned after arriving in Boston last season as part of the Rajon Rondo deal that the Celtics would be trying to tank, a worry that was quickly dispelled by the team’s coaching staff and front office, Chris Forsberg of relays. “I don’t like losing, man,” said Crowder. “I play this game to win. I never in my life played to lose. I don’t know what that feels like. I don’t play like that. I play to win. I felt like that the locker room here was kind of sulking right when I got here. It was sad to be in a professional locker room like that. I didn’t like it. I just wanted to come in each and every day and put my work in and hopefully make guys feed off my energy and take it from there. When you want to win, man, when you’re in a winning organization, you take pride in it. And when you lose, you let everybody know you lost. You’re not walking around happy.

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