Atlantic Notes: Grant, Sixers, Mickey

The Knicks are encouraged by the recent play of Jerian Grant and Langston Galloway, who are being paired together in the backcourt more frequently as the season winds down, writes Fred Kerber of The New York Post. While the duo has been far from perfect, the signs of progress have given the coaching staff hope for next season, Kerber adds. “They do some good things, and they do some not-so-good things,” interim coach Kurt Rambis said. “A lot of it is when you’re in that guard position, you’ve got to be able to … assess situations. In terms of their defense, their mobility, we like their size, we like their length, so it can be a problem for other teams when we have that sort of length in the backcourt.

Small forward Carmelo Anthony speaks highly of Grant, whose rights were acquired from the Hawks in exchange for Tim Hardaway Jr. last June, Kerber relays. “We see that in practice every day. We see the work that he puts in behind the scenes that nobody else sees. What he’s doing out there is something we expected from him. I’m just happy he’s going out there and letting everybody else see,” Anthony said of Grant. “It’s in his hands. If he continues to get better the way I believe he will, he’ll be in this league a long time. His speed, the way that he can control the game when he’s in there, his change of pace throughout the course of the game, he could be here for a long time.” Grant has appeared in 72 games this season and is averaging 5.0 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 15.8 minutes per outing.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • In addition to owning the worst record in the NBA, the Sixers have also failed to properly develop their younger players this season, making it a lost campaign all around for the franchise, Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. The scribe points to the team’s poor point guard play, lackluster outside shooting and weak passing as reasons why big men Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor failed to make significant strides this season.
  • The Celtics have assigned power forward Jordan Mickey to their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This will be Mickey’s 13th trip to Maine on the campaign, and he is averaging 17.4 points and 10.3 rebounds in 23 games for the Red Claws.
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