The Knicks may finally be getting the version of Joakim Noah they thought they signed last summer, writes Howie Kussoy of The New York Post. After agreeing to a four-year, $72MM contract, Noah had a disastrous first season in New York, marked by poor play, a 20-game suspension for using a banned substance and a left knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery in February.
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said Noah’s performance in training camp has been a pleasant surprise. “Coming off those injuries, literally, I’m shocked of how well he’s played just because I didn’t think he was gonna be ready this early,” Hornacek said. “I’m extremely happy with how he’s playing. He’s playing the right way. He sets great screens, he rolls hard, which opens up other things for guys if he doesn’t get it. He’s been finishing with driving layups. He’s been playing great. He wants to come back and show everybody what kind of player he is and he’s worked hard to do that over the summer.”
Noah still has 11 games left on his suspension, so he won’t be available until mid-November. Hornacek plans to use him on a limited basis in the preseason to make sure the knee is fully recovered.
There’s more news from New York:
- First-round pick Frank Ntilikina has performed well enough in camp to convince Hornacek that he has a bright NBA future, Kussoy relays in a separate piece. The French point was drafted because former team president Phil Jackson liked his potential fit in the triangle offense, but Hornacek says he has adjusted well to the new, faster-paced approach. “The guys are already talking about him and the plays that he’s making,” Hornacek said. “When you have the respect of those older guys, you’re doing something right.”
- Nets coach Kenny Atkinson is confident that his centers can exceed expectations, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn traded for Timofey Mozgov, drafted Jarrett Allen and signed Tyler Zeller over the summer to form a center by committee. Zeller, who had a productive year in 2014/15, can’t understand why the Celtics cut his playing time over the past two seasons before waiving him in July. “It was one of those things I was trying to figure out all year,” he said. “They had a great year, so I can’t say they made the wrong decision. But at the same time, I wish I was a part of it. I felt like I could’ve contributed more.”
- Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead will keep Andy Miller as his agent, tweets Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog. Miller’s ASM agency has been tied to the college basketball scandal uncovered this week and is the target of a $13.5MM arbitration claim filed by Clippers center Willie Reed.