New York Notes: Aldridge, Thomas, Toppin, L. Rose

LaMarcus Aldridge made his first start of the season tonight, replacing Blake Griffin at center for the game in Boston, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Griffin has been struggling with his shot and Aldridge said he’s been having trouble adjusting to a reserve role, so the move seemed inevitable.

“Our spacing has struggled at times and also has hurt our pace a little bit,” coach Steve Nash said. “So we try to find different combinations that work and also that style of play. Keep pushing towards an identity. We’re not a team that can just iso and just play slow because we don’t have a ton of shooting out there. So if we’re going to play against loaded defenses, it’s going to be hard no matter if your name is Kevin Durant or James Harden. It’s just tough to go one-on-two, one-on-three with that picture.”

Aldridge has been an effective mid-range shooter throughout his career, which should open up more room for the two stars. He has been a strong contributor off the bench all season and is averaging 20.0 points and 7.7 rebounds in his last three games while shooting 57.1% from the field.

There’s more from New York City:

  • Cameron Thomas provided a spark for the Nets‘ offense in Monday’s win at Cleveland, but the rookie guard will have to remain patient for his opportunities, according to Chris Milholen of NetsDaily. “I think he’s a kid we all love and think has a bright future but sometimes these early stages in the season and you’re in tight games, it’s difficult with some of the mistakes that are just inevitable with these young guys,” Nash said.
  • Obi Toppin has become part of a productive Knicks bench in his second NBA season, per Peter Botte of The New York Post. Toppin is seeing regular playing time this year after averaging just 11 minutes per game as a rookie. “I’m not gonna say I got discouraged, just because I knew my time would get there,” he said. “I never show emotion a lot. I take it out on the court. … If I’m upset about something, run the floor and get an easy dunk or something, that’s gonna make me feel better. But I’ve never really showed emotion, like, I’m always the same guy. I have a lot of joy, a lot of excitement for this game, and I love playing in New York.”
  • If the Knicks don’t improve, team president Leon Rose and the rest of the front office should be blamed for not finding a better backcourt when they had $50MM to spend in free agency, contends Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. New York wound up with Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier, who have been bad defensively and haven’t jelled with the rest of the starters, Bondy states.
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