Knicks Notes: Brunson, Embiid, DiVincenzo, Anunoby, McBride

Jalen Brunson was not among the 12 players chosen to represent Team USA in the Paris Olympics. Managing director Grant Hill said it was difficult to leave the Knicks’ star guard off the team, Ian Begley of SNY TV tweets.

“You wish you could’ve had three or four more (spots) because there are so many incredibly talented players and incredibly talented people.  That was tough,” Hill said. “It was tough having to say no to certain people who I respect and admire. Certainly he was one of them. And there’s plenty of others who sadly and unfortunately we had to say no to. But with that said, we’re really excited about our group.”

We have more on the Knicks:

  • Philadelphia’s play-in victory over Miami set up a Sixers-Knicks matchup in the first round. While Isaiah Hartenstein and Mitchell Robinson will take turns guarding Joel Embiid, it will require a team effort and a variety of coverages to hold down one of the league’s premier scorers. Fred Katz of The Athletic examines what the Knicks might do defensively in the series to keep the reigning Most Valuable Player in check.
  • Donte DiVincenzo was deemed ineligible for postseason honors even though he appeared in all but one contest. As we detailed earlier this week, he didn’t qualify because he played fewer than 20 minutes in too many games. DiVincenzo, who was considered a candidate for the Most Improved Player award, believes the league will tweak the qualifications, Stefan Bondy of the New York Post relays. “I think the league will probably look at the rule going forward, but it’s not something where if I got the nine seconds, I’m a shoo-in to win the award,” DiVincenzo said. “It’s not that situation. So, for me, I don’t really care about it. I think going forward, you look at the rule. You adjust it accordingly. And you just go from there. And that’s pretty much the only thinking.”
  • The Knicks are 20-3 when OG Anunoby is in the lineup and he could play a key defensive role against Tyrese Maxey, Peter Botte of the New York Post notes. “It makes life a lot easier for all of us the things he’s able to do on that [defensive] side of the ball,” Brunson said.
  • Miles McBride played sparingly during the playoffs last season. He will have an expanded role this time around and he’s ready for it, Botte writes. “I take what I learned last year from the little bit I did play, and just watching the team go out there, and we were able to get one playoff-series win,” said McBride, who signed a three-year extension in late December. “This year, I’m just bringing a fresh mindset and will do what I’ve been doing the whole year.”
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