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14.08.2018

How Knicks newcomer is getting up to speed without a practice.

The games no longer have playoff implications, but there will be plenty of intrigue Wednesday when the Knicks return home to play at Mudiay Square Garden. Against the Wizards in the final game before the All-Star break, newly acquired point guard Emmanuel Mudiay will make his Garden debut in a Knicks uniform after two games...
Time: 22:11     Date: 13.02.2018
Last US Sport News: How Knicks newcomer is getting up to speed without a practice. NY Post 24 - US News

Against the Wizards in the final game before the All-Star break, newly acquired point guard Emmanuel Mudiay will make his Garden debut in a Knicks uniform after two games on the road.

“The best arena in the world,’’ Mudiay said. “It should be fun.’’

This is either the start of a long marriage or a tryout that ends after next season when Mudiay becomes a restricted free agent.

In two games at the Garden in his three-year career, Mudiay, the Nuggets’ 2015 lottery pick, averaged 10.5 points, 6.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 24 minutes. He actually had one of his best games this season in late October at the Garden, with 15 points and two steals in 20 minutes.

“I’m excited to be here,’’ Mudiay said. “Somewhere I want to be. The love I’ve been getting, I’m trying to send it right back to them. All I can do is play as hard as I can for the fans of New York. It’s definitely a different atmosphere that brings out the best in you.’’

Obtained from Denver on Thursday in a three-team deadline deal for a second-round pick and Doug McDermott, Mudiay’s presence has slightly elevated the mood of a fan base mourning Kristaps Porzignis’ catastrophic ACL tear.

Mudiay had ankle problems in China, and it’s continued in his three years in the NBA.Getty Images

Mudiay’s Knicks debut in Denver was an eye-opening double-double (14 points, 10 assists) in 30 minutes, but he leveled off in Philadelphia on Monday (seven points and two assists in 19 minutes) and was part of the lackluster defense that allowed 76ers’ backup point guard T.J. McConnell to register his first career triple-double, along with six steals.

Afterward, Mudiay said he twisted his right ankle early on, limiting his mobility. His right ankle bears watching as it has been a career-long issue.

His year playing in China ended prematurely with an ankle injury and he has missed time in all three of his NBA seasons with sprains, mostly to his right ankle.

While his penetration and clever passing have been refreshing, the 21-year-old Mudiay has looked disoriented on defense. The Knicks didn’t hold a practice Tuesday coming off a back-to-back, so Mudiay hasn’t had a team practice. He said he has a vague concept of the Knicks’ defensive system.

“I’m going to watch a lot of film,’’ Mudiay said of his Tuesday plans. “I’ll talk to coaches as much as I can and learn the system on defense. I’m used to the Denver play-calls defensively. So I got to adjust real quick to that. I don’t want to use that as an excuse, but you got to use team systems and what they’re trying to do. It’s been a little difference.”

“It’s first the time meeting a lot of them; all of them except I knew Michael in China, but we didn’t know each other on a teammate level. I’ll figure out everybody here, but it’s going to take a couple of games,’’ he said.

Already weaving a connection with center Kyle O’Quinn, Mudiay has fed him a couple of long passes for fast-break hoops. O’Quinn also launched an alley-oop pass for Mudiay to lay home in Philly.

“I’ve told him to keep his head on a swivel. If his man has his back turned, I’m going to throw it up there for him,’’ Mudiay said. “[O’Quinn] had something going with Doug so I had to pick up that slack.’’

Mudiay is expected to come off the bench Wednesday, but that should change Feb. 22 at Orlando in the first game after the All-Star break, when Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek has indicated he may replace veteran Jarrett Jack as starter with the Knicks currently eight games out of the East’s eighth playoff seed.

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Metro

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Sport

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