Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle recently said that “watching him is like a breathtaking experience” — as if Shaquille O’Neal had point-guard skills. “It’s probably a good word to describe him — unique,” said Tom Thibodeau said in advance of the Pelicans matchup, “It’s unusual because it’s power and speed. And usually when you have the power, you don’t have the speed or if you have the speed, you don’t have the power and he has both. Very skilled, puts a lot of pressure on you, dynamic play-maker.”
While Thibodeau gave Williamson his proper kudos, the Knicks coach mentioned Barrett has more than earned his keep as the third pick in that draft. “I love the guy we got, I know that,” Thibodeau said. “RJ’s had a terrific season for us. He’s great to be around, great teammate, great to coach. He’s gotten better each and every day, gives you everything he has, puts the team first – you can’t ask for anything more than that. And I think he’s got a huge upside.”
Apparently, Bryant told a young Randle that the proper way to do things was to go to a gym and work out as soon as you land in the city you’re about to play a game in. That’s something Randle took to heart. And this season, it all came full circle. “It was Bryant who taught him that whenever you land in the next city for the next game, you hit the gym to put up shots before you go to the hotel no matter how late or how inconvenient that may be. It’s the game and it’s the work that comes first.”
That’s not all. Here’s the kicker. “Last spring, not long after Bryant’s passing, Randle landed in Detroit. The Knicks found a local high school that agreed to stay open super late so Randle could get that work in. When he arrived, the athletic director at the high school was waiting for him and said ‘It’s good to see you. Guys don’t really show up here for that work anymore. Matter of fact, the last guy to come in and shoot late like this? It was Kobe.”
Put another way: There is the James Dolan who feuds with former Knicks stars and rankles celebrity fans. There is the Dolan who runs through executives and coaches like Spinal Tap drummers and puts tremendous on his employees. There is also the Dolan who pursued music on his own, who grew up on the touchstones — Eric Clapton, the Dead, Duane Allman — and reminisces about his first guitar, a used Gibson J-50, like Knicks fans remember Willis Reed, Walt Frazier and Dave DeBusschere. “That’s his rosebud,” McKenna told Shattered. Or, as Dolan once told Canadian journalist Peter Robb of the Ottawa Citizen in 2013, “I don’t shoot basketballs, I don’t shoot pucks, I don’t install cable in people’s homes. Music is a place that goes from my mind to my hands and into my voice direct out.”

Dennis Schroeder on Knicks radar

The Knicks face the Pelicans in New Orleans on Wednesday. So you will probably hear and read plenty about the future of Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball, a potential Knicks target in free agency. But another lead guard on the Knicks’ schedule this week bears watching: Dennis Schroder. Schroeder is among the players on New York’s radar as the club looks ahead to free agency, SNY has learned.
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