Charles Barkley says the Knicks’ loss to Atlanta taught the club a valuable lesson as they head into the offseason.
“What they learned during the playoffs is you can’t just work hard,” Barkley said earlier this week for a call to discuss his participation in the 26th American Century Championship golf tournament. “They’re one of the hardest working teams in the league; that’s how they got the No. 4 seed. But as you saw when the playoffs started, they don’t have enough talent. So this is a really really big summer for them.”
The Knicks go into the offseason with plenty of tools at their disposal. They have two first-round picks and the No. 32 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. The club also could have more than $50 million in cap space.
So Leon Rose and the Knicks will have the opportunity to upgrade the roster this summer.
Barkley, the TNT analyst, said he hopes that New York can build off of its successful 2020-21 season.
“I root for them because two of my friends are part of that organization. (Knicks assistant coach) Kenny Payne, one of my teammates, and (Knicks executive vice president) William Wesley, a really, really good friend,” Barkley said. “So I want to see the Knicks do good.”
Barkley doesn’t share the same enthusiasm for the Nets. He said during the conference call that he’s rooting against Brooklyn.
“If they win it, they win it. But I want to be perfectly clear: I’m rooting against those guys. I root against all super teams,” he said.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving signed with Brooklyn in the 2019 offseason and the club traded for James Harden during the 2020-21 season.
Barkley, who teamed up with Clyde Drexler and Scottie Pippen in Houston late in their careers, resents the trend of current players joining forces to try to win a championship.
“I’m old school. If I would have known that you guys were going to made fun of me for not winning a championship, I would have joined a super team back in my day,” said Barkley, who will participate in the 54-hole American Century Championship next month. “Me and Patrick (Ewing) and Karl Malone and John Stockton. I feel good about my legacy. I’m pretty sure Patrick, Karl and John do. LeBron (James) started this super team thing and it’s the way the game is played now.”
Barkley offered another Knick-Net comparison during the conference call. He said Madison Square Garden was ‘on fire’ during the playoffs but he described a different atmosphere at the Barclays Center.
“The Brooklyn Nets got a much better team but when they play it’s like a mausoleum. And they got a much better team,” Barkley said. “That place (MSG) was on fire and I’m hoping that they keep getting better because I’ve been there when it’s been on fire.”
TERRY TAYLOR’S WORKOUTS INCLUDE KNICKS, GRIZZLIES
Austin Peay swingman Terry Taylor has worked out for Golden State and Sacramento. The 6-foot-6 senior has workouts scheduled with the Grizzlies and Knicks next week and is expected to work out for 10-12 teams ahead of the 2021 NBA Draft.
Taylor led the NCAA in double-doubles last season (20). He averaged 21.6 points and 11.2 rebounds per game for Austin Peay.
At the recent Tampa Bay Pro Combine, Taylor impressed teams with his playmaking. He played lead guard for his team, which went undefeated in scrimmages.
BEZHANISHVILI IMPRESSES IN TAMPA
Illinois’ Giorgi Bezhanishvili, a 6-foot-9 big man with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, also impressed at the Tampa Combine. He has a workout with Memphis next week.
Bezhanishvili owns the Illinois single-game scoring record for a freshman. He put up 35 points against Rutgers.
Cam Krutwig, an All-American from Loyola, also impressed teams with his play at the combine. He just wrapped up a workout with Sacramento and has a workout with Memphis coming up.