Ron Baker has listened reports of boss Phil Jackson’s intentions to name a guard/wing in Thursday’s NBA draft. The Knicks’ blond rookie explanation hopes it turns into a awaiting with a nose for defense.
“Obviously we consider a invulnerability was not really good final year,’’ Baker told The Post in a phone talk this week. “We gave adult a lot of points, generally in transition. we consider that would be a start for us, removing guys who can defend. That’s what my motto’s been. we felt we had copiousness of scorers on a organisation when healthy. Defense is substantially where we should gaunt on as a team.”
Baker, a 6-4 combo ensure out of Wichita State, has ingratiated himself within a Knicks classification with his frolicsome defensive play, earning one of a few plaudits Jackson handed out during his season-ending press discussion in mid-April.
“It’s on-ball defense,’’ Jackson said. “You saw Ronny Baker get adult there and get into people’s bodies, get over people and get in front of guys and it’s not going to occur each time though he altered how we played, it’s only as elementary as that, removing someone who’s peaceful to quarrel and quarrel into bodies and over screens.”
Indeed, Baker, a tack of a revolution from late Feb on, listened identical certain difference from Jackson and GM Steve Mills in his exit meeting.
“It was something we was unapproachable of,” Baker said.
But a Knicks executives also stressed his 3-point sharpened (26.7 percent) and outspoken oncourt care contingency improve.
That competence not occur during a Knicks’ summer joining in Orlando, with games starting Jul 1. The Knicks wish him to play. Baker is on a fence. It’s particularly business.
Undrafted final year (the Knicks didn’t have a pick), Baker sealed to a rookie smallest of $541,000 after creation a organisation out of training camp.
However, it was a one-year deal, and Baker becomes a limited giveaway representative Jul 1 and competence pull outward interests. The Knicks can compare any offer, though would have to use tip space if it’s over another smallest pact.
After a draft, 4 teams called Baker’s representative meddlesome in signing him for summer league/training camp: Oklahoma City, that roughly drafted him and is located an hour from his hometown of Scott City, Kansas, a Nets, a Cavaliers and a Bulls. There’s penetrating mutual seductiveness in re-signing though income has to be a factor.
Baker, 24, pronounced he’s misleading if he’ll revisit other clubs and stressed his agents are in charge.
“It’s kind of adult in a air,’’ Baker pronounced of summer league. “I’m not certain how a (free-agent) routine works. we consider we played a lot of peculiarity minutes. we feel like a Knicks and other organizations know what we bring. Not that I’m shying divided from summer league. Free organisation is apparently a really critical partial of an athlete’s career. The preference not to play competence be improved than to indeed play sometimes.’’
That is because Baker is one of a tiny handful of Knicks during their Tarrytown training trickery given Memorial Day. Baker is doing three-hour workouts in a mornings before a pre-draft possibilities — some of whom he’s played opposite — come in.
“Seems we’re bringing in a lot of four-year guys,’’ Baker said.
Baker was one of those four-year collegians — one cause in because Knicks manager Jeff Hornacek connected with him, with their identical backgrounds. Hornacek, a former Jazz sharpened coach, is now drilling Baker on his sharpened technique, display him footage on a iPad per his beam palm apropos steadier.
“Nothing complex,’’ Baker said. “Working on my shot, perplexing to be some-more fit from 3-point land. Trying to facilitate things as for my fundamentals when we fire a ball.’’
Last June, Baker was amid 13 pre-draft workouts, travelling 31 days. With an eye on purchasing a second-rounder, Knicks executives interviewed Baker during a Chicago combine, afterwards brought him in for an early-June workout. It was really unique.
“Theirs was some-more courtesy to detail,’’ Baker recalled. “We did hold bottom on a triangle. There were 4 guys in a group, so it was footwork, entries into a triangle, opposite cuts. We did that 10 minutes, got shots adult though a rest of a time was personification 1-on-1.
“They only wanted to see how good we competed. During these workouts, it’s critical to play tough and compete. Our scouts Clarence (Gaines Jr.) and Kristian (Petesic), they see we play utterly a bit. They know what we can do before we get to a workout. You go in there and it’s how we correlate and how we contest is flattering most a tip priority.’’
The Knicks have 3 picks Thursday — 8, 44 and 58. Several prospects have commented that a triangle is a large partial of a Knicks workout. Baker believes if he’s back, a better-executed triangle will outcome in improved defense. The Knicks ranked 23rd in invulnerability (allowing 108 ppg) final season.
“It’s really something we have to entirely know and dedicate to,’’ Baker said. “You’re not going to be a good triangle organisation overnight. It takes a lot of time to learn a offense. This is partly my error — not removing guys into position on offense to run a triangle. Taking early shots in a possession, we don’t make teams ensure you. So they got all their appetite and willpower on their descent end.’’