Opportunity knocks for Knicks' Giddens
With salary dumping comes opportunity, and for new Knicks swingman J.R.
Giddens, that opportunity is now.
Since being traded to the Knicks on Feb. 18 in the deal that sent Nate Robinson to the Celtics, Giddens finally got to play during Wednesday’s 109-97 loss to his former team. Still recovering from left knee surgery he had on Feb. 2 and without a team practice under his belt, Giddens played 13:25 and scored four points.
"I’m definitely not in game shape, or in J.R. shape," Giddens said yesterday before going to do some running and conditioning after his first practice. "I consider myself a fit guy. I was out there feeling it a little bit in the minutes I had."
Once Giddens gets into form, his goal is to contribute a lot more than he did in Boston, starting tonight when the Knicks play host to the 76ers. When he did get onto the court in Beantown, the offensive firepower around him made his main focus playing defense.
"I’ve always been an offensive player, but I like to play both ends of the floor," said the second-year guard who played collegiately at Kansas and New Mexico. "With the Celtics, I didn’t get too much of an offensive opportunity, so I had become a defensive player to get off the bench. Now I feel like I can get back to playing both sides of the floor and playing aggressive offensively as well and having an offensive mentality."
That’s just fine with coach Mike D’Antoni, as long as Giddens keeps up his stellar two-way game.
"He will bring energy and he’s got a reputation of being a defender, so that would be good," D’Antoni said. "We just have to see if he can fit into what we do."
What that means for the future of Giddens with the team is unclear. With the roster set to drastically change next season, Giddens opportunity might be as much a showcase for the Knicks as it is for the rest of the league.
"We’d like for him to be here [in the future]," D’Antoni said. "He seems like a good kid, works hard. But again, those are determinations that [team president Donnie Walsh] will make as we go forward."