Cleanthony Early impressing at start of LVSL
The Knicks began the 2014 NBA Summer League on a high note with a 76-64 win over the Dallas Mavericks Friday, a successful coaching debut for Derek Fisher. A starting five of Shane Larkin, Tim Hardaway Jr., Cleanthony Early, Cameron Moore, and Cole Aldrich provided a sense of the type of young talent that the Knicks are showcasing in Las Vegas.
Aldrich, who was re-signed by the team shortly after the game, immediately had the Cox Pavilion gasping when he pinned a ball against the backboard. Larkin dished out 5 assists to go along with 10 points and had the tough task of guarding Gal Mekel, a former teammate in Dallas. Tim Hardaway Jr. showcased the ability to attack the rim and get to the line, finishing the game 10-12 from the stripe on his way to dropping 25. Cleanthony Early also played a big role in this one, finishing with 13 points including an incredible dunk on 6’ 8” Ivan Johnson. “He jumped,” said Early. “I don’t know why but he jumped.” The former Wichita State standout was smiling for pretty much the entirety of his postgame interviews, to the point where a reporter asked him about it. “I smile all the time,” he responded, “It’s what I do. I’m happy. I live life, I love life.” Knicks fans will be loving life too if Early continues to play the way he did today.
“You can see he is a great player. Really aggressive, a lot of charisma around him,” said Shane Larkin, who Early mentioned he spends a great deal of time with off the court. “He goes out there and plays hard, he’s really talented guy, really athletic, can shoot the ball, makes plays off the ball, and defensively plays well.”
Obviously, there is still some anxiety amongst the Knicks when it comes to Carmelo Anthony’s free agency - Fisher said that he had not heard anything new about the situation. “Decisions as free agents are never as easy as they seem,” he noted. “A lot of focus is obviously on the contract size. But athletes often don’t get the credit for thinking beyond their sport. It’s about more than basketball. Guys have wives, families, kids, and moving is tough. There is a lot that goes into being a free agent.”