Timofey Mozgov will start tomorrow night against the Celtics in the Knicks' first home game of the season (ESPN.com). While Mike D'Antoni has been impressed with Mozgov during training camp, he must have really liked what he saw in him during the Knicks' open practice on Sunday. Mozgov didn't seem the least bit fazed or timid in front of Knicks' fans for the first time, which showed in his play. He wasn't sloppy with the ball and he capitalized on dribble-drive moves with and-1s and exhibited a relentlessness on defense. Said D'Antoni: "He's playing well and he picks things up extremely fast. I know there's going to be rough spots ahead, but I just like his attitude and his effort, and then we'll see what happens. He might have more rough spots than what I hoped, but we'll work through it. He does a lot of good things, and we'll see over the next six, seven, eight games how it goes with him, and then we'll see what happens."
The biggest rough spot D'Antoni is alluding to his Mozgov's tendency to get caught in foul trouble. He had four fouls against Armani Jeans Milano and he fouled out in the last game against the Timberwolves. While Mozgov demonstrates a high motor on offense and defense, he'll need to get adjusted to the speed of the NBA game, especially at guarding his position. He'll learn quickly that most big men in the league are not traditional post-up players, but gifted enough to extend their games out to 15 feet and penetrate to the basket. Therefore, he'll have to work on his footwork and defending more with his body rather than with his hands, which is when most players get whistled.
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