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Tim MacMahon ESPN Staff Writer 

Sources: Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni is strongly leaning toward using Eric Gordon as a starter and Carmelo Anthony as a sixth man. Houston outscored opponents by 71 points in 148 minutes when Gordon joined James Harden and Chris Paul on the court last regular season, putting up 134.7 points per 100 possessions. D'Antoni would also like to pair Anthony with James Ennis, a strong defender, as much as possible.

Ian Begley ESPN Staff Writer 

A look at Trey Burke, Frank Ntilikina, Luke Kornet, Enes Kanter, Mitchell Robinson and Noah Vonleh working after Knicks practice today:

1:27

Ian Begley ESPN Staff Writer 

All starting spots are open at the outset of Knicks training camp, according to David Fizdale. So rookie center Mitchell Robinson was asked on Tuesday about competing for the starting center role, and said what you'd expect him to say: "I'm going to definitely give a little run for it. If coach needs me there, I'm going to have to be there." Enes Kanter started at center for New York last season and will likely start there again this season.

Ian Begley ESPN Staff Writer 

David Fizdale on why he wants Frank Ntilikina to play ‘with a clear mind' this year: "I just felt like he was caught up in the storm of trying to live up to his draft status, to the criticisms (last season). When he struggled, once he started struggling, he was trying to fight his way out of it," Fizdale said of Ntilikina, selected 8th overall by the Knicks in 2017. "What I saw on the court was a guy that was overthinking a lot of stuff. I just wanted to get him to a place where he could get back, play a little more free with a clear mind without having to live up to anything or become some guy that everybody else wants him to be. I want him to just enjoy the game and develop and see where that takes him." Fizdale added of Ntilikina, "He's just got a winning way. Being around a lot of winners, Frank has that winning gene. He knows how to compete on every play. He knows how to keep his poise under duress. He's always locked in to make a play, looking at, ‘How can I help the team?' And he's really great at organizing. He gets guys organized. He knows everybody's position on the floor. There's just a value to that."

Ian Begley ESPN Staff Writer 

David Fizdale said Kristaps Porzingis, who is out while rehabbing from ACL surgery, was highly engaged in the Knicks' first practice: "He was in every aspect of our practice today. If he wasn't passing to a guy he was rebounding for a guy, coaching a guy," Fizdale said. "Or he was talking to a coach on what we were doing. It was fun to watch him get engaged with the guys. It's a tough time for him. So we're going to surround him with a lot of love and keep his spirits up because he really wants to be out there with us." On the importance of Porzingis being engaged in practices, Fizdale added: "A guy that that's talented, what they see helps other players. Maybe his body can't do it right now but his mind and other aspects of service can really help this group. That's what he wants to do.''

Ian Begley ESPN Staff Writer 

David Fizdale on Mitchell Robinson: "Overall, the kid actually has a good feel for the game. I think there's a misconception about this kid because he didn't go to college that one year that he's not a smart kid or there's something wrong with him. Nah, this kid knows how to play. He's tough. He's got a great work ethic. He thinks about things, so he comes in and asks great questions to our coaching staff. He's starting to learn how to watch film. I just feel like this kid is going to take off with this kind of structure." All starting spots are open at the outset of Knicks training camp, according to Fizdale. So Robinson was asked on Tuesday about competing for the starting center role, and said what you'd expect him to say: "I'm going to definitely give a little run for it. If coach needs me there, I'm going to have to be there." Enes Kanter started at center for New York last season and will likely start there again this season.

Ohm Youngmisuk ESPN Staff Writer 

Lonzo Ball did not participate in contact practice. Luke Walton said Ball will be eased back into five on five and is a few steps away from that for now.

Ian Begley ESPN Staff Writer 

Knicks coach David Fizdale says that all five starting spots are open at the outset of training camp.

Ohm Youngmisuk ESPN Staff Writer 

LeBron James admits he's not a patient person by nature and will have to exercise patience not just with a growing team that he's learning from scratch but with himself being in a new city with a new franchise.

Ohm Youngmisuk ESPN Staff Writer 

LeBron James says today's first practice was all defense. When asked if he talked and delivered a message to his new team, James deferred to Luke Walton saying that today was all his voice. James said he needs more time when asked for a variety of his first impressions but says he loves this locker room.

 

Manu Ginobili is in the house. Pop said he wants Ginobili around the team as much as possible.

0:17

Ian Begley ESPN Staff Writer 

Frank Ntilikina said he overthought things at times as a rookie. David Fizdale has encouraged him to play more freely this season: "He was really big in just letting me play on my instinct and for me to stop thinking," Ntilikina said on Monday. "I think that's, with the way it was last year, the problem was thinking too much on the court, which brought my confidence down. As soon as he came to me, the first talk we had was about this and him letting me play, letting me be confident on the court. I think having a coach like this is really, really good for your mindset. That's why I'm really excited about this year."

Ian Begley ESPN Staff Writer 

The Knicks announce that they have signed Summer Leaguer Tyrius Walker. Walker is on a training camp deal. The Knicks have also agreed to terms with Jeff Coby but need to finalize the divorce with Joakim Noah before officially adding Coby.

Ian Begley ESPN Staff Writer 

Kristaps Porzingis says his return to the court will be based on passing certain strength tests of his left leg. Porzingis is rehabbing following February surgery to repair a torn left ACL. "The return date, it doesn't depend on me," Porizngis said on Monday. "I'm not going to be the one to decide. There's going to be testing and some proof that I'm ready, (that) my leg is strong as before or even stronger. There's going to be proof behind that fact. We'll be moving forward, and a lot of the rehab process has been my feedback, how I feel, can we push more. And I've been happy with the process, how it has went, and with the team around me. We're doing the right thing."

Ohm Youngmisuk ESPN Staff Writer 

Lonzo Ball says if he made more shots, that could've changed much of the narrative of how his rookie season was perceived by some. He believes confidence will be big for him this season. "Last year was full of ups and downs for me," Ball said of what he learned from last season. "I think just stay closer to the people that really care about you and stay true to the team are big things. And personal goals, my shot last year could have fixed a lot of things. I think if I was making shots, a lot of people wouldn't have a lot of things to say. That is pretty much the main thing."

Ohm Youngmisuk ESPN Staff Writer 

Lonzo Ball on how added strength is helping his shooting form: "Everybody is saying my jump shot [is] this new thing. To me, it [has] not really changed a lot. I just think I got a lot stronger. So I ain't got to really fling the ball like I did last year. [The set point] moved a little bit more to the middle but it is still on the left side. But just trying to focus on my mechanics, keeping my hand up, keeping my elbow in more and just me being stronger, my upper body, it's just easier for me to get to the rim."

Ian Begley ESPN Staff Writer 

Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni with some high praise for forward P.J. Tucker: "To me, P.J. Tucker is one of the best players in the league," D'Antoni told reporters on Monday. "I know a lot of people will go 'whoaaaa.' He was (ranked) like 80-something. I don't know what it was. You're kidding me. This guy plays maybe the best defense in the league. That's half the game right there. He might be the best. If not, he's one of the top five. Now you got a guy that shot since he started 42 percent from 3s, 47 in the playoffs. Really? There's a lot of guys that shot better than that? A guy that will get every loose ball, every chemistry thing, every play he's playing all out. I don't know how we judge people. What is the criteria for being a great player? That is a great player."

 

Pop on Manu Ginobili attending last week's coaches retreat: “He wanted to know no less than 14 things that I do, and he wanted to know why I did them. He thought they were baloney the whole time he was here, but he was too respectful to say. He was a great addition [at the coaches retreat] because he was smart enough to listen in the beginning. It's like a new job in a way. You listen, and you figure out the lay of the land. He did that. Then as it went along and we got to dinner on the first day, he started to open up. By the second, third, fourth day, he was right in the middle of arguing about everything. It was great to have him because his insights are so good.”