World Peace: Be smart and tough

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- As a native New Yorker, Metta World Peace knows a large segment of New York Knicks fans wants its team to play a physically imposing style of basketball.

The veteran forward, however, disagrees with those sentiments.

He said on Thursday the Knicks need to try something different this season if they hope to end their 40-year title drought.

"I'm not big on just being physical," World Peace said. "I know New York fans love the old physical teams; New York is a physical place. But New York don't have a championship in the last how many years? 1973? It's about time we become intelligent. It's about time we changed that."

Knicks teams coached by Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy in the 1990s were known for their physical play on defense. The Knicks under Riley reached the 1994 NBA Finals, and Van Gundy led them to the Finals in 1999.

But in recent seasons under Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks have been among the top teams in the NBA on offense. A physically imposing defense hasn't been their calling card. Last season, the Knicks ranked third in points scored per 100 possessions but 16th in points allowed per 100 possessions.

World Peace said the key for the Knicks this season is to play smart basketball. He added that he's not overly concerned with how many hard fouls they commit.

"All that old physical stuff that all these fans are talking about, I'm from New York, it's not winning championships," World Peace said. "[You] have to bring some type of intelligence and you have to be together. That's the only thing that's important. I don't care about being just a physical team. You have to be both."

World Peace is also very confident in coach Mike Woodson.

After Thursday's practice, World Peace went so far as to favorably compare Woodson to a certain ex-Knick who has coached teams to an NBA-record 11 championships.

"He reminds me of Phil Jackson a little bit," World Peace said of Woodson. "With the exception of Phil ran the triangle. Phil had a couple different concepts. [They're similar] as far as holding each other accountable, figuring it out out there on the floor. Woody will put in the system, the sets on defense and offense, and he expects us to play together, play smart. From that sense, he reminds me a lot of Phil."

World Peace won a title playing under Jackson in Los Angeles in 2009-10.