AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Three months after guaranteeing that the Knicks will make the playoffs, Charles Barkley still thinks they can — provided they add a point guard.
“The Knicks are going to be there,” the TNT analyst said Thursday on a conference call with reporters. “Carmelo [Anthony] has had a solid year and really been trying to fit into the system they’ve been running. Look, [Kristaps] Porzingis has shocked everybody. He’s shocked everybody. Right now, he’s right there with Karl-Anthony Towns — the two leaders in the clubhouse — as far as Rookie of the Year. It could go either way.”
Barkley said he thought rookie Jerian Grant would develop faster than he has and would be playing more at point guard.
“I hear there are rumors they could get Jeff Teague,” he said. “If they can get Jeff Teague, the playoffs are a lock. I love Jeff Teague. You put him with Carmelo, Porzingis, they would make the playoffs because that’s the one weak spot they have to fix in the next year. I thought the Grant kid would be the answer, but he’s coming out a little slower. They need a point guard.”
Pistons’ Van Gundy a nonbeliever
Speaking of trade rumors, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy, who also is the team’s president, loves to read about them — and considers most of them fiction.
Said Van Gundy: “It’s always fun. Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the stuff that is out there will never happen, mostly because 98 percent of it is just made up.”
Not young in his eyes
Van Gundy said he has a problem with the way some people are characterizing the Knicks.
“I laugh a little bit when I see them referred to as a young, developing team,” Van Gundy said. “I wasn’t aware that Robin Lopez, Carmelo Anthony, Jose Calderon and Arron Afflalo were that young. I read that and I was like, wow. OK. I guess. Society at large, guys in their 30s are young.”
Van Gundy didn’t name names, but Knicks coach Derek Fisher recently gave an ESPN Radio interview during which he referred to the team as “developing.”
“We’re a developing team with a ton of new players,” Fisher said. “There are not a lot of elite teams that are depending on rookies to carry the day.”