The will confront that conundrum Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, where they play their second — and final — preseason game against . The starting lineup will be the same as in the first game, but the rotation will remain fluid and the starters’ playing time will probably be held down.
This will not be a regular-season simulation, but another 48 minutes of becoming acquainted and in rhythm. Whatever hiccups remain, Coach will have to work them out over the next few days, before .
“My mind will never be settled for Sunday,” D’Antoni said. “It’s too early, too quick, and it came at everybody all together. So you’re always going to have some trepidation. But I do know that the guys are working hard.”
Training camps opened 12 days ago, after the conclusion of a 149-day lockout, forcing players to get into shape and get acclimated on the fly. Every team is scrambling, some more than others.
The Knicks have two new starters (Tyson Chandler and Toney Douglas), two new key reserves (Mike Bibby and Iman Shumpert) and an unsettled bench. Their best point guard, Baron Davis, just signed on Monday and may not step on the court for two months.
Two other key reserves — Jared Jeffries (calf) and Bill Walker (groin) — will miss the preseason finale.
D’Antoni remains committed, for now at least, to Douglas and Landry Fields as his starting backcourt, although both struggled in . Douglas is a work in progress as a point guard. Fields’s slump dates to last spring.
Bibby and Shumpert could eventually push their way into the starting lineup, but possibly not until January. D’Antoni said he wanted to give the current group a few weeks to become settled before he made any hard judgments.
“Usually, you have a month to work it out,” he said. “You don’t assume it works out. Now you have to assume something, and I want to be careful about jumping at conclusions, that I just saw 15 minutes of something I like, instead of a month of something I like.”
By Wednesday night, the Knicks also hope to have Steve Novak, a 3-point specialist, under contract. Novak was waived by the San Antonio Spurs on Monday and intends to join the Knicks if no other team claims him. Because Novak is on a minimum salary, the Knicks can claim him themselves, rather than wait for him to become a free agent.
Meanwhile, D’Antoni indicated that the Knicks were no longer pursuing James Posey, the veteran forward, and would retain their $2.5 million exception for another player.