Woodson’s focus was on ball movement. He pointed to different areas on the floor while his players watched and listened. He instructed them on how to come off screens at the top of the paint and how to feed the ball into the post from a number of different spots on the court. Then the Knicks went in motion, passing the ball several times before putting up a shot.
“That’s going to be the key to our success,” Woodson said. “We have to be able to move the basketball. I’m anxious to see if they pick it up and carry it into a game. Good teams are not going to allow you to play on one side of the floor.”
The Knicks were criticized last season for allowing the ball to stop in the halfcourt. Woodson, who ran a number of isolation sets for Carmelo Anthony and others, plans to have the team run more pick-and-rolls and get the ball inside.
Anthony seemed more interested in passing rather than shooting Tuesday. While he took some shots in transition, he made sure to get the ball into Amar’e Stoudemire’s hands in the post. Stoudemire worked to improve his scoring in the low post this summer by training with the Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon.
“He’s getting better at that each day,” Anthony said of Stoudemire. “We’re trying our best right now to get the ball to him down there so he can get comfortable. That’s the most important thing, because if you’re not comfortable down there, it’s not going to work.”
Stoudemire showed patience and strength in the post. He used spin moves to his left and his right to score over Chris Copeland and Henry Sims. He also scored with hook shots from the middle of the paint.
“Amar’e is a player that should be able to post the ball some,” Woodson said. “I’m just trying to mix it up a little for him so that he’s not just picking and popping out for a shot all the time.”
Woodson said he had not decided who would start at shooting guard. Iman Shumpert and Ronnie Brewer, who both are rehabilitating from knee surgery, were doing individual workouts Tuesday. James White, who had been practicing with the starting unit, was on the sideline with a sore right hamstring that could keep him out of Thursday’s preseason opener at Washington.
Woodson kept J. R. Smith in his usual role of playing with the second team. Last week, Smith said he wanted to be a starter and that he entered camp hoping to accomplish that goal.
“Everybody can’t start,” Woodson said. “I have to have some offense coming off the bench, and I told J. R. he could be the best player coming off the bench in this league.”
Chris Smith missed his third straight practice with a sore left knee. … Marcus Camby did not practice because of a strained left calf. … Rasheed Wallace participated in the Knicks’ early walk-through, but continued to work on his conditioning when the team scrimmaged. Wallace said he felt good about his cross-training workouts and that he did not know when he would join the team for a full practice. “It’s not up to me; it’s up to Coach Woodson,” Wallace said. “I’m not one to complain. If it’s not until mid-November, it’s mid-November. I can’t control that, I just have to be ready either way.”